Friday, October 11, 2019

Children Translating for Parents

Mom & Daughter by Still Vision

The BBC has an interesting slice of life story about what it is like for young immigrants to serve as a translator for their parents. The stories are varied -- from translating drivers' ed courses to landlord-tenant disputes, doctors visits to banking.

The story about translating at the doctor's office really jumped out at me -- a child didn't know the word for "cyst," noting that she sometimes doesn't like to go to the doctor with her mother because "my mum's thing is really, really complicated."

It reminded me of another vignette from the talk on deaf immigrants I attended last month. The speakers told us about a deaf man who died because his only translator at the doctor's office was his daughter. And he was too embarrassed to tell her about his true symptoms and why he might be sick. He died of syphilis, which is actually quite treatable, if unbearably difficult to discuss with your doctor when mediated through your child.


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