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Lost in translation? Cross-language thematic analysis in tourism and hospitality research

Esfehani, Minoo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7955-4713 and Walters, Trudie (2018) Lost in translation? Cross-language thematic analysis in tourism and hospitality research. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 30 (11). pp. 3158-3174.

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Tourism and hospitality research is frequently cross language in nature; yet, English is the most used language to disseminate research findings. The use of thematic analysis is increasing; yet, critical discussions of the implications of the timing of translation when applying this method are rare. The purpose of this study is to present a model for bilingual researchers undertaking qualitative studies in their mother language who are reliant on their own language skills to translate and overcome language differences, and who are using thematic analysis.

Thematic analysis is a six-phase iterative analysis process during which the main themes are identified and a network of related themes is constructed to facilitate the interpretation of the material. The model is illustrated through reference to a research project carried out by the first author on the role and manifestation of intangible cultural heritage in tourism in protected areas in Iran.

The model introduces translation as an internal procedure within thematic analysis, situating it between the second and third phases when the codes are being consolidated into basic themes. Translation is viewed as a part of the iterative process of thematic analysis.

This model is the first to provide bilingual cross-language researchers with a practical and epistemologically, methodologically and ethically sound rationale for the timing of translation when using thematic analysis. While it was developed on a tourism case study, the authors believe it is applicable to research in other disciplines where cross-language qualitative analysis is used.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: 0.1108/ijchm-10-2017-0701
School/Department: York Business School
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/10266

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