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Multilingual Translation Issues In Qualitative Research

P. Larkin, B. Dierckx de Casterlé, P. Schotsmans
Published 2007 · Medicine, Sociology

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Focus on the translation and validation of measurement instruments has left a gap in the discussion on how to construct multilingual qualitative tools, such as interviews. Traditional methods of forward and backward translation have been criticized for weak conceptual equivalence, a crucial issue when multiple language interview methods are used.Through a creative arts metaphor of weaving, the authors describe an alternative process of multicentric translation used in the development of an interview guide designed to explore the impact of transition on palliative care patients in six European countries. Four identified core constructs illuminate this multicentric process: Cohesion, Congruence, Clarity, and Courtesy. Mutual reciprocity between researcher and translator offers greater possibility for construction of nuance and meaning, particularly where cultural parameters influence the collection and meaning of sensitive data from vulnerable populations. The translator therefore becomes a collaborator in the research process, which strengthens the rigor of language-based inquiry.
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