Interpreted communication with children in public-sector services


  • Anne Birgitta Nilsen Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences


interpreting for children, interpreter user, multilingual children, child care, ethnic minorities, oral translation,


Many areas of the public sector, including, for example, healthcare and social services, are experiencing a growing need for interpreters in order to enable or facilitate communication. Although public service interpreters interpret mainly between adults, they are also sometimes called upon to interpret for children. This article argues that shifting from a monolingual to a multilingual perspective may assist public service professionals when planning and conducting meetings with children from ethnic minority backgrounds. In addition, such a perspective may improve our theoretical understanding of interpreter-mediated communication. The proposed adoption of a multilingual perspective is based on research into multilingualism, and on a review of the literature concerning interpreter-mediated communication with children.