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Insights in Qualitative Research Methods: Pengfei Zhao, The Impossibility of Equivalence: Critical Theory & Translation in Qualitative Research
Duration: 60 minutes

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Join the session at least 15 minutes before the scheduled time. The session will be recorded and a link to it will be sent by email to all registrants.

Title: The Impossibility of Equivalence:Critical Theory and Translation in Qualitative Research
Abstract: Nowadays, more and more qualitative researchers work in multi-cultural and multi-lingual spaces. Accordingly, translation has been increasingly integrated into the qualitative research process. There are thus a series of methodological questions and considerations regarding translation that researchers need to address, such as the role of translators and their interaction with researchers, the meaning-making process in qualitative research and the corresponding theories that underlie the translation practice, the relationship between culture and languages, and the power structure that shapes the practice of translation. In this webinar, I put critical theory into conversation with translational studies to shed light on the current qualitative research practice. In particular, I suggest that many conversations about translation have been focusing on the efforts of achieving equivalence between the original text and the translated text in one way or another. Critical theory, especially critical reconstructive analysis empowers us to raise the provocative question: What if it is impossible to achieve such an equivalence? The impossibility of equivalence opens the door to interrogate meaning-making in the process of translation. Acknowledging the impossibility of equivalence, I offer a set of practical recommendations for qualitative researchers to consider while doing research using more than one language.

Apr 22, 2021 09:00 AM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Pengfei Zhao
Assistant Professor @University of Florida-College of Education
Pengfei Zhao is currently an Assistant Professor of Qualitative Methodology in Research and Evaluation Methodology Program at the University of Florida. She has an interdisciplinary background in inquiry methodology, sociology, and cultural studies. In her theoretical and methodological work, she draws from a wide spectrum of theories—from critical theories to contemporary pragmatism, feminism, and post-colonial studies—to formulate a praxis- and social justice-oriented qualitative research methodology. In her empirical work, she primarily uses ethnographic, narrative, and action research approaches to address issues of universal significance, such as disadvantaged youth’s coming of age experience, student-centered teaching and learning, and sexuality education.