Anne-Birgitta Nilsen – Interpreting for young children

This is a short summary of a presentation given at the Second International Conference on Quality in Interpreting, in Almuñecar, Spain 2010. The summary my own perception of the presentation and any mistakes in the summary are of course due to my misunderstanding.

Anne-Brigitta Nilsen (University of Oslo, Norway) talked about about quality in interpreting for very young children (age 3-7). She started exploring this because she had found that some interpreters are reluctant to interpret for young children. They are reluctant because they believe that children do not understand turntaking and the role of the interpreter, and you cannot interrupt a young child because then they will loose track. Her study comprised only four children from the age of six and a half to three, but the results were clear children of that age both understand turntaking and the role of the interpreter. It is also possible to interrupt them. She concluded that interpreting for children, same as interpreting for adults, and that quality in interpreting in general becomes more salient when studying children and particularly young children. A comment for the audience pointed out that maybe you adapt the way you interpret when you interpret for young children e.g. use of first person, register, simplistic language and so forth.

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