Translation barriers in conducting qualitative research with Spanish speakers

Qual Health Res. 2008 Dec;18(12):1729-37. doi: 10.1177/1049732308325857.


Cross-cultural qualitative research is rare and challenging because of difficulties of collecting reliable and valid information when conducting research in a language other than the researcher's primary language. Although standards of rigor exist for the data collection, analysis, interpretation, and reporting of qualitative data, no such standards exist for translation of translinguistic qualitative research. Therefore, a new methodology modeled after Brislin's translation principles was utilized with 60 Latino participants experiencing side effects as a result of prostate cancer treatment. Interviews were conducted in Spanish, transcribed verbatim, and then translated by research staff. By adapting Brislin's process, a new methodology was developed that more accurately conveys the true meaning of the participant's experience, is more appropriate and meaningful, and opens doors to researchers interested in conducting research in a language other than their own, while at the same time ensuring the reliability and validity of study data.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • California
  • Communication Barriers*
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy
  • Qualitative Research*
  • Translating*