Exploring interpreting for young children

Anne Birgitta Nilsen


Although most of the interpreter’s assignments in the public sector involve interpreting between adults, interpreting for young children is nevertheless an important field. Interpreted events with young children take place in the public sector, such as in police interviews, childcare settings, asylum hearings and social welfare. It is important that the interpreter knows how to handle these communicative events. There is therefore a need for information regarding what to teach students of interpreting about interpreting for young children and how to train them for this purpose. Against this background, a research project was initiated at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences. The project explores the question of quality in interpreting for young children through various perspectives, methods and data, with two central focuses. One focus is on young children as users of interpreters, and their communicative means of participation in interpreter-mediated interaction. The second focus is on strategies that can be employed in interpreting for young children. In this article the emphasis is on the first question, namely the enquiry concerning children’s participation in interpreter-mediated dialogues.

The research presented is based on a pilot study with data from video-recorded experiments and subsequent interviews with the interpreter. The theoretical perspective is interactionistic (Wadensjö, 1998), whereby the encounter as a whole is taken into consideration.


interpreting; young children; interactionistic

Full Text: