Communication between an interviewer and interviewee is complex. Academic literature emphasises the challenge of language barriers, and this indeed was something which impacted each and every one of us, in more ways than we could imagine.
During our second interview a translator was used, a fellow student of our participant. To begin, we strongly felt that the tool of a translator would benefit the research process, helping the development of conversation and potentially enable us to build a better rapport. Nevertheless, it was only once the interview was completed and on reviewing the results that we became aware of the impact of a third-party member in the room. The rewording of reworded questions was an issue. Original questions were rephrased twice, once by the interviewer and then by the translator. This inevitably influenced the answers we received, unable to understand the Malayalam language it is unsure of the severity of this impact. Not only did the translator reword questions, but small conversations were had in-between questions, prompting answers to be given in a certain way or potentially completely unrelated and therefore not keeping on track of the task.
The use of a translator impacted the level of quality of our qualitative research, yet the interview would not have gone ahead without this third-party member being present. For future research, a genuine translator ought to be used, or if this is not possible a better selection of candidate from the group of people being studied, not merely a friend of the participant.
by Lauren Adams