There’s no doubt about it: The world is changing rapidly before our very eyes.
In today’s age of technology, we have never been more connected. What’s more, with just the touch of a button, we can now access products or services that would have seemed inconceivable 30 years ago from the comfort of our sofa.
For businesses, our increasingly interconnected world offers limitless exciting opportunities for international growth. However, in an overcrowded market, it also seems more difficult than ever for businesses to cut through the noise and connect with international customers in a meaningful way.
So… What’s the secret to driving product sales in an overseas market, increasing international customer engagement, or providing an efficient and effective global customer service experience?
That is exactly where international market research comes in.
What is international market research?
International market research is any market research that analyses and collects data about global consumer markets.
This research may take the form of surveys, questionnaires, interviews (in person, over the phone, or online) or focus groups.
The purpose of international market research may differ from business to business, depending on the business's specific goals or targets. However, international market research is often carried out in order to gather information about target consumers. This may include discovering emerging market trends, identifying potential international investments and expansion opportunities or preparing for product launches (a particularly crucial endeavor given the estimated 95% failure rate of new products).
It has been estimated that the traditional market research sector has grown slightly from 2017 to 2018 and is now valued at over US $47bn.
However, according to Consultancy Global, the “newer and emerging segments of the industry, such as data analytics and AI-driven consumer research, boomed in 2017, adding $3 billion to the industry’s roster.”
The global leaders of the consumer market industry include companies like Nielsen, Kantar, Ipsos, and GfK.
According to Gleb Mytko, a Global Industry Analyst:
“Most industries today are truly global. For any company to be competitive, they must have access to high-quality, reliable market research, which can guide everything from investments to product development.
“Understanding the competitive environment of a given industry and its growth potential allows companies to develop strong short-term and long-term growth strategies."
In short, market research is crucial for any company that has its sights set on achieving success on an international scale.
What makes for successful international market research?
But what makes for successful international market research? How do you know if investing in international market research will pay off?
High-quality, reliable market research should equip a company with the data and information about consumers they need to be successful and see growth in the market in which they operate, or aim to operate.
The key word here is ‘reliable.’ In fact, accuracy and professionalism are fundamental to gathering and analyzing data.
But there’s one problem. By its very nature, international market research will inevitably face issues of language barriers, cultural differences and sensitivities, and misunderstandings.
The truth is that consumer market research demands international expertise if it is to go global.
Translation and international market research
Investing in professional language and translation services is essential for international market research.
After all, commissioning market research in the first place already comes with a significant price tag. Therefore, misinterpreting, mistranslating, or misrepresenting survey instructions, questions, or even the data collected, will render this cost a waste of money and resources.
How to choose the right partner for your international market research: A checklist
So… you’ve been convinced of the value of professional language and translation services to international market research. But how do you go about choosing the right language service provider?
Here’s a checklist of the top things to consider.
- Consider partnering with a company that is experienced in working within the market research industry on a global scale. This means that they would have proven success in previously translating surveys, questionnaires, interviews, and responses for multiple clients.
- Your translation partner should be able to understand and meet your specific business needs. For example, if you have a large number of survey responses that are needed for understanding purposes, it may be more efficient and economic to use AI Translation. On the other hand, the surveys themselves often rely on accurate instructions, meticulously-worded questions, and a deep understanding of the nuances of the target language in order to obtain accurate data. This translation project would be best suited to an experienced, industry-specific translator and may require several quality assurance checks.
- Thirdly, you should look for a company that offers a vast range of language combinations, should survey responses crop up in languages that you didn’t expect.
- Your partner should offer translation for varying file formats, like Excel XML-based formats, as well as provide interpretation for services like CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing).
- A comprehensive language service for international market research should also include interview transcription.
Think of translation as an indispensable cog in the wheel of successful international market research.