This worksheet explains how to export a file to send to an external translator and re-import the translated text to create a bilingual survey. The example uses a translation from English to Spanish.


There are several ways of translating surveys in Snap.

  • You can write the translation yourself (create a new language edition, and type in the translation)
  • You can use an external translator (create a text file to be translated, and import the translated file)
  • You can use pre-translated questions (create all the language editions that you need, and add a question that already has translations)
  • Get Snap to automatically translate all the questions it recognises using reference questions (open the reference window and then use the Translation Wizard).

If you use standard questions, you can add them to a multi-lingual SurveyPak, and then re-use them in other surveys, either by adding them directly to a multi-lingual questionnaire, or using the automatic translation facility.

Summary of steps

Step 1: Exporting the original version of your survey
Step 2: Sending the file to the translator
Step 3: Importing the new translated file

Step 1: Exporting the original version of your survey

This worksheet assumes that you have created your questionnaire in one language before you start.

  1. Click Questionnaire window: design mode or press [Ctrl] + [Q] to see the questionnaire window.
  2. Select File|Translation to display the Translation Wizard dialog.
  3. Select Prepare External Translation from the Action menu.

    Translation wizard first page drop-down

  4. Click [Next]. Select Reference file only to create a list of the phrases that need translating.

    Export translation file only

    If you already have translated some of the questions, export to a Reference with a matched translation. This creates two files, one with the list of text to be translated, and one with the list of texts that have been translated (with gaps for untranslated text).

  5. Make a note of the File name you use so you can find it later. Check the Omit repeated content box to leave out phrases that are used in multiple places (for example, ratings questions might all have the same possible answers).
  6. Click [Start] to generate your file. When the export has completed, you will be given a brief report.

    Translation report: export successful

    If you want to keep a copy of the report, click [Send To] to save it to a file.

  7. Click [OK] to clear the window.

Step 2: Sending the file to the translator

You now have a text file that you can send to your translator. They need to produce a translated file that matches the file that the translation wizard has produced. It needs to have the same number of lines and the same instructions to the translation wizard. These should not be translated. It also needs to be a plain text file (not a Word document).

The instructions are used to describe the question, and are all in capitals. For example, a question might appear in the file like this

QUESTION 6 (ref:Q3)
Which of the following best describes your current work status?
Current work status
Employee in full-time job (30 hours or more per week)
Employee in part-time job (less than 30 hours per week)
Self-employed - full or part time
Government-supported training
Unemployed and available for work
Wholly retired from work
Full-time education at school, college or university
Looking after home/family
Permanently sick/disabled
Doing something else

You would ask your translator to translate the phrases between the lines in capitals. Their translation would look something like this.

QUESTION 6 (ref:Q3)
¿Cuál de las siguientes opciones describe mejor su empleo actual?
Empleo actual
Empleado a jornada completa (30 horas o más a la semana)
Empleado a jornada parcial (menos de 30 horas a la semana)
Autónomo - a jornada completa o parcial
En formación ocupacional
En paro - buscando trabajo
Estudiante en Universidad o Colegio
Responsable de las labores del hogar
Incapacidad permanente

The generated translation file starts with a set of notes for the translator

  • please translate between ‘START’ and ‘END’
  • please do not add or remove lines
  • Un-translatable questions may be removed provided the declaration line is left (and only this line)

{The declaration line is the line containing the reference name eg ‘(ref:V101)’}

  • Please only place comments or warnings about a question at the end of the declaration line, following the ‘(ref:Vn)’

Step 3: Importing the new translated file

Before you import the translation, check the text file that you have received. Ensure that it has the same number of lines as the original, and all the lines in capitals are the same as in the original file.

You will need the original exported file as well as the translated file.

  1. Open the questionnaire window for your survey. The example shows a survey that has only one language. You are going to create a new language edition when you import the translated file.

    QW: basiic survey for translation

  2. Select File|Translation to display the Translation Wizard dialog.
  3. Select Apply External Translation from the Action menu.

    Translation wizard first page drop-down

  4. Click [Next].
  5. Select the language you wrote the questionnaire in as your Reference Language (this is English in our English to Spanish example).

    Translation wizard - from reference

  6. Set the File name for the Reference Language to the file that you exported from the survey in Step 1.
  7. Select Add Language as the translation language. This will add a new language edition to your questionnaire. (If you already have the correct language in your questionnaire, just select it in the list.)

    Translation wizard - from reference

  8. The Define Language dialog appears. Set the language name in the Name list and click [OK].

    Translation wizard - from reference

  9. Set the File name for the Translation language to the file you received from the translator.
  10. Click [Start].
  11. When the translation wizard finishes, you will see a report window.

    Translation report: export successful

    This shows the report on a question with numerals, where the numbers are the same in both languages.
    If you want to keep a copy of the report, click [Send To] to save it to a file.

  12. Click [OK] to clear the window.
  13. The translated language is added to your questionnaire. Click on the new tab to display it.
    Translation report: export successful


This worksheet has described how to export a survey for translation and import the translated file.

If you would like to find out how to add multiple language versions of a question, see Adding a new question to your survey in multiple languages.

If you would like to find out more about automatic translation, see the topic Translating existing questions using the automatic translation.

For more information about running a survey in multiple languages, see the worksheet Creating a new language edition of your questionnaire.

If there is a topic you would like a worksheet on, email to