Global B2B Research is fascinating for the scale of the human and economic impact of its discoveries. An excellent B2B researcher hones specific skills and knowledge in order to do it well – and their suppliers should too.

Given just how crucial translations are to producing accurate, actionable global insight, we are delighted to be sharing a handful of top considerations when commissioning or carrying out B2B Research translations.

1. Diglossia

Diglossia is the coexistence of two or more language variants where one is seen as ‘higher’ or superior, and the others are seen as ‘lower’ or less prestigious. Particularly for C-suite survey translations, exploiting diglossia can be a subtle way of facilitating your research in certain markets.

EXAMPLE: It may flatter and improve participation amongst high-earning businesspeople in China to use the more prestigious Traditional Chinese language in B2B surveys, as opposed to the ‘lower’ (more widely-used) Simplified Chinese.

2. Tone

‘Tell us how much you make.’ – said (hopefully) no global, B2B survey ever. Tact and sensitivity of tone may seem straightforward when it comes to taboo subjects in your own culture, but any good B2B survey translation will also accommodate local business trends to avoid causing offense or misinterpretation.

EXAMPLE: India’s ancient caste system still very much exists, affecting the language used by businesspeople about social status, and influencing recruitment choices.

3. Specialism

Is there a faster way to lose B2B participant engagement than through an incompetent survey translation? It’s open to debate, but it is highly likely that most B2B participants will know what they’re talking about when it comes to their area of specialism – and your translated survey should too.

GET IN TOUCH: Do you have an example or anecdote about the importance of correct terminology in global B2B research? We would love to hear from you!

4. Skew

So, yes, technically we’ve snuck a general translation tip in here… because we cannot emphasise it enough. Accurate and actionable global insight comes from data analyses that account for cultural and acquiescence skew, which may require a living, breathing understanding of the culture. In anticipation, expert B2B translations can mitigate cross-cultural skew through language choices and simply by addressing participants in their native tongue.

EXAMPLE: In the publication ‘Comparing Apples to Pommes’, Conor Wilcox (Research Director at B2B International) explains in detail how aggregate satisfaction ratings from surveys in Brazil are significantly higher than in Singapore, due to a tendency towards extreme responses and yea-saying. He confirms that accurate, native translations of non-numerical scales help reduce skew.

5. The Human Touch

Remember the age-old mantra: ‘B2B customers are human too!’ Putting as much care into the initial design and language used in B2B surveys as we do for B2C has all the same benefits and can do wonders for the ease of your data gathering and quality insight creation.

Whether you go in-house for translations, use in-country fieldwork agencies or have a specialist translation partner, the quality of your research can ultimately depend on your translators’ awareness of the challenges of global B2B research.


At RP Translate, we provide continuous MR training to our hand-picked translation teams so that they can help us deliver the highest-quality Business Intelligence Translation Packages, for your peace of mind. Simply request a quote or further information from one of our friendly translation experts to get started.

John Temple

John Temple

John has spent decades in the Market Research Translation industry and proudly wears the badge ‘Expert’. He is continuously implementing innovative ideas that bring ease, cost-effectiveness and excellence to every stage of your multilingual research.