Open Journal Systems

Handling translations of data for qualitative research

Uswatun Qoyyimah

Article ID: 1515
Vol 5, Issue 1, 2023, Article identifier:1-12

VIEWS - 153 (Abstract) 64 (PDF)


Qualitative research conducted in a non-English speaking setting requires the researchers to prepare and present translations of data, and then to report on the project in English to reach a global audience. This paper considers the process and ethical considerations involved in such an invisible methodological phase. This includes activities undertaken before data analysis and at the point of data presentation in order to convey participants’ original meanings and fulfil translation ethics. It focuses on educational research using the constructivist-interpretive paradigm on the grounds that its knowledge construction process involves different parties and demands both researchers and the researched to co-construct knowledge. Therefore, researchers in this paradigm might encounter dilemmas around translating data generated from interviews with non-English speaking participants. This paper offers strategies to address translation dilemmas for bilingual researchers based on the existing literature and own experience.


ethical translation; bilingual researcher; constructivist-interpretive paradigm; qualitative research

Full Text:


Included Database


Bassnett S (2013) Translation. New York: Routledge.

Bazzul J (2018) Ethics, subjectivity, and sociomaterial assemblages: Two important directions and methodological tensions. Studies in Philosophy and Education 37(5): 467–480. DOI: 10.1007/s11217-018-9605-8

DeCino DA and Waalkes PL (2019) Aligning epistemology with member checks. International Journal of Research & Method in Education 42(4): 374–384. DOI: 10.1080/1743727X.2018.1492535

Deganutti M (2022) Literary multilingualism: Exploring latent practices. Textual Practice 1–20. DOI: 10.1080/0950236X.2022.2150678

Denzin NK and Lincoln YS (2011) Introduction: The discipline and practice of qualitative research. In: Denzin NK and Lincoln YS (eds.) The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research (4th edn). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, Inc., pp.1–20.

Doyle MS (2012) Theoretical foundations for translation pedagogy: Descriptive, prescriptive, and speculative (in defense of the “good Utopian”). ADFL Bulletin 42(1): 43–48.

Goerman P, Meyers M, Kephart K, and O’Brien A (2021) The relevance of survey translation and data quality in leadership studies. In: Tolstikov-Mast Y, Bieri F, and Walker JL (eds.) Handbook of International and Cross-Cultural Leadership Research Processes: Perspectives, Practice, Instruction. New York: Routledge.

Halliday MAK (2001) Towards a theory of good translation. In: Steiner E and Yallop C (eds.), Exploring Translation and Multilingual Text Production: Beyond Content. New York: Mouton De Gruyter, pp.13–18.

Hammersley M (2007) The issue of quality in qualitative research. International Journal of Research & Method in Education 30(3): 287–305. DOI: 10.1080/17437270701614782

Harvey L (2015) Beyond member-checking: A dialogic approach to the research interview. International Journal of Research & Method in Education 38(1): 23–38. DOI: 10.1080/1743727X.2014.914487

Hawley S and Potter J (2022) Can a research space be a third space? Methodology and hierarchies in participatory literacy research. In: Lee C, Bailey C, Burnett C, and Rowsell J (eds.) Unsettling Literacies. Cultural Studies and Transdisciplinarity in Education, vol 15. Singapore: Springer, pp.19–31.

Hatch JA (2002) Doing Qualitative Research in Education Settings. New York: State University of New York Press.

Hodges P (2016) The application of Berman’s Theory as a basis for target text evaluation. The AALITRA Review (11): 48–59.

Holloway I and Biley FC (2011) Being a qualitative researcher. Qualitative Health Research 21(7): 968–975. DOI: 10.1177/1049732310395

Holloway I and Todres L (2003) The status of method: Flexibility, consistency and coherence. Qualitative Research 3(3): 345–357. DOI: 10.1177/1468794103033

Jagosh J and Bourdeau DJ (2009) Lost and found in translation: An ecological approach to bilingual research methodology. International Journal of Qualitative Methods 8(2): 102–114.

Jansen H (2019) I’m a translator and I’m proud: How literary translators view authors and authorship. Perspectives 27(5): 675–688. DOI: 10.1080/0907676X.2018.1530268

Johnson RB and Christensen L (2019) Educational Research: Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Approaches. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.

Larkin P and Dierckx de Casterlé B (2007) Multilingual translation issues in qualitative research: Reflections on a metaphorical process. Qualitative Health Research 17(4): 468–476. DOI: 10.1177/1049732307299258

Mandal PC (2018) Translation in qualitative studies: Evaluation criteria and equivalence. The Qualitative Report 23(10): 2529–2537.

Mills JP, Gearity B, Kuklick C, and Bible J (2022) Making Foucault coach: Turning post-structural assumptions into coaching praxis. Sports Coaching Review 11(2): 1–21. DOI: 10.1080/21640629.2022.2057696

Morse JM, Barrett M, Mayan M, et al. (2002) Verification strategies for establishing reliability and validity in qualitative research. International Journal of Qualitative Methods 1(2): 13–22.

Newmark P (1988) A Textbook of Translation. New York: Prentice Hall.

Ozolins U (2009) Back translation as a means of giving translators a voice. The International Journal of Translation & Interpreting Research 1(2): 1–13.

Rosile GA, Boje DM, Herder RA, and Sanchez M (2021) The Coalition of Immokalee Workers uses ensemble storytelling processes to overcome enslavement in corporate supply chains. Business & Society 60(2): 376–414. DOI: 10.1177/0007650320930416

Spivak G (2012) Outside in the Teaching Machine. Oxon: Routledge.

Spivak G and Arteaga A (1996) Bonding in difference: Interview with Alfred Arteaga. In: Landry D, Spivak GC, and Maclean G (eds.) The Spivak Reader: Selected Works of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. London: Routledge.

St. Pierre EA (1997) Methodology in the fold and the irruption of transgressive data. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education 10(2): 175–189. DOI: 10.1080/095183997237278

Sutrisno A, Nguyen NT, and Tangen D (2014) Incorporating translation in qualitative studies: Two case studies in education. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education 27(10): 1337–1353. DOI: 10.1080/09518398.2013.837211

Temple B and Young A (2004) Qualitative research and translation dilemmas. Qualitative Research 4(2): 161–178. DOI: 10.1177/1468794104044430

Tymozcko M (2006) Translation: Ethics, ideology and action. Massachusetts Review 47(3): 442–461.

Venutti L (1995) The Translators’ Invisibility. A History of Translation. London: Routledge.

(153 Abstract Views, 64 PDF Downloads)


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2023 Uswatun Qoyyimah