Interpreter-Mediation in Qualitative Interviews: About the Requirements and Effects

  • Gwendolin Lauterbach Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung
Keywords: interpreter, foreign language communication, conversational dynamics, qualitative interviews, expert interviews, content analysis, ethnographic conversation analysis, empirical findings, guidelines


Little attention has been paid to interpreter-mediated settings in qualitative social research, especially in qualitative interviews, although they introduce challenges to studies and the participants. Interviewers and interviewees are faced with the questions of how to adequately interact with an interpreter, to define the interpreter's role, to analyze the interviews and to ensure the quality of the research findings. Methodological guidance is rare and usually only applies to related fields. Based on expert interviews with researchers and interpreters, experiences with interpreter-mediated interviews are illustrated and guidelines are extracted. Moreover, conversation analysis of recorded interview sequences gives an insight into the interactional dynamics between originals and translations produced and shows how interpreters influence the interview process.



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Author Biography

Gwendolin Lauterbach, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung

Gwendolin LAUTERBACH (Dr. phil.) hat Wirtschaftssinologie an der Westsächsischen Hochschule Zwickau studiert und im Fach Interkulturelle Kommunikation in Kooperation mit der Technischen Universität Chemnitz promoviert. Ihre Forschungsschwerpunkte liegen in den Bereichen Interkulturelle Kommunikation sowie Asien (insbesondere China und Zentralasien).

How to Cite
Lauterbach, G. (2014). Interpreter-Mediation in Qualitative Interviews: About the Requirements and Effects. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 15(2).
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