5 Tips on Getting the Right Focus Group Interpreter

Under Blog | Posted by Richard Ochab

Having the right interpreter at your focus group is important to ensuring accuracy of your brand and generating insightful market research.

We are frequently contacted by market research clients to provide interpreters for focus groups.  They range from consumer-focused group events to qualitative In-Depth-Interviews (IDIs).

No matter the type of focus group, getting the right interpreter is key to the outcome.  Following are five steps to help ensure you are getting the maximum return on your focus group investment:

Step 1: Know the Setting
This is the who, what, when, where, and why.  Be sure that you and the interpreter fully understand the setting and end goal of the project.  They should know ahead of time if it is in a large focus group facility with multiple respondents or a one-on-one setting.  What is the duration of the focus group?  This information will be important to know as more than one interpreter might be required, and for the general experience needed.

Step 2: Language and Industry
It is obvious that getting the correct language pair is important, but there may be certain situations where it may need one extra step.  For instance, if you need Spanish, be sure you know if it is Spanish for the US, Latin America or Spain.  Similarly, Arabic may differ based on the target country or region.

One of the most important factors when bringing on an interpreter is to be sure that the interpreters are experienced in the field you are studying.  Not only should they be experienced with focus groups or IDIs, they should be knowledgeable about the terminology of the subject matter (healthcare, tech, consumer products, etc.). This will ensure that they fully understand the terminology, and will improve the quality of the interpretation.

Step 3: Know the Venue
This takes step one to the next level. It is important to know if the interpreter will have an unobstructed view of the focus group or if they will be separated in another room.  This can affect the outcome of the interpretation and impact your results.

Step 4: Technology
Will any headsets, microphones or other technology be needed for accurate interpretation, and is that being provided at the venue?  In addition, if it is a conference call, has the number been arranged and can all participants effectively dial-in with a clear connection?  These are technical logistics that should be worked out prior to the start of the focus group.

Step 5: Interpreter Preparation
It is very helpful if the interpreter receives any preparatory materials, such as the questions, guidelines and product information, in advance of the focus group event. This is also an opportunity to consider if translation of glossaries or transcription from an audio recording of the focus group event will be needed.

Following these steps will help provide a smooth working day for the interpreter, and give you the most value for your research dollars.

For more information on our focus group interpretation services, please contact Robin Smith.

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