International public health research involving interpreters: a case study from Bangladesh

Emma Pitchforth, Edwin Van Teijlingen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    46 Citations (Scopus)
    3 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Background
    Cross-cultural and international research are important components of public health research, but the challenges of language barriers and working with interpreters are often overlooked, particularly in the case of qualitative research.

    Methods
    A case-study approach was used to explore experiences of working with an interpreter in Bangladesh as part of a research project investigating women's experiences of emergency obstetric care.

    The case study
    Data from the researcher's field notes provided evidence of experiences in working with an interpreter and show how the model of interviewing was adapted over time to give a more active role to the interpreter. The advantages of a more active role were increased rapport and "flow" in interviews. The disadvantages included reduced control from the researcher's perspective. Some tensions between the researcher and interpreter remained hard to overcome, irrespective of the model used. Independent transcription and translation of the interviews also raised questions around accuracy in translation.

    Conclusion
    The issues examined in this case study have broader implications for public health research. Further work is needed in three areas: 1) developing effective relationships with interpreters; 2) the impact of the interpreter on the research process; and 3) the accuracy of the translation and level of analysis needed in any specific public health research. Finally, this paper highlights the importance to authors of reflecting on the potential impact of translation and interpretation on the research process when disseminating their research.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number71
    Number of pages7
    JournalBMC Public Health
    Volume5
    Issue number71
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2005

    Fingerprint

    Bangladesh
    Public Health
    Research
    Research Personnel
    Interviews
    Communication Barriers
    Qualitative Research
    Emergency Medical Services
    Obstetrics

    Cite this

    International public health research involving interpreters : a case study from Bangladesh. / Pitchforth, Emma; Van Teijlingen, Edwin.

    In: BMC Public Health, Vol. 5, No. 71, 71, 28.06.2005.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Pitchforth, Emma ; Van Teijlingen, Edwin. / International public health research involving interpreters : a case study from Bangladesh. In: BMC Public Health. 2005 ; Vol. 5, No. 71.
    @article{bb6061cc5cfe48c0b26dde2aadba5aec,
    title = "International public health research involving interpreters: a case study from Bangladesh",
    abstract = "BackgroundCross-cultural and international research are important components of public health research, but the challenges of language barriers and working with interpreters are often overlooked, particularly in the case of qualitative research.MethodsA case-study approach was used to explore experiences of working with an interpreter in Bangladesh as part of a research project investigating women's experiences of emergency obstetric care.The case studyData from the researcher's field notes provided evidence of experiences in working with an interpreter and show how the model of interviewing was adapted over time to give a more active role to the interpreter. The advantages of a more active role were increased rapport and {"}flow{"} in interviews. The disadvantages included reduced control from the researcher's perspective. Some tensions between the researcher and interpreter remained hard to overcome, irrespective of the model used. Independent transcription and translation of the interviews also raised questions around accuracy in translation.ConclusionThe issues examined in this case study have broader implications for public health research. Further work is needed in three areas: 1) developing effective relationships with interpreters; 2) the impact of the interpreter on the research process; and 3) the accuracy of the translation and level of analysis needed in any specific public health research. Finally, this paper highlights the importance to authors of reflecting on the potential impact of translation and interpretation on the research process when disseminating their research.",
    author = "Emma Pitchforth and {Van Teijlingen}, Edwin",
    year = "2005",
    month = "6",
    day = "28",
    doi = "10.1186/1471-2458-5-71",
    language = "English",
    volume = "5",
    journal = "BMC Public Health",
    issn = "1471-2458",
    publisher = "BioMed Central",
    number = "71",

    }

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - International public health research involving interpreters

    T2 - a case study from Bangladesh

    AU - Pitchforth, Emma

    AU - Van Teijlingen, Edwin

    PY - 2005/6/28

    Y1 - 2005/6/28

    N2 - BackgroundCross-cultural and international research are important components of public health research, but the challenges of language barriers and working with interpreters are often overlooked, particularly in the case of qualitative research.MethodsA case-study approach was used to explore experiences of working with an interpreter in Bangladesh as part of a research project investigating women's experiences of emergency obstetric care.The case studyData from the researcher's field notes provided evidence of experiences in working with an interpreter and show how the model of interviewing was adapted over time to give a more active role to the interpreter. The advantages of a more active role were increased rapport and "flow" in interviews. The disadvantages included reduced control from the researcher's perspective. Some tensions between the researcher and interpreter remained hard to overcome, irrespective of the model used. Independent transcription and translation of the interviews also raised questions around accuracy in translation.ConclusionThe issues examined in this case study have broader implications for public health research. Further work is needed in three areas: 1) developing effective relationships with interpreters; 2) the impact of the interpreter on the research process; and 3) the accuracy of the translation and level of analysis needed in any specific public health research. Finally, this paper highlights the importance to authors of reflecting on the potential impact of translation and interpretation on the research process when disseminating their research.

    AB - BackgroundCross-cultural and international research are important components of public health research, but the challenges of language barriers and working with interpreters are often overlooked, particularly in the case of qualitative research.MethodsA case-study approach was used to explore experiences of working with an interpreter in Bangladesh as part of a research project investigating women's experiences of emergency obstetric care.The case studyData from the researcher's field notes provided evidence of experiences in working with an interpreter and show how the model of interviewing was adapted over time to give a more active role to the interpreter. The advantages of a more active role were increased rapport and "flow" in interviews. The disadvantages included reduced control from the researcher's perspective. Some tensions between the researcher and interpreter remained hard to overcome, irrespective of the model used. Independent transcription and translation of the interviews also raised questions around accuracy in translation.ConclusionThe issues examined in this case study have broader implications for public health research. Further work is needed in three areas: 1) developing effective relationships with interpreters; 2) the impact of the interpreter on the research process; and 3) the accuracy of the translation and level of analysis needed in any specific public health research. Finally, this paper highlights the importance to authors of reflecting on the potential impact of translation and interpretation on the research process when disseminating their research.

    U2 - 10.1186/1471-2458-5-71

    DO - 10.1186/1471-2458-5-71

    M3 - Article

    VL - 5

    JO - BMC Public Health

    JF - BMC Public Health

    SN - 1471-2458

    IS - 71

    M1 - 71

    ER -