Conducting User Research with an Interpreter

With Chinese and Spanish being the world’s top two spoken languages and huge growth in mobile users outside of the English-language world, there’s a good chance you could find yourself conducting research with participants across a language barrier. Rather than seeing this as an issue or trying to avoid it by seeking only research participants who speak English, plan for it and embrace the diversity of a global audience. Working with interpreters can be another tool in your toolbox for creating great user experiences. Partner with great simultaneous interpreters to help you conduct inclusive research that results in reliable, diverse input into your design process. Conducting User Research with an Interpreter

There were times when most of what I communicated was through translation, which was always slow and difficult. Instead of relying on interpreters, I found it useful to partner with others to facilitate the research that I or someone else had designed. By training people to, for example, how to conduct interviews, you not only remove a great deal of friction in your research, you also gain a new member of your team. Qualitative research is as much art as science and it takes a long time to gain real competency, but it’s something that everyone can be involved with. Another point, often times I found that my very presence in the room could create anxiety, as the participants want to please, and will feel embarrassed about their lack of English communication skills.