Verbatim translations

The Latin term ‘verbatim’ is most commonly used to suggest word-for-word.  Appropriate in most instances, in the context of market research translation it can be a little misleading.

Rather than word-for-word translation, the objective of professional verbatim translation is to use the results of open-ended questioning to convey the meaning, sense and mood of the respondent’s answer. There’s good reasoning behind this.   

Verbatim answers may be written by participants using a small screen, or who maybe are not great typists, or are simply in a hurry. They may contain half-finished thoughts, abbreviations or ‘txt’ shorthand. The art of verbatim translation is often in first identifying what the respondent is really saying, which may extend beyond just their words, and translating that.

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Why use The Language Factory for your verbatim translations


At The Language Factory, our key specialism is translation for the market research and consumer insight sector. We have over 25 years of learnings and process experience which we use to deliver high-quality, speedy translation solutions for qualitative surveys.

We use the same high caliber professional translators for verbatims as we do for our survey and questionnaire translations. They understand all the subtle nuances of the source language, necessary to identify and convey that same sense of satisfaction, happiness, dissatisfaction or even annoyance as the respondent felt when they were answering the question.

A one-word answer can convey a wealth of meaning … or nothing at all. Yet something as seemingly unimportant as a punctuation mark can change the whole tone of the response.

For example, “What do you most look forward to during the summer?” might come back as:

(1) The sunshine!
(2) Sunshine?
(3) Sunshine …

All three responses use the same word, but say different things. Number one is excited at the prospect of sunshine. Number two gives the impression they are unsure about what they might be looking forward to (if anything). Number three is looking forward to sunshine, but not convinced they’ll get much of it.

A pure word-for-word translation is unlikely to achieve the desired insight, or will leave you with more questions. However, a professional and experienced verbatim translator is skilled at reading the correct sentiment, discerning insights and identifying actionable take-outs … as well as translating them.

You may also like our other market research translation services

Survey translation

Omnibus translation

Online QC

Open-end coding

Focus group precis


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