Some tips on how to go about it
To be clear, I’m only saying that UX researchers won’t be effective when doing UX research compared to if they were familiar with the cultural context. UX researchers can still flourish in an unfamiliar setting especially if they have other people who can help them in conducting the research.
Learn the language and culture
I do believe that this is the best way to become a more effective researcher. Most people don’t consider this as an option because it’s difficult and not worth their time. However, by learning the language, you’re not only becoming a more effective researcher, you’re also able to expand your knowledge and understanding of the industry itself.
You don’t need to learn the entire language, but just enough to understand it on a conversational level. There are many ways one can learn a language such as free websites, apps, and e-books. All you need is to be determined.
Pros: No need to depend on anyone, Long term solution
Cons: Takes time
Have someone else do the talking
Instead of doing the talking in the research, one can always be the one who creates the methodology and approach for the research itself. You may not be in the driver’s seat but you can also help in taking notes (when it comes to usability testing) and observe user behaviour.
It’s also important to keep recordings of the study so that people are able to refer to the session. People can also help out in understanding users better. It then becomes a team effort in getting significant, useful nuggets of information for everyone.
Pros: Can still get significant user insights, Owning other parts of the research
Cons: Needs other people to help out, Not doing the talking directly