Talking research

Going global: Why you need humans to get cultural context right

  • By Shira Watermann
  • May 15, 2022
  • 4 min
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When conducting international research, language is not the only barrier that needs to be overcome. Each market and vertical will have its own unique attributes, no matter how familiar they may appear to us ( playwright George Bernard Shaw once noted that Britain and the US are “two nations separated by a common language”).

This means understanding language (and slang), cultural norms, taboos and so on, is vitally important. Ignoring these, sometimes obvious and other times subtle, differences can result in the failure of your research efforts to provide any meaningful insights. Worst still, it could result in the use of bad research to make key business decisions. 

Access to local knowledge and expertise 

Understanding cultural differences is a major limitation of DIY research platforms. Such nuances are beyond the capabilities of technology to identify and adjust accordingly. Getwizer’s tech/human hybrid approach resolves this by utilizing research localisation and translation experts. This is because tech will only get you so far when it comes to global research projects. When you’re dealing with international audiences, you will need local expertise and knowledge to help manage and adapt research projects so they perform optimally.

Take India, as an example — it has 22 official modern languages, 121 languages in total and 270 mother tongues. Among its large multilingual and multi-ethnic population, significant cultural differences exist. Its cultural norms also need to be noted. A key aspect of cultural behavior in India is politeness. It can therefore be seen as rude to say ‘no’ or to be disagreeable. So, when using a Likert Scale when conducting research and asking respondents to rank something on a scale of 1-to-5, in India people will tend to use the top three scores as they do not want to cause offense. 

Ensuring context across cultures

While India is an extreme example, every foreign country has its linguistic and cultural differences. So, any attempt to conduct research needs to be backed by localized insight, knowledge and support. This is why you need the mix of tech and people Getwizer delivers.

Simply translating your survey questions from English will not work. The intent of each question needs to be captured properly, and such nuances can often fail to be picked up by straightforward translations. Getwizer uses local experts to ensure the accurate context and intent is delivered in every survey translation. This is part of Getwizer’s human expertise, because there are subtleties and a human component that technology simply cannot solve. 

Domain and vertical knowledge

Getwizer’s team of experts deliver the domain and vertical knowledge, providing the situational fluency to refine, localize and customize your research project. This ensures that you correctly engage with research respondents in specific international markets. Getwizer’s technology then helps you capture domain-specific knowledge on a per-client basis.

When you are building your research campaign within the Getwizer platform, the different building blocks or elements of your project can also exist in multiple languages. Each of these will have been culturally adapted by Getwizer’s research experts. This means that you can execute multiple research projects in multiple languages simultaneously, making the process faster, better and cheaper. 

Delivering multi-country studies

Getwizer also uses ‘translation memory’ to learn from previous translations, and then can reuse them when needed by looking for patterns that are repetitive. This contributes to consistency, uniformity, quality and preparation speed — all with the overview of Getwizer’s research experts. This can streamline the delivery of multi-country studies, allowing research, for example, to be conducted in 10 or 12 countries in a week or two.

Once you have conducted international research, because there is consistency, uniformity and quality across the surveys conducted in multiple languages and various regions, you are easily able to aggregate and compare findings.

Conducting global research can be a planning minefield and logistical nightmare. The unique costs associated with international campaigns alone can be prohibitive,never mind the additional headaches involving foreign personnel, etc. Getwizer is there to take away these headaches, by empowering research teams to conduct research around the globe quickly and cost effectively. This will ensure no matter what country or language you require, the quality of your research will not get lost in translation. 

To learn more about how our team of Wizers can help you do better research- book a demo here.

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