Translation in Qualitative Methods

Gawlewicz, Anna (2019). Translation in Qualitative Methods. In: Atkinson, PA; Delamont, S; Williams, R; Cernat, A and Sakshaug, J eds. SAGE Research Methods Foundations: an Encyclopedia. SAGE Publications.




Translation is a key epistemological and methodological issue that raises significant considerations related to the validity of qualitative research and the production of knowledge. Understanding how it shapes the research process is of central importance in an era of researchers’ global mobility and increasing involvement in cross-cultural and/or multilingual research. Translation is a complex issue because it embraces different actions performed by different agents and takes place at different stages of the research process. It is never “objective” or “neutral” and is closely related to the translator’s positionality. It poses a number of ethical issues linked to representation, distortion of meaning, and linguistic and cultural competence. Yet, it tends to be given inadequate attention and remains rarely discussed, except within its dedicated fields, notably translation ...

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