Paper about qualitative research transcription as translation

I wrote this paper to coincide with a seminar I gave at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH) in February 2009. It looks at the process of transcription of qualitative research interviews as an act of translation.

“Like any translation, transcription is an act of negotiation. Errors, interpretations and decisions made in transcribing form part of the data to be analysed. The paper explores some current issues in translation studies, and applies them to qualitative research transcribing, touching on concerns relevant to both social scientists and translators: power, situatedness, and the non-transparency of language. I argue that in drawing on important theoretical work being done in translation studies, social scientists can make more conscious decisions about how they interpret and represent their data, and ultimately can conduct better research.”

I would welcome your comments on this draft.

Was that infinity or affinity?: qualitative research transcription as translation , Jen Ross, January 2009

3 thoughts on “Paper about qualitative research transcription as translation”

  1. Thanks Jen. Another thought-provoking article. If you have a moment, check out my blog. I think I may have found the least-qualitative research student at my university.

  2. Thanks, M-H! And wow, you sure did! Although, as you point out, there is something quite wonky about preferring to rely on interviews (even with the lie detector) rather than do experiments on muscle mass or whatever.

    The mind boggles. 🙂

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