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Was that Infinity or Affinity? Applying Insights from Translation Studies to Qualitative Research Transcription

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Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Pages (from-to)1-16
JournalForum: Qualitative Social Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2010


Despite a small but compelling body of literature arguing that transcription represents a key moment of choice and the exercise of power in the research process, many qualitative researchers appear to believe (or at least proceed as if they believe) that transcription is relatively unproblematic. Translation studies and its engagement with visibility, power, authenticity and fidelity has a lot to offer to qualitative researchers working critically with transcription theory and practice. This paper explores the translation studies theories of equivalence, overt and covert translation, foreignisation and domestication, and the remainder, and demonstrates some fertile connections between transcription and translation. These connections help us to think about some broader political and cultural issues in relation to transcription and academic discourse, the complexity of equivalence and the central role of the situated transcriber.

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