Language Brokering


Language brokering describes when children of immigrant/ESL families do translation work for their siblings, parents, neighbors and/or other community members. It occurs across a variety of genres, including translation of written texts (such as bills, legal documents, etc.) and aloud speech (tv shows, conferences, phone calls). Language brokering involves fast and complex mental processes, such as genre-switching (translating written text into oral speech) and simultaneous input-output processing (hearing English and translating it into Spanish at the same time, or vice versa). Educationally speaking, teachers may be able to use language brokering as a sort of fund of knowledge in order to aid in English language and literacy development.


Orellana, M.F. (2009). Home work. In Translating childhoods: Immigrant youth, language and culture (50-65). New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.