Pupil interpreters

Using children and young people as interpreters in school

Whether or not they are running our Young Interpreter Scheme, most Hampshire schools will have had to rely on a child to interpret for another child or parent. This is true of schools with high numbers of learners with English as an Additional Language and of schools where these learners are more isolated. The following guidance is intended to provide practitioners with the necessary background and guidelines to ensure children who may interpret at school are kept safe.

What does the research say?

What are the implications of this?

When is it appropriate to use a child as an interpreter?

Like Young Interpreters, child interpreters could  

Adults should not ask children or young people to

Please contact our office if


Orellana, M. F. (2009) Translating Childhoods: Immigrant Youth, Language, and Culture New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press

Pimentel, C & Sevin, T. (2009) ‘The Profits of Language Brokering’ The Journal of Communication & Education Language Magazine pp.16-18

Cline, T., De Abreu, G., O’Dell, L., Crafter, S. (2010) ‘Recent research on child language brokering in the United Kingdom’ MediAziono Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies on Language and Cultures pp. 105-124

Tse, L. (1994) ‘Language brokering in linguistic minority communities: the case of Chinese – and Vietnamese – American students’ The bilingual research journal 20 (3 & 4) pp. 485-498

Katz, V. S. (2011) Children being Seen and Heard: How Youth contribute to their Migrant Families’ Adaptation Barcelona: Aresta Publications

Orellana, M. F. (2003) In Other Words: Learning From Bilingual Kids’ Translating and Interpreting Experiences Evanston: Northwestern University

Bayley, R., Hansen-Thomas, H., Langman, J. (2005) Language Brokering in a Middle School Science Class Paper presented at the 4th International Symposium on Bilingualism,  Arizona State University, May 2003

Manchester Metropolitan University (2012) Children and Adolescents as Language Brokers [online] http://www.esri.mmu.ac.uk/resprojects/brokering/background.php (accessed 23.04.13)

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