Interpreting and representing non-English language data in discourse studies
Organised by: Agnieszka Kielkiewicz-Janowiak and Magdalena Zabielska
This session will be concerned with representing (and thus making accessible to international audiences) data from languages other than English for the purposes of discourse studies. Scholars in international debates are curious to compare – even if not explicitly – the specific findings about how different languages are used for communication, identity construction, relationship building but also expressing emotions, perpetuating and subverting ideologies, doing politics.
Key researchers have emphasised the need to work on the original data, that is data in the language in which they were produced and collected for analysis (e.g. Sarangi 2010). Nikander and Egberts have called for setting up “guidelines on how data are translated, glossed and/or transliterated in an accessible yet precise fashion”, so that the “analytic transparency is secured” (Nikander and Egberts IPrA2015 panel description).
Discourse analysts have often questioned the possibility of capturing details of discursive form and function in translation (e.g. Temple 2005; Temple et al. 2006) and trascription (Green at al. 1997, Roberts 1997, Bucholtz 2000). In conversation analysis questions have been asked whether “conversational actions such as “asking questions” or “giving directives” [are] present in every culture, or are these culture-specific categories based on English (…)” (Dingemanse and Floyd 2014: 447). Ethnographic studies suggest that not everything in (conversational) data is cross-culturally comparable (see Moerman 1988; Simon 1996: 137-138) and looking closely at original language data is a necessity. Additionally, the question has been posed about how much background ethnographic knowledge is required of both researchers and audience members to make sense of the data in its original contexts.
Many cross-cultural studies (e.g. on migrants) often rely on data from speakers who are not fluent in the dominant language of the community (and of the research context). Dealing with the resulting cross-language material involves the help of translators and researchers familiar with minority languages, and relies on their transmission and/or glossing of the primary data for analysis: Temple et al. (2006) argue that the transmitted data should in fact be treated as secondary rather than primary.
Examples of issues to be addressed by prospective participants include:
transcribing non-English language texts for analysis
translation and/or glossing of non-English language texts for presentation of analysis
representing language contact phenomena (code-switching, borrowing) in the data
representing conversational data
issues in researching highly culture specific data and idiosyncratic communities (intimacy and/or socially sensitive topics, specialised registers, etc.)
representing multilingual communication in computer-mediated contexts
best practices and conventions in non-English data transcription and translation
challenges in dealing with non-English interactional data
We hope this session will be relevant to researchers (and their audiences!) – linguists, social scientists, translators, etc. – from an array of language backgrounds, who study narratives, conversations, institutional texts, and their translation and transcription. We intend to debate and work towards a consensus on how original language data should be represented and analysed to extend researchers’ access to diverse types of data and their understanding of specific human communicative practices.
Bibliography and references
Bucholtz, Mary. 2000. “The politics of transcription”, Journal of Pragmatics 32: 1439-1465.
Dingemanse, Mark and Simeon Floyd. 2014. “Conversation across cultures”, in N. J. Enfield, Paul Kockelman and Jack Sidnell (eds.), Cambridge handbook of linguistic anthropology . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 434-464.
Egbert, Maria, Mamiko Yufu and Fumiya Hirataka. 2016. “An investigation of how 100 articles in the Journal of Pragmatics treat transcripts of English and non-English languages ” , Journal of Pragmatics 94: 98-111.
Green, Judith, Maria Franquiz and Carol Dixon. 1997. “The myth of the objective transcript: Transcribing as a situated act”, TESOL Quarterly 31, 1: 172-176.
McHoul, Alec and Mark Rapley. 2005. “Re-presenting culture and the self: (dis)agreeing in theory and practice”, Theory and Psychology 15, 4: 431-447.
Moerman, Michael. 1988. Talking culture: Ethnography and conversation analysis . Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Nikander, Pirjo. 2008. “Working with transcripts and translated data”, Qualitative Research in Psychology 5, 3: 225-231.
Nikander, Pirjo and Maria Egberts. 2015. Gl ossing and translating non-English data in conversation analysis. (panel description at: http://ipra.ua.ac.be/main.aspx?c=.CONFERENCE14&n=1476 ).
Roberts, Celia. 1997. “The politics of transcription. Transcribing talk: issues of representation”, TESOL Quarterly 31, 1: 167-172.
Sarangi, Srikant. 2010. “Practising discourse analysis in healthcare settings”, in: Ivy Bourgeault, Robert Dingwall and Ray de Vries (eds.), The SAGE handbook of qualitative methods in health research. London: SAGE Publications, 397-417.
Schegloff, Emanuel A. 1997. “Whose text? Whose context?”, Discourse and Society 8: 165-187.
Simon, Sherry. 1996. Gender in translation: Cultural identity and the politics of transmission . London: Routledge.
Temple, Bogusia. 2005. “Nice and tidy: Translation and representation”, Sociological Research Online 10, 2. (http://www.socresonline.org.uk/10/2/temple.html) (date of access: 15th Jan. 2016).
Temple, Bogusia, Rosalind Edwards and Claire Alexander. 2006. “Grasping at context: Cross language qualitative research as secondary qualitative data analysis. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research 7, 4. (http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/176/393) (date of access: 15th Jan. 2016).
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We are looking forward to seeing you in Belfast next year!