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Don't Get Lost in Translation: 4 Simple Rules for Global Researchers

Posted by Carole Hubbard

Tue, Feb 26, 2019

international research

As brands expand into developing markets, the need to gather opinions of local consumers has increased in kind.

To get accurate information and responses, it’s common practice to translate surveys into local languages when conducting international research. However, all too often the quality of the translation can make or break the success (and accuracy) of research results.

Many years ago, at a previous company, one of my clients, a leading athletic apparel company, conducted a seven-country global study to segment their consumers and understand underlying brand perceptions. One of the key perceptions we explored was the notion that the brand had “sold out”, which in the US means no longer being true to oneself or one’s heritage.

During analysis, I couldn’t understand why some of the countries highly agreed with this metric, as expected, while other countries (e.g., Germany and China) completely disagreed. Looking at the translated questionnaire, I quickly realized why.

Our conceptual term “sold out” was literally translated as “sold out”, as in, out-of-stock or not available in stores. A complete disconnect from what we originally meant.

While this was a disappointing discovery, there are some valuable takeaways on best practices for setting up global questionnaires which can easily be applied to any international market research project:

1. Choose your words carefully. A successful translation begins with the chosen English words. Avoid colloquialisms, expressions, and any words or phrases that may have multiple meanings.

For example, idioms and other phrases “cash cow”, “standing engagement”, or “hangout” may seem innocuous, but could have very different meanings if translated literally into other languages.

Read the questionnaire out loud and think critically about what's being said. If anything has the potential to be misconstrued, select different English words to express your meaning.

2. Conduct a conceptual or content translation, not a literal translation. This approach looks beyond the actual written words and instead focuses on the original intent or objective.

3. Encourage your client to ask a local colleague to review the translation. If your client is an international brand, they likely have global colleagues. If so, encourage your client to ask a local colleague in the country where research is being conducted to carefully review the translation. This will also help ensure any messaging or industry-specific terminology has been captured properly.

Be sure to provide the English version along with the translated version so the translation is being reviewed in the English context.

If no local colleague is available, translation services can usually offer an independent translator to review the document or conduct a back-translation (the questionnaire document is translated back to English). The latter is often more expensive but can be well worth the investment as opposed to getting unusable data.

4. Remain engaged throughout the entire translation process. As the researcher, you are most familiar with the project objectives, so it's critical you work closely with the translator to ensure nothing is overlooked or skipped in the translated questionnaire.

Implementing these four simple practices can literally help make your next global research project a success!

Carole Hubbard is a Sr. Project Manager at CMB whose travel bucket list includes Ireland, Austria, Tuscany, Greece, and Switzerland.

Topics: international research, research design

CMB Moves to Boston's Bustling Financial District

Posted by Savannah House

Thu, Feb 14, 2019

welcome packet 2

Last night we celebrated an exciting milestone for CMB. As of this past Monday, our headquarters have officially moved to Boston’s Financial District—just a 10-minute walk from our previous location in the historic Leather District.

CMB welcome reception

We had 34 wonderful years on South Street, but we look forward to this next chapter for CMB. Our new office accommodates our continued growth and evolution—outfitted with collaboration areas, Wellness space, and a private roof deck with sweeping views of downtown Boston.

View of Downtown Boston

And part of this growth means hiring smart and driven individuals. If you’re interested in working with fun, talented, and collaborative teammates, check out our open roles.

Open Roles

This is an exciting time for CMB as we continue to grow and evolve as a company. We’re thrilled about this opportunity and look forward to welcoming you to our new space!

Welcome reception-Two Oliver

Savannah House is the Marketing Manager at CMB who is thoroughly enjoying her new standing desk.

Topics: Chadwick Martin Bailey, CMB Careers, news and announcements

Webinar: New Research Shows Psychological Benefits Impact Employee Engagement

Posted by Megan McManaman

Thu, Feb 07, 2019

Shared from ITA Group

engaged employee

Over the past few months, we’ve explored the impact of social psychology on employee engagement and how emotions can affect the employee experience. These findings were part of an in-depth research study we conducted with ITA Group. 

Now, we’re inviting you to tune in to our next webinar to see how we leveraged scientific insight into human motivation and advanced analytic techniques to identify the five critical psychological benefits that can provide a framework for true, sustainable engagement.


New Research to Elevate and Transform Engagement Efforts
Thursday, February 21 | 1:00–2:00 p.m. EST

Join webinar presenters Erica Carranza, PhD, VP of Consumer Psychology at CMB, and Christina Zurek, SHRM-CP, Insights and Strategy Leader at ITA Group, to hear about their landmark study and key findings, including:

  • Why psychological benefits impact employee motivation and engagement
  • Which initiatives and programs add the most value to your engagement strategy
  • How this research can help you identify and prioritize the specific combination of initiatives your organization needs to drive employee satisfaction

 Register Now

Topics: webinar, ITA Group

Meeting the Market Researchers of Tomorrow

Posted by Savannah House

Thu, Jan 31, 2019

Sandy and Liz at MSU career fair2

Last week Sandy Tente, CMB’s Head of People and Culture, and Liz White, Director of Advanced Analytics, greeted future market research professionals at the Michigan State University career fair.

This was just one of many career fairs CMB attends all over the country—spanning from the Northeast to the Midwest and down to Georgia—excitedly meeting prospective students interested in a career in market research.

The Associate Researcher role is an exciting opportunity to help some of the world’s most cutting-edge brands—including Netflix, American Express, LinkedIn—tackle their most pressing and complex business challenges. You’ll work side-by-side with project managers, senior consultants, and industry experts—learning how to leverage data analysis to uncover insights that inspire action.

Plus, you’ll experience all the other benefits that come with joining CMB, like ongoing trainings, one-on-one mentoring, Fun Fridays, frequent social events, a culture committed to professional development and growth, volunteer opportunities, and more.

Next, you’ll find CMB at the Providence College and Bentley University career fairs on Wednesday, February 13. Stop by our table for some free swag and to learn more about life at CMB!

Interested in other market research careers? We’re always on the lookout for bright and curious data individuals, so check out our open roles here:

Open Roles

Topics: CMB Careers

AI You Can Drive My Car: Anxiety and Autonomous Vehicles at CES

Posted by Megan McManaman

Wed, Jan 16, 2019

autonomous cars

In December, The New York Times reported that disgruntled Arizonans were lobbing rocks at Waymo’s autonomous (but not unoccupied) vans. Experts, and the rock-throwers themselves, blamed the attacks on a combination of economic anxiety and safety fears (a woman was struck and killed by a self-driving Uber in Tempe last March). While it’s unlikely any modern-day Luddites attended last week’s CES in Vegas, companies like Intel and Baidu, and even Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao were hard at work addressing consumer fears.

With Congress expected to consider legislation regulating autonomous vehicles—the intense conversation and debate over security and safety will remain front and center. Counting out the projectile-hurling robot-haters (for now), what’s it going to take for average consumers to purchase, ride in, and share the road with these vehicles? That’s the billion(s) dollar question we set out to answer in our self-funded Consumer Pulse.

We surveyed 2,000 U.S. consumers (thanks to Dynata for providing sample!), conducted ethnographies, and in-depth interviews—including ride-alongs—to identify the segments of the adult U.S. population that have different reactions to and perceptions of a range of assisted and autonomous driving scenarios. We went beyond the typical examination of functional benefits to understand the emotions (both positive and negative) driving and deterring greater acceptance and adoption.

Chris Neal, CMB’s VP of Tech and Telecom, will share the results at the Quirks Event on March 6 at 2:15 pm in Brooklyn.

Want an advance copy of the report this spring?

Click here

Megan McManaman is CMB's Marketing Director, she welcomes our new robot chauffers.

Topics: technology research, Consumer Pulse, Artificial Intelligence