Translators, trust and truth
Cross-cultural issues in sustainable tourism researchGuy Jobbins
Aims of the chapter
|• To highlight some issues relevant to working in cross-cultural environments. |
|• To outline methods of managing translators in interview situations. |
|• To demonstrate problems of evaluating rapport in interviews. |
|• To demonstrate the utility of reflexivity in evaluating the quality of responses. |
This chapter is based on my involvement in the MECO project, a multidisciplinary and multinational research programme which considered the integrated sustainable management of Mediterranean sandy beaches. My role on the project was to analyse social, economic and institutional aspects of human uses of beaches and nearby coastlands and waters in Morocco and Tunisia. Of particular interest to the project was the establishment of guidelines for tourism development and management at the study sites, with reference to existing resource uses and practises. This meant that I was looking at the dynamics between a range of sectors including tourism, conservation and agriculture, and between the resource use and management regimes governing each sector. The political sensitivities of this work, touching on governmental decision-making processes, public accountability and, sometimes, illegality, meant that accurate information was difficult to obtain. This chapter reflects on my experiences in establishing dialogue with a wide range of stakeholders, and the problems of using translators and negotiating meaning across barriers of language and culture.
For someone like myself, with a background in ecosystem sciences, conducting qualitative research is an unnerving experience. Quantitative data offer a feeling of certainty, rightly or not, that I do not find in qualitative data. When first learning about qualitative research for the MECO project, I was naively horrified by the potential problems in ascribing
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Qualitative Research in Tourism: Ontologies, Epistemologies and Methodologies.
Contributors: Jenny Phillimore - Editor, Lisa Goodson - Editor.
Place of publication: New York.
Publication year: 2004.
Page number: 311.
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