FEATURE17 February 2020

The route to local understanding

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For market research to yield genuine and accurate insights, cross-cultural understanding is essential. This requires considerable translation expertise, as Tim Phillips reports.

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What’s the Russian for ‘doing a Kane’?

To be fair, it’s not immediately obvious what the English is for that phrase, which is unlikely to make it into a translation dictionary in future.

But briefly, during England footballer Harry Kane’s progress towards winning the Golden Boot at the 2018 World Cup, the phrase popped up in global research, and became another challenge to solve for Ruth Partington’s team at market research localisation agency Empower (formerly RP Translate).

Since the 1990s, Empower has been translating and localising market research, both the surveys and the responses, for research agencies (and the clients of those agencies) that want to work across many markets. Partington initially combined her knack for languages, good international contacts, an understanding of what market research was trying to achieve, and a knowledge of WordPerfect, to earn regular work with agencies like Hall & Partners and Virtual Surveys (now Join the Dots).

But the ...