Friday 20th of May 2022


“I skipped unnecessary details and got straight to the point!”: Adolescents and Young Adults reflecting on their Child Language Brokering Experiences.

Linda Rossato, Università Ca’ Foscari, Venezia pdf_icon_30x30


Abstract: In countries such as Italy, where resources for institutionalized community interpreting are still scarce and not evenly distributed, Child Language Brokering (CLB), a form of ad-hoc language and cultural mediation provided by children and adolescents of immigrant parents for the benefit of their own families, is one of the spontaneous ways in which migrant communities and public institutions respond to their mutual communication needs (Antonini 2010b). Despite being a widespread practice in all those countries where immigration rates are sharply increasing, CLB still remains largely invisible and scarcely researched. In Italy CLB has been investigated since 2007, when the research project In MedIO PUER(I) was launched at the University of Bologna. Drawing on data collected for the In MedIO PUER(I) project through in-depth individual interviews and focus groups with adolescents and young adults from migrant families living in Italy, the present paper addresses the issue of the “agency” that children exercise during brokering interactions, and how and why they manipulate the wording and meaning of what they translate and interpret (Hall 2004; Bauer 2010; Bauer 2017). The paper also explores the emotional and relational impact of the language and culture brokering practices and reflects on how former language brokers retrospectively re-conceptualize their role and identity within their family in relation to the CLB practice.

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