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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Nqual adds real-time translation to online group platform

UK— Online qualitative software firm Nqual has added real-time translation technology to its Rich Focus platform that makes it possible for clients to keep up with what’s being discussed in groups where they don’t speak the language.

Managing director Jeroen Verheggen said the technology translates text from one language to another within “milliseconds” of it being typed by the respondent.

“We think we are getting 80−90% accurate results,” Verheggen said, though he said accuracy does vary depending on the individual’s use of spelling and grammar.

The technology does not do away with the need for professional translators, Verheggen said: “It’s designed to give any client the opportunity to follow groups and get the gist of what is going on.”

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Readers' comments (3)

  • Great use of technology but 80-90% accuracy would concern me especially when meaning is at the heart of all insight and qualitative research. Software can never replace the intelligence of a human researcher. Clients also need to learn the value of giving time to analysis as opposed to instant results.

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  • Martyn, the instant translation service in Rich Focus is not intended to replace the researcher in any way; it's simply a way to enable clients to follow what's happening in an online group in a foreign language. Online groups are increasingly used for international work and the demand for translation has been growing amongst our clients - this new development addresses that demand

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  • In answer to Martyn’s point.

    The group discussion is in native language so nothing is lost there and of course a moderator will still provide an analysis based on a native (or professionally translated) transcript.

    What our solution allows researchers to do is invite clients to observe a group and allow non-native observers to follow the discussion in real-time in their own language. If you compare this to simultaneous translations during ‘traditional’ focus groups, I would argue you get better translations using our method as one translator will find it very hard to translate 8 voices at the same time!

    Lastly the acuracy improves the more it is used and if you look at how Google translator and programs have improved over the last few years things will only get better.

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