PROJECT TITLE: Young natural interpreters: child language brokering in education, social services and healthcare settings

PI: Mireia Vargas Urpí

REFERENCE: RTI2018-098566-A-I00


ANNOUNCEMENT: Spanish State Grant Programme of Research, Development and Innovation related to Society Challenges

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 2019 - June 2022

FUNDING: 69,938 €



The main objectives of this project are:

  1. To describe Child Language Brokering (CLB), a practice that has become common in our society but that is largely unexplored to date.
  2. To provide objective, empirical information about the extent and characteristics of Child Language Brokering among the major migrated communities (Moroccan, Romanian, Chinese, Pakistani, according to the Catalan Institute of Statistics) in the province of Barcelona, considering a wide range of aspects (emotional impact, identity, language learning, interpreting skills, gender, differences among communities, etc.), as well as various perspectives of the actors involved (child and young interpreters, former child interpreters, parents, public service providers).
  3. To raise awareness of the risks of this practice beyond communication to conduct minor bureaucratic tasks
  4. To empower children and teenagers in the new society through the revaluation of heritage languages.
  5. To introduce the Interpreting profession and its various modalities among young students who already have a high level of competency in two or more languages, and among their parents and supervisors.


These general objectives will materialize in the following specific outputs:

  1. Elaboration of a research report on the actual situation of child interpreting in the province of Barcelona. The report will include a summary of the main conclusions of the research developed in various cities/areas of the province of Barcelona, as well as recommendations for stakeholders. It will be made available at institutional open-access repositories.
  2. Organisation of an awareness-raising workshop to take place in schools with high proportion of migrated students. This workshop will draw on the results of the research and will include roleplays and other dynamic activities to make students aware of their valuable role in our society and contribute to improve their perception of heritage languages.
  3. Creation of a corpus of anonymized study cases and critical incidents based on the data collected. Study cases and critical incidents are typically used in PSI education (see, for instance, Bancroft et al. 2015), where students are requested to read brief descriptions of situations of PSI and to discuss them focusing on several aspects, but especially from an ethical perspective. The data collected through interviews and focus groups will be used to inform a corpus of study cases that will be made available online as an essential resource for PSI education, but also for awareness-raising activities among public service providers at large.
  4. Recording of short clips (2-3 minutes each one) with the testimony of former child interpreters. Each short clip will focus on a specific aspect in relation to CLB (emotional impact, identity, language learning, interpreting skills, etc.).
  5. Design and creation of an infographic for public service providers addressing the key question: “when is it feasible to rely on children to interpret?”. The infographic will be available online and on print form.



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