Session: Translation within International Qualitative Inquiry: Power, Positionality, and Creation of Meaning (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

66 Translation within International Qualitative Inquiry: Power, Positionality, and Creation of Meaning

Friday, January 18, 2019: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Continental Parlor 9, Ballroom Level (Hilton San Francisco)
Cluster: International Social Work & Global Issues (ISW&GI)
David S. Byers, Ph.D., Bryn Mawr College, Tamarah Moss, Ph.D., Howard University, Cindy Sousa, PhD, MSW, MPH, Bryn Mawr College, Odessa Gonzalez Benson, PhD, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and Altaf Husain, PhD, Howard University
Reflexive interpretation about meaning and power is a central imperative for qualitative research in any context but takes on particular salience in studies that cross linguistic barriers. Translation involves methodological, epistemological, and ontological questions and therefore entails continual examination of quality, ethics, and politics within the search for meaning. Rather than aim for consensus on a prescriptive, static set of ethical principles, our goal for this roundtable is to discuss processes of sustained, ethically-engaged knowledge creation, including attention to insider/outsider dynamics and transparency and accountability for our choices in translating and representing marginalized voices across languages.

Reflecting on research projects in Cote d'ivoire, the Netherlands, the United States, The Bahamas, and Palestine, we will explore challenges conducting research for English-language academic journals with participants/collaborators whose first languages are French, Nepali, Arabic, Turkish, and Dutch. Across these case studies, we will examine the politics and ethics of language and translation at different stages of inquiry: (a) identification of research questions and conceptualization and design of projects, (b) community engagement, recruitment, data collection, and transcription; (c) analysis and interpretation, and (d) dissemination of findings.

The first presenter will discuss issues of rapport-building among first-generation, Arabic, Turkish, and Dutch-speaking immigrants with minimal understanding of and exposure to the conduct of qualitative research. Presenter two will reflect on a study of Bhutanese refugees resettled in the U.S., and the dilemmas and difficult compromises involved in conceptualizing and designing research that relies on the perspectives of English speaking leaders to understand the experiences and interests of a Nepali speaking community. Presenter three will draw on research in Cote d'ivoire to discuss a process of "side-by-side" analysis of transcripts in English and French, and research in The Bahamas within English but across dialects, to explore insider/outsider dynamics as a Bahamian-American researcher. The fourth and fifth presenters will draw on two different studies in Palestine, focusing on their collaborations with Arabic/English translators and local research partners. These presenters will compare two processes of cross-language data collection in this context, issues of power and positionality as "outsider researchers" from the U.S., as well as dilemmas of translating and representing findings from Palestine for English-language academic journals.

Building on the conference theme, this roundtable will interrogate how translation can be a common context of rhetorical and symbolic violence through distortion, misrepresentation, and bias toward colonial perspectives, which can contribute to marginalization and re/production of violence. Audience members will be invited to join in discussions about challenges and ethical issues pertaining to translation in their own work, and about ways researchers can better engage research participants/collaborators in decisions about conceptual translations at each phase of inquiry.

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