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How to handle multi-language surveys


I'm working on a survey with English and Spanish versions. In Qualtrics, there's this drop down menu from which we can toggle to the preferred language. The 2 versions have the same question names and fields. Is this option available in Sawtooth? If not, any work around ?
asked Mar 3, 2015 by anonymous

3 Answers

0 votes
The short answer is YES, Sawtooth handles multi-language surveys. The process generally involves a translation house.

Here is an extract from the Sawtooth help ...

The most efficient way to develop surveys in multiple languages is to first program the entire survey (including all skip patterns, etc.) within SSI Web in the source language (for this explanation, we'll assume English).  Then, using File | Translation | Export Text for Translation... export all the English text of the survey to an XML .xlf/XLIFF file format.  Translation houses commonly use software tools that support this format.  The XLIFF file includes each text string twice: once in the source language and a second time for the translated version of that text.  For example, the translation house initially sees the following information within the .xlf file:

<source language> Don't eat at Pepe's house
 <target language> "Needs-Translation"

Using their software tools, the translation house translates the target language text.  The .xlf file they return to you might include:

 <source language> Don't eat at Pepe's house
 <target language> No comas en la casa de Pepe

Use File | Save As to create a copy of your existing English (source language) project, giving the new SSI Web project a new name such as "mystudy_spanish."   You would open the mystudy_spanish study and using File | Translation | Import Translated Text..., bring all the translated text into your new Spanish study.  All of the <target language> phrases found in the .xlf file overwrite the existing English phrases.  A backup of your survey (prior to importing and overwriting the text) is saved in your project's Recovery folder.

This results in a separate, parallel study for each language.  But, the variable names are identical across different versions of the questionnaire.  So, you could accumulate multiple datafiles (.csv) into SSI Web if you wanted to append the data from the various languages.

I hope this explains your query.
answered Mar 3, 2015 by Paul Moon Platinum (82,475 points)
I would also recommend having a reliable source QA test the "other language" survey to be sure the translation has been successful in accordance with the English version survey.
Is there a way to present the option to choose a language and be redirected to one or the other without having to run 2 independent projects in parallel?
I have seen the situation where the respondent was presented with the language question (English / Spanish) and once answered, the survey would be directed to a terminate question and link to either the English or Spanish version of the survey, depending on how the language question was answered. In this case, the surveys were still setup separately.

A similar method is to send the specific English or Spanish link directly to the respective respondents (English respondents get the English version, Spanish respondents get the Spanish version). Again 2 parallel surveys are setup.

The method where the 2 languages are combined into one survey would consist of a lot of conditional script using Perl (this would include code lists, question script, settings, etc.). I have never tried this before personally. And the programmer would have to be fluent in both languages of course (or have assistance with a 3rd party who does know the translated language). I can only assume it would work?

Saurabh certainly has the experience in this area. Would be nice if you could make the conference given Saurabh's session include this very topic.
0 votes
Hey Sawtooth User,

I have a solution for this.

Please attend my breakout session at Sawtooth  Software Conference for details.

answered Mar 3, 2015 by Saurabh Aggarwal Gold (33,600 points)
Looking forward to it thanks Saurabh.
hi saurabh, for those who cannot make it to the conference, when can you share the solution? Thanks.
Implementing 2 Languages in Sawtooth
0 votes
I have successfully used lists to do a multi-language survey in one .ssi file, but it's cumbersome.  I think Paul touched on it in a previous response.

The first question in your study is "language," where 1= English, 2=French, etc. EVERYTHING else in the study is then a nested list, based on the language selected (i.e., member 1 of all lists is the English-equivalent, member 2 of all lists is the French-equivalent, etc.)

For example, if you have a select question asking about gender, you would have several "source" lists:

1 - <!--English-->What is your gender?
2 - <!--French-->Quel est votre sexe?

1 - <!--English-->Male
2 - <!--French-->homme

1 - <!--English-->Female
2 - <!--French-->femme

Then in the Question Body field, your code would look like this:

Your Response Option 1 would look like this:

Your Response Option 2 would look like this:

I have yet to figure out a way to make it dynamic though, in the sense that you can use a drop-down menu in the global header or footer to change languages automatically.

Good luck.
answered Mar 6, 2015 by WTW_cal Bronze (1,595 points)
The solution presented here by TW_cal works extremely well.  We recently had an 11 language survey and completed it successfully using this method (which we found here on this forum, suggested by user alex.wendland - thanks Alex!)  It is a bit cumbersome and you have to be EXTREMEMLY organized in how you name your lists. but the benefit on the back end of having all of your data in a common place is imeasurable.  Our study used direct email invitations for qhich we knew the native language so we passed a code through a merge field to select the language for each attempt.  Worked like a charm.

It would actually be nice if Sawtooth would incorporate this as a feature in a future version - allowing multiple languages in a single survey and allowing the respondent to change language on the fly.