Did you translate for your parents? Study explores the role of children as translators

Language Brokering study

When non-English speaking families settle in Australia, it's often the children who most quickly master their new language and take on the role of interpreter and translator for their parents.

Dr Renu Narchal from the School of Social Sciences and Psychology says the practice – known as 'language brokering' – is commonly experienced by children and adolescents over the course of their family's migration and settlement.

"Children from culturally and linguistically diverse communities are translating and interpreting for their parents as early as 8 or 9 years of age," says Dr Narchal.

"Western Sydney University is conducting a study which looks to explore language brokering, and develop a deeper understanding of children's' experiences and how they felt about taking on this important role within the family unit."

Four Western Sydney University Graduate Diploma candidates from the School of Social Sciences and Psychology are conducting the study, which will focus on the feelings that were experienced during language brokering, and the risks and protective factors that may impact on psychological wellbeing.

"We are looking for adults to participate in the study – who can reflect on and share their own experiences as a child," says Dr Narchal.

Participants aged 18 or older who have at least one immigrant parent, or have translated for any of their parents or family members at any stage of their settlement in Australia, are encouraged to partake in the study. 

Participants will be asked to complete a 30 minute online survey which will include a qualitative question regarding their language brokering experience.

The survey can be accessed in the following link:
For more information about participating, contact Renu Narchal via email at: R.Narchal@westernsydney.edu.au
Ethics Approval number: H12137


19 May 2017

Jessica Cortis, Media Assistant