Surveys in Multiple Languages

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Export/Import Survey Text


The most efficient way to develop surveys in multiple languages is to first program the entire survey (including all skip patterns, etc.) in the source language (for this explanation, we'll assume English).  Then, using File | Translation | Export Text for Translation... export all the English text of the survey to Excel, Xliff, or CSV. All of the survey text can then be translated and added to the file (see the various file formats below).


Next use File | Save As to create a copy of your existing English (source language) survey, giving the new survey a new name such as "mystudy_spanish."  Open the mystudy_spanish study and use File | Translation | Import Translated Text... to bring the translated text into your new Spanish study.  All of the new Spanish text will overwrite the existing English text.  A backup of your survey (prior to importing and overwriting the text) is saved in the study's folder.


Using the process above will create a separate, parallel survey for each language.  But, the variable names are identical across different versions of the survey.  So, you could accumulate multiple datafiles (.csv) into the same survey if you wanted to append the data from the various languages.


Excel and CSV


The exported Excel and CSV files have three columns.  The first column contains the ID of the text being exported, for example Q1_Header1.  This ID is used to match up the text with the correct location in the survey.  The second column contains the text that was exported from the survey.  The third column is where the new translated text should be entered.  




The XLIFF file is an XML file that includes IDs, the source language, and a place to enter new languages, similar to the Excel file mentioned above. Translation companies commonly use software tools that support the XLIFF format.  


Directly Typing or Copy-Pasting Text into Lighthouse Studio


We assume that you have the ability to enter the survey text (using a keyboard or other input device) or that you have the translated text in a Word document, or some other program that displays the text correctly (the characters display as they are intended to be shown in the survey).


When authoring surveys, you should ensure that the characters appearing in the input boxes are the characters that respondents should see.  (They may not be formatted with the correct size, color, or font, but they should be the correct character.  If you see a "?", a box character, or just the wrong character(s), then the respondents are most likely not going to see the correct character either.)  You do not need to do anything additional to make Lighthouse Studio display your text correctly.  Do NOT add a <META> tag specifying the character set.  (Lighthouse Studio automatically includes a <META> tag indicating that the UTF-8 character set is being used.)


Lighthouse Studio supports double-byte characters in file names for graphics and also in files you name during export.  


If you use Excel to open a .txt or .csv file that you have exported that contains double-byte characters, you should first open Excel and then open the file using File | Open.  This brings up a import wizard where you can specify to use Unicode encoding.  You should have Excel 2003 or later to open files properly containing UTF-8 Unicode encoded characters.


Many languages work without any special considerations (such as Spanish, German, French, etc.).  Just enter the characters or copy and paste them into Lighthouse Studio and they will appear correctly.  If the characters do not appear correctly, then try the procedures outlined below.


Test your survey carefully.  Be careful to check the survey in Preview mode against your original Word document to ensure that the displayed text is correct.  Be sure to test your survey on multiple browser types and using older versions of browsers since they all display HTML slightly different.




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