Child language brokering as a care practice: A view from critical-developmental psychology

Crafter, Sarah (2023). Child language brokering as a care practice: A view from critical-developmental psychology. In: Hubscher-Davidson, Severine and Lehr, Caroline eds. The Psychology of Translation: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 38–57.



When families migrate to a new country, children often learn the local language very rapidly and, consequently, become translators and interpreters for family, peers, and members of the community; a phenomenon which has become widely known as child language brokering. Using children for language brokering has raised understandable concerns about the impact of taking-on ‘adult-like’ responsibilities. Equally, in the context of migration, child language brokering can be framed as a part of everyday family care practices. Either way, child language brokers may find themselves translating and interpreting in public spaces where they face challenging situations or hostile responses from other adults for their efforts.

Drawing on excerpts from empirical qualitative interviews with young people aged 13–16 years, this chapter discusses how child language brokers manage complex interactions in challenging situations, the strategies they use for managing the adults involved in their interactions, and how these interactions can foreground inequalities relating to migration status and age status.

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