Working with Transcriptions and Translated Data

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Transcribing talk originating from various interactional contexts into a written form is an integral part qualitative research practice. Transcripts are produced for particular analytic purposes and therefore range in detail, from broad verbatim transcripts in more content-oriented analysis to extremely refined and detailed transcriptions on interaction-oriented analysis of naturally occurring data. Learning to master transcription skills, and solving the practical, technical and theoretical considerations and decisions that go into the process of producing good quality transcripts is something that both students, teachers of qualitative methods and researchers within the field equally struggle with. Discussion on transcription practice is all the more important given that qualitative research sees transcripts as a central means of securing the validity and guaranteeing the publicly verifiable, transparent and cumulative nature of its claims and findings (e.g., Hutchby & Wooffitt, 1998; Peräkylä, 1997; Seale, 1999).

This paper offers a concise review on working with and producing ‘good quality
transcripts.’ In addition and perhaps more importantly, it discusses the often-neglected question of translating data from another language for (typically) an English speaking academic audience and looks at the range of choices scholars make when presenting their work. Opening the question of transcription and the art of translation to a wider and more detailed discussion is crucial as qualitative research is increasingly conducted in an international environment. Students, scholars, and data travel across national boundaries and new language areas join in. This means that guidelines on how data are translated in an accessible yet precise fashion, how data should ideally be presented to the reading audience, and how analytic transparency is secured are in increasing demand.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-231
Number of pages6
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • data analysis; data translation; discourse analysis; transcription; translated data; validity


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