|January 25, 2012
Dr. Tererai Trent—Founder and Principle Evaluator, Tinogona Evaluation and Research Consulting
Debate continues on the value of evaluations performed by outsider evaluators in cross cultural settings. One view maintains that it does not matter as long as the individual is a professional evaluator, and if cultural competence is an issue, a local translator can be brought to the process. Others strongly believe the nuances in local cultures and often the subtleties in the language dialects are too often lost in translation to the outsider evaluator due to language barriers. Through a review of the literature and experience, the question shifts from ‘who has the right to evaluate’ to ‘what does it take for an outsider to evaluate in cross cultural contexts’? To gain insight into the question of credibility and validity of whether an outsider can possess the cultural competence required in a cross cultural context, my observations are based on Betty LaDuke, a renowned artist, who has gained international reputation for her murals, paintings, and sketches.