Another person in the room: using interpreters during interviews with immigrant workers

Agnieszka Kosny, Ellen MacEachen, Marni Lifshen, Peter Matthew Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Cross-language research poses many challenges. When researchers and participants do not speak the same language, meanings expressed by participants might not be understood in the same way by researchers, and the richness of participants experiences might be lost. This can lead to the misrepresentation and silencing of issues faced by these participants, especially newcomers. In this article, we critically examine our experience conducting qualitative interviews with injured immigrant workers with the help of professional interpreters. Using examples from our field notes and transcripts, we outline some of the key difficulties we faced: varying styles of interpretation, breeches of interview conventions, and miscommunications with interpreters. We discuss how these issues affected our study design, rapport with participants and, ultimately, data quality. We end with a discussion of how to improve cross-language and cross-cultural research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)837 - 845
Number of pages9
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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