Lack of a common language between researcher and participants, especially when participants speak different languages, complicates and makes the qualitative research process more difficult. Since language is the vehicle through which meaning is eventually communicated to the reader, interpretation and translation are essential to qualitative research. The researcher must adopt the principal tenets of cross language research to extrapolate the knowledge to all the spheres for a methodologically reliable and valid framework that is culturally sensitive in this situation. The purpose of the article is to acquaint qualitative researchers, including physician-researchers, with the fundamentals of qualitative study being carried out in various languages for rigorous and reliable results. This has been amply presented in the article with practical application of fundamentals from planning to publication. These fundamentals are reflexivity, positionality, empathy, and conceptual equivalence. These have been systematically applied to all the aspects of the research process, starting from creation of the informed consent documents and interview guide, and continuing through the interview process, including interpretation, translation, analysis of data and publication. An effort has also been made to provide logical solutions for the impediments likely to be faced in the process. A qualitative practitioner undertaking multi-lingual, cross-cultural research will gain broadly from this article and develop a transparent methodology.


multilingual, interpreter, translator, fundamentals, reflexivity, positionality, sensitivity, qualitative research

Author Bio(s)

Shweta Jain Verma, BDS, M.Sc. Clinical Research (Orchid ID: 0000-0002-9824-9781), is the corresponding author for the article. She is pursuing PhD in Clinical Research and is working as Project Manager for the Indian Stroke Clinical Trial (INSTRuCT) Network which has 50 hospitals in the network. The network is sponsored by the Indian Council of Medical Research. The topic of her PhD program is Process evaluation of Secondary prevention by structured semi-interactive stroke prevention package in India (SPRINT INDIA) trial which is a mixed methods study with interviews conducted in eleven Indian languages. Please direct correspondence to sjvmv1947@gmail.com.

Puja Gulati, PhD (Orchid ID: 0000-0001-7921-4754), is the principal at the School of Pharmacy at Desh Bhagat University, Mandi Gobindgarh, Punjab. She is the supervisor for Dr. Shweta Jain Verma in her PhD program.

Vishav K. Dhiman, B.Pharm (Orchid ID: 0000-0001-9377-0423), is a clinical researcher at the Department of Neurology, Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana.

Jeyaraj Durai Pandian, DM, FNAMS (Orchid ID: 0000-0003-0028-1968), is the principal and professor of Neurology at Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, Punjab, India. He is the vice president of the World Stroke Organisation, and Immediate Past President of the Indian Stroke Association. He is the co-supervisor for Dr. Shweta Jain Verma on her PhD program.

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Dr. Shweta jain Verma: 0000-0001- 7921-4754; Dr. Puja Gulati: 0000-0001- 7921-4754; Mr. Vishav Kumar Dhiman: 0000-0001-9377-0423; Dr. Jeyaraj Durai Pandian: 0000-0001- 7921-4754



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