9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN03 Biographical Perspectives on European Societies

2009-09-03 15:30:00 2009-09-03 17:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 15:30 - 17:00 The Language(s) of Europe: Issues of Meaning and Translation in European Biographical Research Building II, C2.02

The Challenge of Translation and Analysis in Biographical Research

The 9 th ESA Conference in Lisbon
September 2 nd ? 5 th 2009
European Society or European Societies

Research Network 3: Biographical Perspectives on European Societies
Abstract for Session 4: The Language(s) of Europe: Issues of Meaning and Translation in European Biographical Research.

The Challenge of Translation and Analysis in Biographical Research
(from Angela Pilch Ortega)

Based on the experience of different kind of empirical studies (in Austria as well as outside from Europe) the paper will focus on the challenge and problematic of translation of narrative material in biographical research.

There are two challenging aspects of translation of biographical data which I would like to discuss:
The first methodological aspect will focus on the question how narrative life stories can be translated and which kind of criteria should be considered. The process of translation can be identified as a first step of interpretation and is connected with the transaction of acquirement oscillating between formal criteria of language (grammar) and the hermeneutic knowledge of the interviewee (meaning her/his personal capability, styles of speech and the collective schemes of interpretation).

The second aspect I find challenging and enriching is that some of my interviewees have narrated their life stories in a second language. How can researchers handle narrative material, which is not given in the mother tongue? Arising from the methodological implication above my theses to bring forward to discussion is that it is vital to consider for analysis that the mother tongue structure will influence the second language narrative strongly. That means the research will have to deal with the interviewee?s mother tongue as well.

In my paper presentation I would like to show examples of narrative interview data referring exactly these aspects.