Sunday, March 31, 2013

Young Interpreters: Conclusion

This post is a continuation of the several immediately preceding ones about schoolchildren interpreters.

What do the YI pupils think themselves about what they’re doing? Here are a few opinions from the William Howard school in Cumbria, in the north west of England (12 languages spoken).

  • “When you start school in a new country and you can't speak the language you can feel frightened and confused. By completing the course we will be able to make other students feel more welcome and help them to build friendship circles.”
  • “I get a great sense of achievement when I see the students I have supported do well in their lessons.”
  • “We have helped to form relationships between the school, parents and EAL students, it helps them to feel more accepted.”

On this page of the EMTAS website there’s a video of an interview with a professional interpreter as an encouragement to pupils to consider interpreting as a career. I asked Astrid about this, and she replied as follows.

“The point you are making about considering a career in interpreting is a very interesting one. Through meeting Young Interpreters and/or training pupils myself, I have seen how some children don't realise just how exceptionally talented they are. For some, interpreting for family or others is just part of their normal routine and involving these young people in the scheme is key in helping them realise their talent. I particularly remember a Year 11 student coming to see me at the end of her training to thank me for opening her eyes to this career. I'll never forget this.”

Do you know a school that could benefit from a Young Interpreter scheme? If so, get in touch with Astrid Gouwy at


  • Hampshire EMTAS. Young Interpreter Newsletter 8, March 2013. Accessible here.
  • The key page of the Young Interpreter Scheme is here. There’s a link to a PowerPoint explanation.


Shirley School is a primary school in Cambridge, UK. Motto: "Determined to succeed."



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