Transcription Query?


Hi, I am in the middle of my qualitative research. The interviews are not being conducted in my native language (English). Attempting to transcribe the audio would be a near impossible (or never-ending task) so I plan to get them transcribed (and I can then do the translation). My supervisor is fine with this. My query is around ethics (sending confidential information to a third party). Does anyone know the steps I need to take here? Does I need official approval? Is it possible to encrypt a file when I send it etc and how do I ensure the files are later deleted? If anyone has any experience of this I would be most grateful. Thank you!


Who do you plan to send the files to? It absolutely needs to be cleared by your university ethics committee unless the participants actually agreed to have their data seen/listened to beyond the research team. I don't know if you're in the UK, but if so, look up the Data Protection Act - there should be a summary. Also, maybe your ethics committee can advise. Maybe it is OK as long as the participants cannot be identified. It is personal data though, so if it wasn't stated on the participant information sheet/consent form...


I agree that you absolutely need to get ethics clearing from your university about this. However, I am a bit confused about your reasons for not transcribing - surely if you are doing the translation, you understand the language so could transcribe it? I found transcription hard work but ultimately rewarding - so much comes out of the transcription process itself that I couldn't imagine letting someone else do it, although I suppose it also depends on the type of analysis you are going to use it for.