Did you translate for your family, friends, or perhaps neighbors as a child?
Maybe you made phone calls for your parents, read the mail or went on errands with them because you knew English and they did not.
Many children of immigrant families serve an important role as child translators, and they are often the link between their family’s Spanish speaking world and the mainstream English world.
From a young age I began translating for my immigrant mother and father on almost a daily basis. On some days I would make or take a phone call for them, explain a piece of mail or school form, maybe pay their bills. Other times, I would translate at report card conferences or at my mom’s doctor appointments. Translating for my parents and even other family members and neighbors was something that I did regularly.
As college student I was fascinated that one of my professors, Dr. Marjorie Faulstich Orellana, was interested in learning more about the work of child translators. Working with her was a very rewarding experience for me, and I am very excited to have worked on part of the research in her book Translating Childhoods: Immigrant Youth, Language, and Culture. In her book, Dr. Orellana brings together her work with child translators in Los Angeles and Chicago – it’s great!
We will also do our best to add materials that are related to the topic. We would appreciate your thoughts, memories and feelings on your work as child translators.