With the technological advancements over the last decade I suppose nothing should surprise or amaze us anymore, but my mind was blown when I saw the Microsoft demonstration of an upcoming Skype feature at yesterday’s Code conference in California.

The new feature was real-time audio and text translation of an English speaker and a German speaker. So when the English speaker talked, the German speaker heard the sentence almost immediately in German with the translation also displayed at the bottom of the screen.

The implications for international market research are phenomenal. The idea that you could just sit at your desk and complete a depth interview or online group with non-English speakers without needing to speak their language is a real game changer. The cost and turnaround times will be absolutely shattered.

Yes there will still be the same cultural aspects to consider, and the value of ‘local’ knowledge will always remain high, but the market will be significantly impacted. Instead of translators and native language moderators / interviewers, will we just work collaboratively with a local ‘contextualiser’? After all, we’ll be able to talk to them as well even if we don’t speak their language!

International research

Let Gareth know what your thoughts are for the future of international research after this revelation from Microsoft on Twitter.