Multilingual Surveys

Paid feature
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You can create a multilingual survey with different language options by adding your own translations. With a single survey, your respondents can take the survey in the language they’re most comfortable with. You can also send a web link or email invitation (in Beta) that automatically opens your survey to the selected language.

Depending on how you send your survey, you can let respondents choose their preferred language from a dropdown menu on the survey, or send a special web link or email invitation that opens the survey in a specific language.

Continue with the instructions below to set it up.

Once you add a language to your survey, you can download the file and start working on your translations. These files are unique to each survey. If you make changes to the survey design or make a copy of a survey, you will need to make a new translation file.

To add a survey language:

  1. Go to the Design Survey section of your survey.
  2. In the left sidebar, click Options.
  3. Click Language.
  4. Choose the default survey language from the dropdown—this is the language you'll base the other translations on.
  5. Click + Language to open the Survey Languages window.
  6. Click + Language.
  7. Select a language from the dropdown menu.
  8. Click Add.
  9. Click Download to download the translation file to your computer.
  10. Click Done.

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.

Hebrew, Arabic, and Persian text automatically displays in RTL orientation. We don't support other languages in RTL orientation.

Choose whether to use a CSV file or PO file.

Your downloaded .csv file may have pre-populated translations for default text in the Translated_Text (Modify this column only) column—you can choose to edit this text. Leave all other columns unchanged including Original Text, which is your survey text in the default language.

If you’re having issues with Excel or another spreadsheet program, try Google Spreadsheets. Download and save your file as Comma-Separated Values (.csv, current sheet).

  • CSV Translation Steps using Google Sheets
  • CSV Translation Steps for Mac Users using Excel
  • CSV Translation Steps for Windows PC Users using Excel

The other translation file is a 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. 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.

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:

msgidYour survey text, in the default language.
msgtrThe translation.

You'll see msgid and msgstr repeated throughout the file for every piece of text that appears in your survey.

To add your translations to the file:

  1. For each piece of survey text (msgid) in the file, check the translation (msgstr) that immediately follows it:
    • If the double quotes are empty, it means that you'll need to provide your own translation for that text in between the double quotes.
    • If the double quotes have a translation already, it means we've done some of the work for you! We pre-populate the file with some translations, but you can still edit the text if needed.
  2. When you're done adding all your translations, save 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.

  • Prepopulated Translations
  • Untranslated Text
  • Adding Your Translations

If you want to learn more about the PO file format, Pology is a great resource.

Once you save your translated file, go back to SurveyMonkey and upload the translations to your survey.

To upload your translated file to SurveyMonkey:

  1. In the Design Survey section, click Options in the left sidebar.
  2. Click Language.
  3. Click Edit Languages to open the Survey Languages window.
  4. Next to the language you want to upload, click Replace file.
  5. Select one or more translated files to upload. 
  6. The language is automatically enabled and ready to go, but you can click the toggle to disable the language if you want to wait before making it live.
  7. Check to make sure that the file is 100% translated. If it says anything less than 100%, you're missing translations for some of your survey text.

  • Adding Missing Translations

Learn how to manage existing languages and translations you've added to your survey.

  • Replacing or Updating Translations
  • Disabling a Language
  • Deleting a Language
  • Changing the Default Language

You can send a multilingual survey with any collector type, but we recommend either the Web Link collector or Email Invitation collector (in Beta) because you can send people directly to a specific language version of your survey.

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, but respondents can choose their preferred language from the dropdown.

You can send people directly to a specific language version of your survey by using language web 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:

  1. Create a new Web Link.
  2. Under the main survey link, expand the Language Links section.
  3. Click Copy next to a language link to copy it to your clipboard.
  4. Share it anywhere!

Beta feature: Sending a multilingual survey by email invitation is only available to some customers at this time.

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 respondent selected.

When you export responses, the question and answer text are in your default survey language. If you want to see responses based on what language people took the survey in, you can filter by language.

To see which language each respondent used to take the survey view the Individual Responses section, or export All Responses Data in XLS or SPSS format.