End-user feedback is easily the lifeblood of innovation. Which company wouldn’t give its metaphorical right arm to know what its customers love about its product, what they hate, and everything in between?
Yet, when your business is global and your customers come from many cultures and speak different languages, collecting their feedback in a sustained, useful way is a challenge. Language service providers (LSPs) are often very helpful here, and this is something that perhaps many companies aren’t aware of.
To explore this topic, we spoke with Katerina Gasova, linguistic services director at Moravia. As part of her work, Katerina manages teams of linguistic services managers that collect user feedback on behalf of clients.
Here is a slightly edited version of the interview:
First off, Katerina, why do clients work with LSPs on eliciting end-user feedback? Can’t they do it on their own?
Clients can obtain user feedback on their own, and they do. It’s just easier for them to use language services companies for the job, for the simple reason that an LSP with global presence is better equipped to do it. They have the knowledge of the local market and of the product, an understanding of the ideal sample population, and of course, familiarity with individual languages and cultures.
While some clients are savvy and know how to go about obtaining their users’ comments, other clients still build their experience in this area and may seek an LSP’s help with it.
What are the typical areas an LSP helps with getting end-user feedback on? Is it only related to translation or product localization as a whole?
Users don’t look at the product and say, “Hey! This translation’s good.” In fact, they don’t even care about the translation, and that is actually the ideal situation. What I mean is that as long as language enables them to use the product without any hiccups, they don’t pay attention to it. But when the translation doesn’t make sense, when it confuses them, when it sounds unnatural — that is, when language becomes an issue or when their language is not available at all — only then does it catch the attention of users.
Similarly, whether it’s an LSP that’s handling the user survey or the client, you cannot be asking them questions about whether the use of this word was better versus another, or to drill down deep into other purely linguistic issues. But you can and need to ask them questions that will get them talking about their user experience: how they were able to navigate through the controls, whether the instructions were clear and helpful, questions on design, and so on.
Users see the product as a whole and not as a result of the work of separate teams in your company: marketing, development, design, or localization. Your questions need to take into account the overall user perspective.
Are there some industry verticals that tend to use translation companies’ services more than others in this respect?
Well, obtaining customer ratings on a large scale may be an expensive proposition. So, it’s usually the bigger, high-tech companies that go about doing it in an organized way. Of course, every company collects user feedback in some way or the other, but only a handful of companies set aside the resources required to do it systematically on a large scale.
To some extent, it’s also the premium the company places on user feedback. The more mature companies see the value of end-user feedback and invest in it. They also increasingly implement multilingual social listening tools that enable them to capture and analyze user feedback as shared in social media in a range of languages.
How quickly does this user feedback get incorporated into correcting things or introducing new features?
Here, I can comment on the feedback related to the linguistic part. Usually, any quality improvements arising out of user feedback can only be implemented in the next release of the product, unless there’s a show-stopper error, of course. So, while the feedback loop exists and is utilized to improve products, it’s not immediate.
Can you talk about some best practices to follow for collecting end-user evaluation?
Provide users with tools to make it really very easy for them to give feedback. The companies that are thoughtful about their end users invest money in building quality programs. They have portals where users can log in and leave feedback on their product. When users see that you care about their feedback and that they can use the provided feedback tool easily, you often see that they get really enthusiastic, provide you with truly deep insights that help your overall product development, and even become brand ambassadors.