You can create a multilingual survey by adding more survey languages to your survey and providing your own translations. With a single survey, you can reach everyone in the language they're most comfortable with—and analyze all your results together as a single data set.
- Video Overview
- How it Works
- Adding a Language & Downloading the Translation File
- Opening & Translating the File
- Uploading Translations to SurveyMonkey
- Managing Translations
- Sending a Multilingual Survey
- Analyzing a Multilingual Survey
How It Works
You can let survey takers choose their preferred language from a dropdown menu on the survey, or send a special link for each language that opens the survey in that language automatically.
It's easy to set up:
2 Finalize your survey design and collector options
2 Add a language
2 Download the translation file for that language
2 Add your own translations to the file
2 Upload the translated file to SurveyMonkey
Adding a Language & Downloading the Translation File
Once you add a language to your survey, you can download the translation file for that language and start working on translations. Translations files are unique to each survey. If you make a copy of a survey, you will need to make a new translation file for that copy.
Wait Until Your Survey & Collector Options are Finalized! Before adding another language to your survey, finalize all your text in both the Design Survey and Collect Responses sections, since the translation file includes text from both places depending on your collector settings.
To add a survey language:
Dialects & Locales
Some languages have different dialects based on country or region. For these languages, you can click the + Locale option and choose the specific dialect or locale you'd like to provide translations for.
Right-to-Left (RTL) Languages
If including RTL languages like Hebrew or Arabic, you need to make the default survey language the RTL language before you design the survey. Then, you need to write the survey in the RTL language. This ensures that your RTL text and other languages display properly.
Opening & Translating the File
Opening the PO File
The translation file is in PO format (with .po file extension), which is often used in specialized translation software to maintain translations on multilingual websites.
We recommend using translation software like Transifex or Poedit to translate the PO file in a more user-friendly interface. From there you can export the translated PO file, and upload it back into SurveyMonkey. These tools offer more collaboration and status tracking features that make it easier to translate large-scale projects. You can also use your computer's text editor like Notepad on a PC or TextEdit on a Mac to open and edit the file.
Understanding the PO File & Adding Your Translations
When you open the PO file in a text editor, you'll see a lot of code—but don't worry! You don't need to know how to code in order to translate the file. You only need to focus on two parts:
To add your translations to the file:
Here are a few excerpts from a PO file where the default survey language is English, and you're translating it to Spanish. These examples should help you understand how to read the PO file, and how to add your translations in the right place.
In this excerpt of the PO file, the text is already translated. You can tell because the double quotes next to each
Check out Changing the Survey Language to get an idea of what kind of text we provide default translations for.
In this excerpt of the PO file, the text is untranslated. You can tell because the double quotes next to each
Adding Your Translations
The text highlighted in yellow shows where you'd enter your own translations—in between the double quotes.
If you want to learn more about the PO file format, Pology is a great resource.
Uploading Translations to SurveyMonkey
Once you save your translated PO file, go back to SurveyMonkey and upload the translations to your survey.
To upload your translated PO file to SurveyMonkey:
Adding Missing Translations
To add missing translations:
Learn how to manage existing languages and translations you've added to your survey.
Replacing or Updating Translations
To update or replace an existing translation:
Disabling a Language
Disabling a language will hide it from people taking your survey, but you'll be able to enable it again at any time.
To disable a language:
You can enable the language again by turning the toggle back on.
Deleting a Language
Deleting a language removes all translations in that language. New people won't be able to take the survey in that language, but any responses you received in that language so far won't be affected—they'll remain in your results.
To delete a language:
Changing the Default Language
Changing the default language changes the language that the survey will open by default. It also changes the source language that the other translations are based on.
Changing the default language will delete all existing translations—you'll need to redownload the PO files and upload new translations.
To change the default language:
Sending a Multilingual Survey
You can send a multilingual survey with any collector type, but we recommend the Web Link collector because you can send people directly to a specific language version of your survey by using language links.
A language link will open the survey with the specified language automatically selected, so people taking your survey don't need to select their preferred language from the dropdown themselves. This is a great option if you plan on sending your survey to different language cohorts separately.
The base URL of each language link is the same as the main survey link, so using language links doesn't create separate collectors. All your responses will still be associated with the same collector.
To get a language link:
If you send your multilingual survey using a different collector type, there may be elements that you can't translate. Your survey is sent in the default language and survey takers can choose their preferred language from the dropdown.
Analyzing a Multilingual Survey
When you analyze your results, all the responses across languages are merged together as one single data set.
Throughout your results, the question text and answer choices will show in the default survey language, but they represent all responses to your survey—regardless of what language the survey taker selected.
To view responses from a specific language, you can filter by language.
To see which language each respondent used to take the survey, export All Responses Data in XLS, or SPSS format.