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


  • Jen Ross University of Edinburgh




qualitative research, transcription, translation studies, visibility, power, foreignisation, domestication


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. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs100223


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Author Biography

Jen Ross, University of Edinburgh

Jen ROSS is an Associate Lecturer and PhD student in the School of Education at the University of Edinburgh, and is part of the Digital Cultures and Education research group (http://www.education.ed.ac.uk/dice/). Her background is in English Literature, and she has worked over the past five years on a number of online learning projects and academic programmes at the University, most recently on projects looking at online learning in museums, and student writing online. Her doctoral research looks into online reflective practices in higher education. She is particularly interested in issues of identity, authenticity and performativity online and in reflective practices, as well as in post-structuralist theories of language, knowledge and experience.




How to Cite

Ross, J. (2010). Was that Infinity or Affinity? Applying Insights from Translation Studies to Qualitative Research Transcription. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 11(2). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-11.2.1357