Children brokers 2.0 : a case study on the role of digital literacies in language brokering transactions among three Latino children and their mothers

Rubio, Cynthia Nallely
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The term language broker commonly refers to children who translate and interpret the host country’s language and culture for their immigrant families, a common occurrence in Latino households. Research on this topic has helped scholars understand the nature of these transactions, but there is no research that directly connects language brokering to children’s knowledge of how to use digital devices—also known as digital literacy. We are living in a time where many have access to an endless amount of information at our fingertips, and answers can be found only a click away. Why, then, are recent languages brokering case studies failing to acknowledge the importance of children’s digital literacies in relation to their roles as translators and interpreters for their immigrant families? This paper, guided by the questions listed below, not only aims to transition the field of language brokering into the digital era, but it also aims to confront the bureaucratization of institutional settings and petition accountability for their lack of professional interpreters.1. How do children’s digital literacies affect the ways in which they translate and interpret for their parents? 2. How are parents’ own digital literacies impacted by language brokering? This case study focuses on the development of digital literacies through transactions of language brokering of three Latina single mothers and their sons. Through interviews and participant observation, findings showed that digital literacies directly influence the ways in which they broker for their mothers, and as a result, the mothers gain agency through the development of their own digital literacies. With a focus on foreign-born Latino children, this study reveals an updated and innovative approach to language brokering research.