Friday, February 27, 2015

Young Interpreters As Research Subjects

Followers of this blog are by now well acquainted with the pioneering work of the Young Interpreter Scheme (YI) to promote communal language brokering in British schools. If you are not, enter EMTAS in the Search box on the right. The latest issue of their bulletin, Young Interpreters Newsletter, is just out. It contains the usual cheery news about the expansion of the movement, However, one item stands out as different from the others because it involves research. It comes from the Institute of Education of University College London.
Do you have any young people in your school who interpret for family members? Would you be willing to let us into your school to study Young Interpreters activities?
The Institute of Education has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council to look at how Young Interpreters share cultural knowledge and how this influences their and sense of self. Researchers would like to observe some of your Young Interpreters while they do translation work and ask them to complete diaries about their interpreting lives. They would like to talk to Young Interpreters in Hampshire [the English county where the YI movement is centred].
If your school would be willing to take part or you would like to learn more about the study please contact either Sarah Crafter (s.crafter@ioe.ac.uk) or Humera Iqbal (h.iqbal@ioe.ac.uk).
To judge the likely value of this research, we would need to know more about its methodology, but it has striking features. One is that it comes from the UK, a country that lags far behind the USA in research on this area. And another is that it draws attention to the rich potential of YI as a source of data. It should be possible to follow many of the YI interpreters longtitudinally over several years as well as synchronically.


Term Note
Notice the use of communal language brokering above. A first according to Google. Language brokering is usually associated with a role played by individuals for and in their families. But a term is needed for when the same functions are performed by and in larger groups, as in the YI schools. Hence I propose this one.

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