Edited by Rakefet Sela-Sheffy and Miriam Shlesinger †
[Translation and Interpreting Studies 5:1] 2010
► pp. 94–108
A professional ideology in the making
Bilingual youngsters interpreting for their communities and the notion of (no) choice
Research on circumstantial bilinguals who become young interpreters for their families and communities contributes to our understanding of the life experiences of individuals who begin to interpret early in their lives. With the exception of early work on young interpreters and recent historical work on translation and interpreting, very little has been written about the lived experiences of interpreters and/or about the development of such exceptional types of bilingualism. When a family of Latino immigrants settles in America and the parents do not speak the societal language, it is often the case that young bilinguals act as language interpreters, brokering communication and advocating for their families’ needs. The ways in which these circumstantial bilinguals go about mediating communicative needs reveal much about these youngsters’ abilities. While interpreting for their families, young interpreters develop a sense of how to be linguistic advocates between speakers of minority languages and a society that struggles to accommodate the communicative needs of its members. In multilingual and diverse societies, it is imperative that the linguistic talents of young bilinguals be fostered and enhanced.
Cited by 24 other publications
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