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FeatureFriday: Multilingual surveys – Leverage localised surveys worldwide

Author: Stuart Kondziella | Feature Friday | June 23, 2017

    Fun fact about languages: "Languages are constantly influencing each other. For example, the English language is, in itself, 30% French, as it has adopted words through lexical borrowings." [Source: Lingualuix]
    Despite these perpetual inter-linguistic ties, languages have many distinct idiosyncracies which make it essential to localise products in a globalised world.

    Getting started with LimeSurvey language localisation

    LimeSurvey offers a great number of different survey languages to choose from. However, users are not restricted to choosing only one language per survey, but can rather select as many additional languages as there are.
    When setting up a survey, first of all a base language is selected within the general options which cannot be changed later on. However, if you require a different base language, you will have to create a new survey and choose your desired base language. Straight underneath the base language, additional languages can be added by using a dropdown menu. These additional languages may be removed later on, but bear in mind that if you decide to remove an already added language, all content added for that language throughout the entire survey will be removed as well.

    Survey Language Setup

    Survey Language Setup
    Advanced Tip: if you are consistently using the same languages across different surveys, you have the possibility of removing or adding survey languages globally, which means you pre-set the relevant available languages once and can more easily access them within every individual survey setup. This saves valuable time. To make use of this function, simply navigate either straight to the ‘Global settings’ when you are on the admin front page or click on ‘Configuration’ where you will find the ‘Global settings’ under ‘Settings’.

    Global Language Settings

    Global Language Settings
    If you define more than one survey language, but don’t add any content for one of these additional languages, LimeSurvey will automatically display the default language instead to provide content.
    Each selected survey language can contain an individual survey and question group title, survey and question group description, welcome and end message, end url and url description, date format and decimal mark. Within the question setup, question and help texts can be varied between different languages as well.
    Every question, subquestion and answer option however has a unique code. This code cannot be changed across languages as it need to allow for a clear identification within the survey structure by always matching the data provided in the base language. A code can only contain standard alpha-numeric characters.

    Survey Codes

    Survey Codes
    LimeSurvey creates individual URLs for each selected survey language by adding a ‘lang’ parameter and the respective language abbreviation to the survey link. This way, URLs can be sent to the appropriate target group which will automatically lead them to the matching survey language.

    Language-dependent Survey URLs

    Language-dependent Survey URLs
    However, when completing a survey, languages can be switched along the way within each question by using the language dropdown menu at the top of the screen underneath the progress bar. This option adds more flexibility to a survey for those participants who speak several languages.

    Language Switch During Survey

    Language Switch During Survey
    If you are looking to save time and effort, there is a Quick-translation function incorporated in LimeSurvey. It can be found under ‘Tools’ and presents an overview of all survey components that can be translated, separated by tabs. It uses the base language as default which can then be translated by selecting a target language.

    Advanced Tip: if you are in the possession of a Google Translate API Key, you may enter it in the global settings and benefit from LimeSurvey’s ‘Auto translate’ function. It draws on the Google translate web service for automatic translation of a survey.

    Quick-Translation Setup

    Quick-Translation Setup

    Benefits of LimeSurvey language localisation

    LimeSurvey offers all features to paid subscriptions as well as free users. Multilingual accessibility is no exception here. This configuration is highly convenient as it avoids the necessity of having to create one survey per language, i.e. copying the same survey for each required language. Moreover, bundling several languages in one survey with unified codes results in high comparability levels between answers provided.
    Making use of LimeSurvey’s wide range of different languages offers massive flexibility and more promising results when creating surveys worldwide. The reason for this is that localised surveys offer participants more comfort and confidence in completing questions which may lead to higher response rates.
    Furthermore, translated surveys are able to break through language barriers and transport messages more easily and more accurately. This is mainly due to languages having semantic idiosyncrasies.
    Give it a try and set up some basic questions and answers in several languages! Simply click here to get started.
    If you want to learn more about all the languages supported in LimeSurvey, simply visit our LimeSurvey translation page.

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