9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN20 Qualitative Methods

2009-09-04 13:30:00 2009-09-04 15:00:00 Friday, 4 September 13:30 - 15:00 Cross Cultural Research: Challenges and Hurdles Building II, C2.01

Detour towards knowledge - use of interpreter in research

When sociologists decide to do research in a different culture, a different country and in a different continent than the one they grew up in, reflection is needed as to what kind of knowledge this can provide. Not only is language a barrier, but the cultural and societal circumstances will for a large part be unfamiliar. How do we get access to the phenomenon we want to study and how do we understand their cultural significance and the place they occupy in the society? This is of course also the classical challenge of social anthropology.

An important goal with this paper is to review the scholarly literature and debate related to use of interpreters in research, as well as to reflect upon what distinguishes this kind of research from challenges facing interview research in general as well as to identify the commonalities. Drawing on our own research experiences we will identify the interpreter?s different roles and dilemmas and discuss them in relation to the role of key informant. Finally we will analyse the particular challenges, or the detour, dependency on interpreters involve.