Looking back: A study of (ad-hoc) family interpreters

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    Child-brokering (MediAzioni 2010) lies on the continuum of ad-hoc translation/interpreting. Using various field-specific lenses, from educational linguistics, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, communication, and translation/interpreting studies, the case of bilingual youngsters and chil- dren who have interpreted for their families and immediate communities has been the focus of different studies (e.g. Bialystock & Hakuta 1999; Borrero 2006; Cline, Crafter and Prokopiou; Orellana 2003, Valdés, Chavez and Angelelli et al. 2000, Valdés, Chavez, Angelelli 2003) with different linguistic groups of various ages in different parts of the world. Focusing on Latinos who live on the US/ Mexico border and using a mixed paradigm, in this study we analyze the ways in which Spanish/English bilinguals perceive, discuss and characterize their experi- ences as they continue to broker communication for their families and immediate communities. We focus on youngsters’ perceived agency and explanations of the relationship between child-language brokering and academic achievement. The findings reported here are part of a larger study that includes the adaptation of a valid and reliable instrument to measure bilingual youngsters’ perceptions about their role (Angelelli 2014 and 2015), its administration and results, and their recall during interviews. Since most/many of the public-service/community interpreters of today were interpreters in their late childhood and adolescence, understanding their life experiences and perceptions of their roles as family language brokers is important for interpreter educators (Angelelli 2010b). In addition, research on bilingual youngsters and children brokering communication for adults allows us to problematize the constructs of language access and language policies of the societies these bilinguals inhabit (Angelelli 2010a). The results have theoretical and practical implications for current conceptualizations of multilingual socie- ties, border areas, community interpreting (interpreting in public services) and for teaching and testing of interpreters.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5-31
    Number of pages27
    JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Linguistics
    Issue number1
    Early online date16 Jan 2016
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


    • language brokering
    • academic achievement
    • conflicting roles
    • ad-hoc interpreters


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