Lost In Translation

By: Stephanie Friedman

Lost In Translation

Murphy Research has a long history conducting research around the globe - across a range of both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. We know what it takes to convert global business questions into actionable insights.

For global research to succeed, particularly when delivering insights across cultures, it is important to maintain consistency while also accommodating unique market dynamics.

Cultural Sensitivity

Creative design is fundamental to Murphy Research practices. When it comes to international research, it is even more relevant as adjustments are made for cultural differences, methodological fit, and unique market dynamics. Obtaining actionable results for all stakeholders means ensuring cultural nuance and interpretation is reflected in all aspects of the design.

Murphy Research works closely with our clients to understand their hypotheses for cultural differences. We explore secondary data to better understand the industry within the market. A solid foundational understanding of the market dynamics is critical to developing a design that will address the unique needs of your market(s).

Key questions we ask are:

  • Where is consistency possible?
  • Where do we localize to ensure relevance?

Rigorous Execution

There are four aspects unique to executing international research that need to be closely monitored:

  • Choosing the right partners
  • Quality of the translation
  • Seamless execution across markets
  • Comparability of analysis

Murphy Research contracts with local partners to make sure we get local perspective. We have the flexibility to hire the "right" partner for each project. We feel this flexibility results in a better overall research product than relying on local offices. Specifically, we want partners that have prior experience in the industry and demonstrate expertise. This includes our data collection, recruiter, and moderation partners.

Translation makes or breaks a research project. We utilize local researchers to translate all research materials. We verify translation using an independent translation firm familiar with research practices. We also offer client representatives an opportunity to review the translation to ensure all industry related phrases are accurately communicated.

Seamless execution means making sure the research conducted in one market will be comparable to other markets. This means equitable recruiting criteria, sampling, and in the case of qualitative, moderation. Murphy Research's processes for data collection and moderation are centralized to manage any unique cultural requirements. Centralization of management also allows for consistent project briefings and debriefs.

Finally, ensuring comparability of analysis means thinking about unique cultural influences. This includes both what questions you ask and how you ask them. Consideration needs to be given to make certain brand lists, demographics, and phrasing are appropriate to understand the consumer dynamics and brand landscape of each market.

Further, cultures use scales differently - some cultures will rarely use the top end of the scale, some will rarely use the bottom. This is important to keep in mind when designing the survey to make sure results can be compared across cultures.

Enduring Insights

Striking a balance between cross cultural and market specific learnings is important to delivering enduring insights.

Understanding how the research will be used to inform the business strategy is essential in developing a report that will be actionable at the market specific level, as well as at the overall business level. We seek to provide universal truths where possible and unique market level insights to inform organizational and market level actionability.

We incorporate our international partners in our analysis process to validate and/or expand our interpretation of the results.

In conclusion, international research is not rocket science, but it does require a more diligent practice. Murphy Research has practiced A LOT - and that makes us great international partners!