Management consulting and market research are huge multi-billion dollar industries; they are trendy, sleek and always in demand in today’s world. Corporations want get to know you, they want to learn more about how often you buy breakfast cereal and how likely you are to switch to a new brand of toothpaste after your 30th birthday. All this data is then used to formulate new company strategies or assess the risk factors of opening a new factory.
But, behind all the glamour of fancy corporate meetings, expensive suits and shiny slogans are actually people who have to gather all that information and translate quotes and opinions into numbers and charts. Sometimes such projects surpass country borders and demand that the researcher reach out to people and businesses in cultures he or she is not familiar with. Knowing several languages definitely comes in handy in this field. In other instances, the researcher is expected to project an aura of deep understanding of the subject of the research despite the fact the he or she might not even have heard about it. This is not as easy as it sounds. Say you are an Australian researcher trying to gather information about the shipbuilding industry in Denmark; if you speak Danish that’s a plus, but if you can’t distinguish a rudder from a mast, people will be reluctant to take you seriously, let alone give you the data you need.
The best way for a business to study the market in a specific country is through surveys and inquiries. After all it is much easier to ask a people what brands of cereal they like than read 20 financial reports on the subject. Just call someone up and ask them a few friendly questions – how difficult is that, right? Well it is. When your phone rings and you hear something like: “Good day sir, do you have 5 minutes to answer some questions?” you immediately think “annoying telemarketer” and feel like dropping the line.
Here are some tips if you are willing to test yourself in the field of market research:
1- Never use words like “survey”, “can I take a few moments of your time” or “would you mind telling me”. These “taboo” words are often associated with telemarketing and could disrupt the flow of the conversation. Always use softer alternatives like “we are trying to get a general understanding” or “gathering ideas and opinions”.
2- Never read from a scripted survey questionnaire. This makes you sound robotic. Always take the time to read the questions beforehand and restructure them into an easy flowing informal conversation. If you are talking in a language that is not your mother tongue, don’t be afraid to use slang terms (in moderation of course) – this makes the interviewee feel like you know their culture well.
3- If you are conducting your research in different countries, try to get native speakers of those countries to translate the questionnaires and, if possible, to conduct the interviews, as well. The more local the language sounds to the interviewee, the better.
4- Never start doing phone surveys directly without a proper briefing and research on the topic in question, even if the deadline is drawing near. Always take some time off to read some Wikipedia articles about the subject. This will give you enough confidence to engage in conversation without the fear of stuttering at a critical point in the interview.


Of course, the best advice of them all is to actually hire competent people who know what they are doing, whose translation services are up to the task, who speak the target language fluently and who are capable of throwing in the necessary amount of charm to get the job done. inwhatlanguage has all this, plus an extra dose of communication with the clients, great prices AND an amazing, unbelievable skill: we can make EVEN market research FUN! Yeah, we are THAT good. Get a free quote now and see it for yourself!