Timing of translation in cross-language qualitative research

Qual Health Res. 2015 Jan;25(1):134-44. doi: 10.1177/1049732314549603. Epub 2014 Sep 4.


Although there is increased understanding of language barriers in cross-language studies, the point at which language transformation processes are applied in research is inconsistently reported, or treated as a minor issue. Differences in translation timeframes raise methodological issues related to the material to be translated, as well as for the process of data analysis and interpretation. In this article we address methodological issues related to the timing of translation from Portuguese to English in two international cross-language collaborative research studies involving researchers from Brazil, Canada, and the United States. One study entailed late-phase translation of a research report, whereas the other study involved early phase translation of interview data. The timing of translation in interaction with the object of translation should be considered, in addition to the language, cultural, subject matter, and methodological competencies of research team members.

Keywords: health care; language / linguistics; research, cross-cultural; research, cross-language; research, qualitative; translation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Communication Barriers*
  • Humans
  • Language*
  • Qualitative Research*
  • Research Design / standards*
  • Time Factors
  • Translating*