Summary

Q Methodology originated and has largely been championed in the English-speaking world. Interest in Q is now widespread across the globe, and systems for Q need to support this multilingual context.

Q-Assessor always allowed investigators to author statement concourses and interview questions in any language they liked, but all the operational texts remained in English. Now Q-Assessor lets investigators configure their studies to run entirely in any of the supported languages.

Internationalization

The Big Picture

One of Q-Assessor’s recognized original limitations was its inability to configure all its operational texts — user interface instructions, button texts, and the like — in any language but English. The statements, questions, and labels specific to a study could be written in any language by an investigator, but all the other stuff remained in English. This awkward situation was one we finally chose to fix now that the level of interest from international subscribers has become sufficient.

Configuring a Specific Language


All new studies default to English, but you can easily set the language Q-Assessor uses for all interface elements through one configuration in the study editing form.

That one setting also controls the language used in the links appended to invitation and reminder emails sent to recruited participants. The investigator writes an email’s subject and body using the chosen language, but Q-Assessor provides the correct instructions also in that language that enable participants to perform or refuse the study.

Available Languages

Currently we support these:

  • Afrikaans
  • Arabic
  • Chinese (Traditional Characters)
  • Czech
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • English
  • Finnish
  • French
  • German
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Hungarian
  • Italian
  • Korean
  • Maori
  • Norwegian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Serbian
  • Slovak
  • Slovenian
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
  • Turkish
  • Zulu

We will add others in the future given sufficient interest.

Improving Our Translations

We’ve used Google’s translation service as the basis for all of our translations. We recognize that not all of Google’s translations are optimal, but short of engaging a professional linguistic firm to perform the involved (and highly expensive) steps of forward- and reverse-validations, we believe this is a suitable starting point.

Q-Assessor’s internationalization technologies allow us to readily edit these translations, though, so any subscriber who finds that specific phrases should be modified should contact us noting these points:

  • The English phrase in question
  • The problematic non-English version (and of course which language)
  • An explanation of what is wrong with the current translation
  • A suggested correct phrase

If you think that many of the translations need to be edited, we can email you a spreadsheet that contains all of the translated texts — one text per row, with one column in English, one column in the translated language, one column where you can add your suggested edit, and one column where you should provide an explanation of the change. Let us know if you’d like to help with these translations, and thanks for your contributions.

Multilingual Studies

If you want to target separate linguistic populations with the same study — and not simply use a non-English language for one study population — Q-Assessor makes this easy to deploy and analyze.

Deploying

Q-Assessor’s study cloning feature — available only to subscribers — makes it extremely easy to create separate sections of your study, one for each language group you want to reach. Here’s how:

  1. Author (on your computer) all statements, questions, bin labels, study intro, etc. in each language you want to use so that you have all the texts ready to go.
  2. Create a study at Q-Assessor, and copy&paste in all the statements, questions, etc. using one of those languages. Test the study and make certain that it functions the way that you want. This will be the “central” study.
  3. Clone that study by clicking the “clone” link on the page where you edit the study’s configurations. This will add to your list of studies an exact duplicate named exactly like your original study with the addition of “(clone).” Note that you cannot clone a clone — only the original “central” study.
  4. Open the newly cloned study.
  5. Rename that cloned study to something appropriate for the next language and make sure to set the language option to the new language, then save the configurations.
  6. Copy&paste all the appropriate texts for this language into the new cloned study.
  7. Test the new cloned study. It should function in all respects exactly like the original — only in the new language.
  8. Continue to clone the first “central” study to make each additional study for each additional language.

Analyzing

Q-Assessor handles each of these studies — the original one and its clones — as separate studies. How appropriate it is to combine the data from these studies is subject to the quality of the translations of your statements etc., plus other methodological considerations that you may have. Q-Assessor initially didn’t provide any mechanisms to pool these data because we suspected that this step might be too suspect to be worthwhile.

However, there is one small study (further discussion of it is here — login required) that suggests that data from two language groups can be combined and analyzed together.

We leave it to the individual investigator to decide if they want to do that, but Q-Assessor makes it easy to do. When there is one or more clones of a study, Q-Assessor will tell you which they are and whether they have mergeable data. To merge data from a clone back to the original study requires only a single click. The merged data can then be viewed and analyzed in the central study, and the language of the study is included in the data listings so you can tell the origin of the data. If you decide to remove the imported data from the central study, that too requires only a single click.

Note that a given clone’s entire data set is imported at once; importing each data element one at a time is not supported. But if you want to remove any of the imported clone data, you can simply exclude them from the analysis (or delete them) just as you can any data in a study. You can also download the combined data sets, as usual.

We suspect that this functionality may be infrequently needed, but it provides subscribers with an unprecedented level of flexibility and power in crafting multilingual studies.

Created: September 12, 2014 16:34
Last updated: July 14, 2015 07:46


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