Exploring interpreting for young children


Publication date


Series/Report no

Translation & Interpreting;5(2)


University of Western Sydney

Document type


The article presents a pilot study based on video-recordings of four experiments taking the form of encounters, each involving a Norwegian-speaking child, a woman speaking only in English and an interpreter. Taking the interpreter-mediated encounter as the basic research element, and applying an interactionist theoretical perspective, small children’s participation in these encounters is explored. The aim of the pilot study is to use the explorations of a few children’s interactions with one particular interpreter to generate hypotheses and identify new research areas that may be further investigated through a larger collection of data. Preliminary results indicate that a child as young as three has sufficient communicative competence to participate successfully in an interpreter-mediated encounter. In addition, the interpreter’s simultaneous speech in the other language did not seem to disrupt a child’s narrative. These findings need to be further explored through more extensive and naturally occurring data. An identified topic that needs further exploration is young children’s understanding of the nature of an interpreter’s specific mandate and responsibility during such interaction



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Permanent URL (for citation purposes)

  • http://hdl.handle.net/10642/1645