Survey Platform - Translate Survey | Qualtrics

Translate Survey


With our Translate Survey feature, you can add multiple languages to a single survey. Each respondent can see the survey in a language they are comfortable with, and because there is just one survey containing all translations, all results will come back into the same dataset.

On this page you will learn about the methods available for translating your survey, how to specify which language each respondent sees, and how to analyze data for translated surveys.

Using Translate Survey

You can access the Translate Survey feature from the Tools menu in the Survey module. It appears as its own editor with its own particular layout and actions.

Editor Layout

The translation editor is divided into two halves. On the left, you can view your text in the base language, or the language your survey was originally written in.


Qtip: It’s best practice to ensure that the language set in your Survey Options is the language your survey is initially written in. If you write your survey in Spanish but your Survey Options is set to English, respondents will have to choose to view your language in English to see the Spanish version. You can change the base survey language at any time under the Survey Experience section.

The right half of the screen displays the translated version of the text. The first time you open Translate Survey, the right half of the screen will be blank (since you won’t have added any translations yet), but once you have selected a language to translate, you will be able to click on the text to edit.

In addition to viewing your survey translations question by question, you also have access to the Translation Overview, which displays a list of all the questions in your survey and how far along in the translation process each is.


You can switch between these views by clicking Translation Overview and Back to Question Translation.


To return to the survey editor, click Back to Editor.


Editor Actions

In addition to directly editing translation material, there are several options and actions to enhance or help the process:

  • Paid Translations: Request a quote for translating your survey.
  • Preview Survey: See what your translations will look like to a respondent.
  • Translation Overview: Check the status of all translations, as well as access options for uploading and downloading translations.
  • Next/Previous Question: Move forward and backward among questions in your survey.
  • Edit Language: Switch which language you are working on or add another.
  • Percent Complete: View what percent of a question has been translated.
  • Preview Question: See what a question’s translation will look like to a respondent.
  • Download Translation: Download the translated text of your survey.
  • Upload Translation: Upload a translation of your survey.

Adding Translations Manually

  1. Navigate to the Survey module and click Tools.
  2. Select Translate Survey.
  3. Click Add Language.
  4. Select the checkbox for the language(s) you want to add a translation for.

    Qtip: To add a custom language, scroll to the bottom of the Other Language menu and click Create Other Language. Enter a Display Name, Language Code, and Base Language (the language Qualtrics will base any default messages on in the event translations aren’t provided). Click Create to finish and save the language.
  5. Click Close.
  6. Click on the text you would like to translate (untranslated text is in red) and enter the translated version.

    Qtip: The Percent Complete icon in the upper right lets you know how much of your question has been translated.
  7. Click the Preview Question icon to preview how the question will appear to respondents.
  8. Click the > arrow to move to the next question in your survey.
  9. Repeat steps 6–8 for all the questions in your survey.
    Qtip: Click Translation Overview to view a list of all the questions in your survey and how far along in the translation process each is.
  10. Click the language dropdown to add question translations for another language.
  11. Click Back to Editor to return to the survey editor.
Qtip: Default messaging within the survey, such as alerting participants that a response is required, or the default End of Survey message, is already translated for you. Your own messaging, such as email invitations or custom End of Survey messages, can be translated in the Library section.

Automatic Translation

To speed up your survey translation process, you can use an automatic translation per question by clicking the Percent Complete icon on any untranslated question.


Because machine translations are prone to error, we don’t recommend using this as the final translation you share with participants. Rather, this feature can save time when working with a professional translator, as they will only need to clean up this existing translation rather than starting from scratch.

Qtip: Automatic Translation is completed by Google Translate. Your question text may remain on Google servers after the translation is complete.

Importing a Translation

For some third-party vendors helping you with translations, they may prefer to work in a spreadsheet or in XML rather than typing the translation directly into Qualtrics. The following instructions will allow you to download one or all languages in your survey to then be translated and uploaded back into Qualtrics. This will translate your entire survey at once, instead of translating the survey question by question.

To export a translation file

  1. Navigate to the Survey module and click Tools.
  2. Select Translate Survey.
  3. Click the Download Translation button to the right of the translated question section.
  4. Select a format for the file, choose which languages to export, and click Download.

    Qtip: In most cases, we recommend the Unicode Text (Excel) format. Like Unicode CSV, this can be opened in Excel. However, unlike Unicode CSV, Unicode Text understands and preserves non-ASCII characters (for example, 是 or ñ) when saved in Excel.
  5. Open the file in your preferred editor.
    Qtip: Unicode Text (Excel) will open in a text editor by default. Follow the steps below to properly open the file in Excel.

To open a translation file in Excel

  1. Select Open from the File menu of Excel.
    This step may appear differently depending on the version of Excel you are using.
  2. Select the file you’ve just downloaded.
    Depending on your version of Excel, you may need to view all file types, as highlighted above, before your file will appear.
  3. Wait until a Text Import Wizard appears, then select Delimited.
  4. Select Tab as the delimiter on the second step.
  5. Make no changes on the third step and select Finish.

Using the Downloaded Translation File

Unicode Text (Excel) and Unicode CSV both have the following layout in Excel:


In these files, a row is provided for each item to be translated, with a column for the language downloaded.

XML can be opened in your preferred text editor and will have the following layout:


In XML, an element is provided for each item to be translated. A child element is provided for each language downloaded.

To import a translation file

  1. Click the Upload Translation button to the right of the translated question section.
  2. Select the file you would like to import.

    Qtip: The import screen will indicate you are importing for the specific language currently being viewed in Translate Survey. At this point you can upload a file with all or any of your languages—no need to import one at a time.
  3. Click Import once you’ve verified the preview of the imported text is correct.

Paid Translation Services

If you don’t have the resources for your own professional translation, consider using our Paid Translation service.

With this service, your survey is translated and reviewed by two native speakers of the language to ensure accuracy. The translation is then uploaded into your account, with no extra work needed on your end.

Click Paid Translations in the Translate Survey editor to fill out the form to request a free Translation Quote.


Specifying the Participant Language

Once your survey is translated, how do you ensure participants see it in the appropriate language? Qualtrics provides the following four options to simplify this process.

Automatic Language Detection

When a participant starts your survey, Qualtrics will check their web browser settings to see which language they use to browse the internet. If your survey is translated into their internet browser language, this translation will automatically be used, placing most participants in the correct translation with no additional work needed on your end.

Surveys taken on this web browser will load in Portuguese, if a Portuguese translation is available.

Specifying Language in a Contact List

If you know your participants’ preferred languages ahead of time, you can upload this information as part of your contact list, in the column titled Language.


In the language column of your contact list, you’ll insert the appropriate language code for each participant, as outlined below.

languages for support page

Creating a Survey Link for Each Language

If you are distributing your survey anonymously, you can still specify each participant’s language by creating a different survey link for each language. This can be useful if you are posting your survey to a website that caters to multiple languages.

To create a survey link for each language, copy the Anonymous Link and append “?Q_Language=” to the end, followed by the appropriate language code from the table above. The newly constructed link will look like this:

Qtip: If your survey link already has a question mark (?) in it, you’ll need to add an ampersand (&) first instead of a question mark (?).

When the link is accessed, the survey will display in the indicated language.

“?Q_Language=ES” has been added to the end of this survey URL. Because ES is the language code for Spanish, participants who use this URL will see the survey in Spanish.

Participant Language Selection

Some participants may want to take the survey in a language other than the one selected for them. On the top right of any translated survey, participants will have the opportunity to switch to a new language at any point in the survey. This language dropdown menu is automatically inserted into every page of the survey for your convenience.


Custom Content for Each Language

On certain studies, you may have survey questions reserved for a specific language. For example, a question asking respondents to rate you with a letter grade may only make sense in English speaking countries.


Qualtrics stores the language participants are using to take the survey in an Embedded Data field named Q_Language. Q_Language can be used in Display Logic and Branch Logic to ensure participants only see questions appropriate for their language.

A question with this Display Logic would only show for English-speaking participants.

Data Analysis for Translated Surveys

Data from all languages will flow back into the same dataset for easy reporting. Qualtrics tracks which language participants used to take the survey, and this information is stored in an Embedded Data field called Q_Language. To have this information reported in your results along with the survey questions, add an Embedded Data field to your Survey Flow named Q_Language.


In the Reports module and the downloaded dataset, Q_Language can be reported along with your survey questions.


Q_Language can also be used for filtering survey results in both Reports and Data and Analysis, as well as for filtering downloading data.

A report with this filter would only include Portuguese respondents.