Organizing Multilingual Data on a Shoestring Budget

Businesses with an international customer base typically collect data in numerous languages.  As small businesses continue to expand, many may not have the budget for a complete translation, but still want to better understand their global data.  In this situation, in-language coding may be your best choice.

In-language coding is the assignment of codes to various words, phrases, idea or concepts (such as positive/negative feedback; hot/cold or large/small).  It applies numbers to text so that the general meaning of the text can be extrapolated and more easily analyzed.

While market researchers collect reams of verbatim text in open-ended responses that may need to be coded, large amounts of data for businesses in other industries can also be generated from:

  • CRM systems
  • Customer feedback systems
  • Customer records
  • Voice/video recordings from IVR systems
  • Social media text
  • Photographs and images

In many cases, businesses will have the data translated and then coders will work to organize the data so it can be analyzed.  It’s a two- or three-step process that provides both the fully translated and coded text.

In contrast, in-language coders work directly in the foreign language text to set codes.  This eliminates the middle step of a full translation.  The benefit is that international businesses with a tight budget can better understand their data.  The limitation is that the text is not translated.

The code frame (the categories to be coded) are usually provided by the client, and the typical volume of an in-language project is 300 – 2,000 items to be coded.

In-language coders should be bilingual and native speakers of the source language, and have data analysis experience.

For more information on in-language coding, please contact us at