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Translate Survey

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About Translating a Survey

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. For each survey, you can translate all the questions as well as the the survey’s display name and description.

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.

Qtip: It’s best practice not to translate a survey until you are completely finished building your survey. If you make edits after uploading translations, make sure you also edit translations accordingly.
Qtip: Survey translation capabilities are only available to certain licenses. Talk to your Customer Success Representative or Account Executive if you are interested in this feature.

Using Translate Survey

You can translate the survey by going to Survey tab, opening the Survey options menu, and selecting Translations. It appears as its own editor with its own particular layout and actions.

In the survey options, lower-left, "Translations" is the last thing listed

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.

Left side of the translation tool, where the default language appears

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 your survey options language is set to English, but you write your survey in Spanish, respondents will have to choose English from the language dropdown menu to view the survey in Spanish. This only occurs when other language translations are available. You can change the base survey language at any time under the General section.

The right half of the screen displays the translated version of the text. The first time you open the translation tool, 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.

An English translation on the left and a Spanish translation of the same question on the right

In addition to viewing your survey translations question by question, there’s also the translation overview, which displays a list of all the questions in your survey (plus your survey display name and description) and how far along in the translation process each is.

A list of the languages the survey has been translated into, with download links

You can switch between these views by clicking Translation Overview and Go Back (to return to the question translation).

Translation Overview Button, back to editor button

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:

Buttons and functions of the Translate Survey page

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

Adding Translations Manually

  1. Navigate to the Survey tab and click Survey options.
    In the survey options, lower-left, "Translations" is the last thing listed
  2. Select Translations.
  3. Click Add Language.
    Add Language button
  4. Select the checkbox for the language(s) you want to add a translation for. Click Close.
    Survey Languages popup window

    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.
    Example: When creating the custom language’s language code, do not include any dashes or other punctuation. For example, if you wanted to add a language for French (Belgian), the code would be FRBE.
  5. Click on the text you would like to translate (untranslated text is in red) and enter the translated version.
    Navigating arrows and questions outlined on the Translate survey page

    Qtip: The percent complete icon in the upper right lets you know how much of your question has been translated.
  6. Click the Preview Question icon to preview how the question will appear to respondents.
  7. Click the arrow ( > ) to move to the next question in your survey.
  8. Repeat steps 6–8 for all the questions in your survey, plus the title and meta description.
    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.
  9. Click the language dropdown to add question translations for another language.
  10. Click Back to Editor to return to the survey editor.

If you’re ready to push changes live to survey respondents, remember to click publish.

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, must be translated in the library.
Qtip: After translating your survey, you can export or print your survey and choose which translation you’d like to export.

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.

Circular red icon that says 0 percent above an untranslated question on the right

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.

Attention: The Qualtrics Auto-Translate feature uses Google Translate. The text of your survey questions is sent to Google Translate and will be returned in the language you select. Please be aware that your question text may remain on Google servers. The Qualtrics Auto-Translate feature sends only your question text. Respondent data is not sent and remains secure at Qualtrics.
Qtip: If you make edits to your original survey after using this feature, you will need to delete the previously made automatic translations before generating a new set of automatic translations. Text changes are not automatically translated.

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.

Qtip: Although it may look like you’re only uploading to one question, this method actually allows you to translate your entire survey all at once.

To export a translation file

  1. Navigate to the Survey tab and click Survey options.
    In the survey options, lower-left, "Translations" is the last thing listed
  2. Select Translations.
  3. Click the Download Translation button to the right of the translated question section.
    Download button on a question
  4. Select a format for the file, choose which languages to export, and click Download.
    download translation window

    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. For more information about non-ASCII characters in CSV/TSV files and troubleshooting tips, go to the CSV/TSV Upload Issues support page.
  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.
    Going to File and Open on Excel
  2. Select the file you’ve just downloaded. Depending on your version of Excel, you may need to view all file types, as highlighted below, before your file will appear.
    Opening a txt excel file
  3. Wait until a Text Import Wizard appears, then select Delimited.
    On the text import wizard, the field type is delimited and the import starts at row 1
  4. Select Tab as the delimiter on the second step.
    Delimiters is set to tab
  5. Make no changes on the third step and select Finish.
    finish button on lower-right

Using the Downloaded Translation File

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

CSV of translation file

In these files, a row is provided for each item to be translated, with a column for the language downloaded.  The elements in the PhraseID column should not be modified from their original format.

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

An xml doc of translations

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.
    Upload button on a question
  2. Select the file you would like to import.
    Browse button on Upload Translation window

    Qtip: The import screen will indicate you are importing for the specific language currently being viewed in the translation tool. 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.
    Preview of import. Import button on lower-right

Merging Translations

When you are importing a survey translation, removing rows removes the surveys translation.

Example: Question 1 is translated, but Question 2 is not. You export your file for translation, and delete the rows that have Question 1’s translation. Then you translate Question 2. You import the file, but when it’s done uploading, now Question 2 is translated in your survey, but Question 1 is not!

However, there is a way to make it so that if your survey is already partially translated, you can just upload the new translations and merge the two together.

  1. When importing your survey, click Show Options.
    Show Options blue link lower-left of upload window
  2. Select Merge updated translations.
    Merge translations option appears above translation preview and is a small checkbox

Note how in Step 1, Question 1 (in yellow) will revert back to English. But after we select Merge updated translations in Step 2, we only see Question 2’s translation, meaning it is the only question that will be edited by this change.

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 to fill out the form to request a free translation quote.

Paid Translation button on upper-right

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.

Languages window

Surveys taken on the above web browser will load in Brazilian Portuguese, if a Brazilian 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 a column titled Language.

CSV of a contact list where there's a column for Language. English is indicated as EN

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

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 below. 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 (?). See more on the Query Links support page.

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

A query string at the end of a survey link that says question mark, then Q, underscore, Language (captilzaied), equals ES (capital letters)

“?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.

Upper-right of survey has a language selection dropdown menu

Available Language Codes

Whenever you need to specify the language for a participant, whether in a contact list, query string, or translation upload, you will need to use the language codes specified below.

Qtip: Please note that these languages available for surveys, and do not necessarily reflect the list of languages our platform is translated into. For a list of platform languages, see the User Settings page.
Qtip: Your language codes must be capitalized in order to function properly. Be sure to capitalize the language code when adding it to your survey.
SQI Albanian FR French NO Norwegian
AR Arabic FR-CA French Canadian ORI Odia/Oriya
HYE Armenian KAT Georgian FA Persian
ASM Assamese DE German PL Polish
AZ-AZ Azeri/Azerbaijani (Latin script) EL Greek PT Portuguese
ID Bahasa Indonesia GU Gujarati PA-IN Punjabi
MS Bahasa Malaysia HE Hebrew RO Romanian
BEL Belarusian HI Hindi RU Russian
BN Bengali HU Hungarian SR Serbian
BS Bosnian HIL Ilonggo/Hiligaynon SIN Sinhalese
PT-BR Brazilian Portuguese IT Italian SK Slovak
BG Bulgarian ISL Icelandic SL Slovenian
CA Catalan JA Japanese ES-ES Spanish EU
CEB Cebuano KAN Kannada ES Spanish LATAM
ZH-S Chinese (Simplified) KAZ Kazakh (Cyrilic) SW Swahili
ZH-T Chinese (Traditional) KM Khmer SV Swedish
HR Croatian KO Korean TGL Tagalog
CS Czech LV Latvian TA Tamil
DA Danish LT Lithuanian TEL Telugu
NL Dutch MK Macedonian TH Thai
EN-GB English – UK MAL Malayalam TR Turkish
EN English – US MAR Marathi UK Ukrainian
EO Esperanto MN Mongolian UR Urdu
ET Estonian SR-ME Montenegrin VI Vietnamese
FI Finnish MY Myanmar/Burmese CY Welsh
Qtip: Are you planning to distribute using language codes and wonder how that is related to respondent browser settings? Language codes in a contact list or query string are prioritized over the respondent’s browser settings. Regardless of the language they set in their browser, if you specify a language code for the respondent to take the survey in, then the survey will begin in that language. The respondent will still have the ability to manually change their survey language to any of the available translations.

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.

A survey set to English

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.

Display Logic that says the question will be displayed if Embedded Data Q_Language is equal to EN

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.

An Embedded Data element in the Survey Flow named Q_Language with no value

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

A survey language bar chart in the reports

Qtip: You might need to change the format of the Q_Language embedded data to a multi-value text set to be able to make a bar chart like the one pictured above.

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

Filter on a report that says data will only be included in charts and tables if Q_Language is equal to ES-ES (European Spanish)

A report with this filter would only include respondents with their language set to European Spanish.


Removing a Translation

To remove a translation:

  1. Navigate to the Survey tab and click Survey options.
    In the survey options, lower-left, "Translations" is the last thing listed
  2. Select Translations.
  3. Click the language on the right side of the screen.
    Selecting Edit Languages in the translation editor
  4. Select Edit Languages.
  5. Uncheck the box for the language you would like to remove a translation for. To re-enable the translation, re-check the box.
    Deselecting a language's translation, then Selecting the Delete Translation button
  6. Unchecking the box simply disables the translation. To permanently erase a translation, select Delete Translation after unchecking the box. This cannot be undone.
  7. Click Close.