LANGUAGE BROKERING 1 8 LANGUAGE BROKERING Language Brokering in Mexican Immigrant Families

LANGUAGE BROKERING 1

8

LANGUAGE BROKERING

Language Brokering in Mexican Immigrant Families Living in the Midwest:
A Multiple Case Study

Alejandro Morales

University of Nebraska

Table of Contents

I. Abstract 4

II. Introduction 5

III. Research Proposition 8

A. Rationale for Qualitative Methods 8

B. Statement of the Problem 9

Research Questions 10

IV. Literature Review 4

A. Immigration 13

B. Acculturation 15

1. Acculturation Models 15

2. Acculturative Stress 16

3. Acculturation and Mental Health 17

C. The Latino Family 18

1. Latinos in the United States: A Demographic Profile 18

2. Latino Family Dynamics 19

D. Language Brokering 21

1. Characteristics or Qualities of Language Brokers 24

2. Language Brokering and Cognitive Development 25

3. Language Brokering and Academic Performance 27

4. Language Brokering and the Parent-Child Relationship 28

5. Feelings about Language Brokering 30

V. Synthesis 32

VI. Method 33

A. Overview of Design 33

B. Case Selection/Participant Sampling 33

C. Procedure 34

D. Measures 34

1. Interviews 34

2. Non-Participant Observation 36

3. Documents 36

4. Reflective Journal 37

VII. Results 37

A. Data Recording 37

B. Reliability, Validity, and Bias Checks 38

C. Descriptive Statistics 40

D. Test of Research Questions 41

E. Exploratory Analysis 41

VIII. Discussion 42

A. Interpretation of Major Findings 42

B. Limitations of the Study 43

B. Future Research Directions 43

C. Implications 44

VIII. General Summary and Conclusions 44

IX. References 46

X. Appendix A-M 54

Abstract

It is estimated that approximately 33.1 million of immigrants (documented and undocumented) live in the United States. Latinos have become the largest ethnic minority in the U.S. with Mexicans being the largest subgroup. Individuals of Latin-American descent are often subsumed under a single ethnic category, thus perpetuating a fallacy that Latinos are a homogenous group. Fortunately, research with the Latino population demonstrates that this group is, in fact, heterogeneous. Once children of immigrant families become familiar with the English language, they often serve as translators and interpreters for their non-fluent parents and family members. These children, known in the social and behavioral sciences as language brokers, are repeatedly asked and sometimes expected to assist their parents in very complex adult level situations that may surpass their cognitive abilities. Scholarship also suggests that the primary users of language brokers are parents, yet no studies have included how language brokering affects the immigrant family when the parents’ and brokers’ perspectives are incorporated. The goal of this study is to focus on qualitative findings in order to gain an in-depth understanding of how language brokering is experienced by Mexican immigrant parents and their children. The central research question that this study aims to answer is: What is the role of language brokering in Mexican immigrant families living in the Midwest. I expect to find results similar to other studies, but should also uncover some new relationships and phenomena. The findings from this study should help researchers, medical professionals, and policy makers to understand and serve the immigrant populations better.

Key words: language brokering, immigrants, case study, acculturation, latino families

Language Brokering in Mexican Immigrant Families Living in the Midwest:
A Multiple Case Study

It is estimated that approximately 33.1 million of immigrants (documented and undocumented) live in the United States (Camarota, 2002). Like other groups living in the U.S., immigrants are a heterogeneous group and their reasons for coming to this country vary (Felicov, 1998; Santiago-Rivera, Arredondo, Gallardo-Cooper, 2002). For example, there is a clear distinction between a person who immigrates voluntarily and refugees who involuntarily leave their countries of origin due to fear of persecution. Refugees are individuals who have to flee their countries because of persecution and fear of being killed. A great number of these individuals have been tortured or have seen friends or relatives being tortured (Amnesty International, 2002). Given that a significant number of refugees are victims of torture or witnesses of torture, their adaptation to their new environment is more challenging than other immigrants (Suarez-Orozco & Suarez-Orozco, 2001).

There are also within-group differences among immigrants who share the same culture. For example, there are clear distinctions within the Latino immigrant group as not all undocumented individuals who cross the border between Mexico and the U.S are of Mexican descent (Felicov, 1998; Santiago-Rivera, Arredondo, & Gallardo-Cooper, 2002). The scholarship on immigration highlights an array of reasons why individuals from foreign countries come to industrialized countries such as the U.S. (Suarez-Orozco & Suarez-Orozco, 2001). We observe that immigrants from Mexico often come to the U.S. because they can no longer afford to support their families or because working in agriculture is no longer a job that produces sufficient income (Santiago-Rivera, Arredondo, & Gallardo-Cooper, 2002). These are a few of the reasons why other individuals from Latin-America come to the U.S. Conversely, there are a number of individuals who immigrate to the U.S. due to fear of being persecuted. A number of them come from countries in Central and South America. Many of them, unaware of the asylum process or fearing that they will not be granted asylum, decide to immigrate to Mexico and then to the U.S with no type of legal documentation (Santiago-Rivera, Arredondo, & Gallardo-Cooper, 2002).

There are various causes as to why people from other countries immigrate to prosperous countries such as the U.S. Suarez-Orozco & Suarez-Orozco (2001) describe an array of reasons proposed by social and behavioral scientists to explain why people leave their countries of origin and immigrate to industrious societies. The immigrant population in the U.S. continues increasing at a non-stop rate. For example, Latinos have become the largest ethnic minority in the U.S. with Mexicans being the largest subgroup (U.S. Census Bureau, 2005). Individuals of Latin-American descent are often subsumed under a single ethnic category, thus, perpetuating a fallacy that Latinos are a homogenous group. Fortunately, research with the Latino population demonstrates that this group is, in fact, heterogeneous (Padilla, 1995).

Part of the heterogeneity of Latinos is related to the ethnic category this group usually uses to identify themselves. Scholars, politicians, and mainstream culture may refer to them as Latinos, Hispanics, Spanish Speaking people, and so on. Latinos can vary in their phenotype; they may look black, brown, Asian or white. This diversity is due to the influences of colonization of the American continent, where indigenous groups blended with Africans who were forced to come as slaves and Europeans who came to conquer the American continent (Felicov, 1998).

There is a continuous debate about what Latinos should be called. The terms Latino (for males) and Latina (for females), for example, refer to men and women whose origin is from Latin America. This term is preferred because it has no connection with Spaniards (Comas-Diaz, 2001) and reaffirms the indigenous background of Latinos (Felicov, 1998). Felicov also argues that although individuals from Latin America do not speak Latin, many speak Spanish, which is derived from Latin.

Hispanic is another common category use to identify individuals of Latin-American descent. This term was created in the 1970s by the U.S. census to group individuals who spoke Spanish (Comas-Diaz, 2001). The term is typically used among those individuals who identify more with their European (i.e., Spaniard) background. Lastly, Spanish people is the other category used very deliberately in the U.S. to describe Latinos. Comas-Diaz (2001) provides more discussion on how this term is utilized to portray individuals who are Spanish-speaking. The use of different terms highlights not only the debate about the choice of words to name Latinos. This debate also recognizes the diversity of Latinos around the world and within the U.S. as well as different histories faced by this group.

When immigrants arrive in the U.S. they are expected to adapt to their new environment, learn a new language, and adopt values, beliefs, and customs of the new culture. The process of acculturation begins as soon as immigrants and their families come in contact with U.S. culture. For immigrant families living in the U.S. this adaptation process can be stressful and overwhelming (Baptise, 1987; Rumbaut, 1994). Immigrants often rely on their children or their extended family to function socially in American society.

Once children of immigrant families become familiar with the English language, they often serve as translators and interpreters for their non-fluent parents and family members. These children, known in the social and behavioral sciences as language brokers, are repeatedly asked and sometimes expected to assist their parents in very complex adult level situations that may surpass their cognitive abilities (McQuillan & Tse, 1995; Tse 1996a; Tse, 1995a; Tse, 1995b; Valenzuela, 1999).

Research Proposition

This qualitative multiple case study is important and needed for several reasons. First, a gap exists in the language brokering literature where the perspectives of the parents and brokers are not integrated to understand the implications of language brokering in the immigrant family. The available literature has only focused on the experience of language brokers. The majority of the scholarship has also been mainly quantitative. Thus, the second goal of this study is to focus on qualitative findings in order to gain an in-depth understanding of how language brokering is experienced by Mexican immigrant parents and their children. Third, language brokering is a common phenomenon in immigrant families. Recent changes in U.S. demographics highlight the increase of Mexican families as they are the largest subgroup within the Latino ethnic group living in the U.S. Fourth, this study will add new knowledge to this neglected area, but it also provide information to social scientists, health care providers, mental health professionals, educators, and policy makers to better understand the needs of Mexican immigrant families with children who translate and/or interpret for their families. Fifth, the language brokering studies conducted have used samples where large numbers of Latinos reside. This study will be conducted in a large Midwestern city where Latinos are increasing in number. Finally, this study will provide information for future researchers who wish to study language brokering with immigrant families other than Mexicans.

Rationale for Qualitative Methods

The purpose of qualitative research is to understand and explain participant meaning (Morrow & Smith, 2000). More specifically, Creswell (1998) defines qualitative research as “an inquiry process of understanding based on distinct methodological traditions of inquiry that explore a social or human problem. The researcher builds a complex, holistic picture, analyzes words, reports detailed views of informants, and conducts the study in a natural setting” (p.15). Thus, using a qualitative methodology allowed the researcher to study the phenomenon of language brokering in its naturalistic setting. Qualitative research has been an ideal tool in multicultural counseling research. Morrow, Rakhsha & Castaneda (2001, p.582-583) provide an array of reasons for using qualitative research to study multicultural issues. For example:

It includes context as an essential component of the research.

It addresses the researcher’s process of self-awareness and self-reflection.

It is uniquely able to capture the meanings made by participants of their experiences.

Scholars in the field of multicultural counseling and psychology have called for expanded methodological possibilities to address questions that cannot be answered using traditional methods.

Its methods provide the opportunity for voices that were previously silenced to be heard and lives that were marginalized to be brought to the center.

Statement of the Problem

Language brokering is a common practice in immigrant families living in the U.S. The available scholarship in this understudied area has mainly focused on the experience of child brokers. This scholarship also suggests that the primary users of language brokers are parents, yet no studies have included how language brokering affects the immigrant family when the parents’ and broker’s perspectives are incorporated. Given the recent changes in demographics, Mexican immigrant families in the U.S. are increasing at a non-stop rate. Hence, it is necessary to conduct a study that explores the phenomenon of language brokering in this growing group.

Research Questions

The central research question that this study aims to answer is: What is the role of language brokering in Mexican immigrant families living in the Midwest? This study will also address the following research sub-questions:

How do Mexican immigrant families view language brokering?

What are qualities and/or characteristics of language brokers?

What are the family dynamics when parents use their son/daughter for translating/interpreting?

Literature Review

The literature in the area of language brokering is scarce and fairly recent. Morales and Hanson (2005) reported in an integrative review of the literature that fifty-seven percent of the available research is published in peer-reviewed journals, seventeen percent is published in book chapters, and twenty-six percent are conference papers, dissertations, or ERIC documents. Despite this common phenomenon in immigrant families, it was not until the mid 1990s when studies about language brokers and/or brokering were introduced in social and behavioral sciences’ literature. Early studies investigated the prevalence of language brokering among children of immigrant families. Instruments to measure this construct were also developed during this time frame (Buriel, Perez, DeMent, Chavez, & Moran, 1998; Tse, 1996a). Morales and Hanson (2005) also highlight that little to no attention has been given to how having a child as an interpreter and/or translator impacts the immigrant family.

In the social and behavioral science literature, language brokering is defined as the action of translating and interpreting that children/adolescents in immigrant families’ perform for their parents, family members, teachers, neighbors, and other adults (McQuillan & Tse, 1995). Furthermore, language brokers not only translate and interpret, but they also serve as cultural brokers and mediators in a variety of situations for their parents (DeMent & Buriel, 1999; Tse, 1996a).

It is important to note here the distinction between translating and interpreting. Although translating and interpreting are often considered to be synonymous or identical constructs, they refer to quite different actions. Translating is perhaps best associated with written work, where the translator is believed to possess exceptional understanding of multiple languages, thus, having the ability and skill to translate documents, materials, and the like. Interpretation, on the other hand, is best associated with verbal communication, where the interpreter is believed to possess exceptional understanding of potentially nuanced and circumscribed “meanings” that may be conveyed in ordinary social interactions (Westermeyer, 1989). Hence, children who are considered language brokers engage in both translating (e.g. bank statements) and interpreting (e.g., doctor’s appointment).

The scholarship in language brokering is fairly recent in the social and behavioral science literature, even though having children translate and interpret is a common role that children of immigrant families undertake when they arrive to the U.S. Early studies in language brokering attempted to describe the type of activities child brokers engaged in as well as their feelings about playing such roles. For example, in a study by Tse (1995b) half of the Latino child brokers reported that translating and interpreting helps children learn more about their first and second language. The results of this investigation demonstrate that language brokering helps children expand their vocabularies and develop a bicultural identity. Furthermore, there are those who believe that language brokering is a form of giftedness (e.g., Valdez, 2003).

Others, such as Weisskirch and Alva-Torre (2002), indicate that children who serve as language brokers report that such experiences are neither helpful nor enjoyable. In their study, children reported that the more they felt uncomfortable translating and interpreting. Furthermore, Weisskirch and Alva-Torre found a positive relationship between acculturative stress and brokering among boys. The results of their investigation suggest that children, especially boys, who translate and interpret could be more prone to acculturative stress which could impair their adjustment to the U.S.

Although both of these arguments are legitimate and have important empirical support, more research is needed to help understand the implications of children who serve as translators and interpreters. The available literature in language brokering neglects to combine the perspectives of parents and children. Thus, the purpose of this multiple qualitative case study is to understand the role of language brokering in Mexican immigrant families living in the Midwest.

The American Psychological Association (APA) has recently started to pay attention to the importance of providing empirical evidence about the psychological well being of immigrant groups (APA, 2005). Thus, APA released a resolution on immigrant children, youth and families that, “advocates for the development of a scientific database concerning the adaptation, development, education, health and mental health, as well as the social impact and contributions, of immigrant and refugee populations” (p.1).

This review is divided into four sections. The first section describes the phenomenon of immigration. This section highlights (a) debate between social and behavioral scientists regarding the causes of immigration, (b) a theoretical model describing the stages of immigration, (c) statistics about immigrants living in the United States, and (d) distinctions between immigrants and refugees, two unique groups of individuals. The second section of this chapter focuses on the acculturation process immigrants experience as the result of their contact with the U.S. culture, as well as the outcomes of experiencing acculturation in the U.S. The third section emphasizes one subgroup of immigrants, Latinos, and elaborates on a demographic profile of this group, as well as describes Latino family values and family dynamics. Finally, the fourth section presents the available literature in the area of language brokering within immigrant families highlighting the limited available research in this topic and the need for continued scholarship in this area of study.

Immigration

Immigration has been a salient phenomenon in the history of mankind. For centuries, men and women have migrated from place to place for various reasons (Suarez-Orozco & Suarez-Orozco, 2001). Suarez-Orozco and Suarez-Orozco highlight that economists believe that individuals immigrate to more prosperous countries because of better employment opportunities and higher wages. Sociologists argue that individuals immigrate because of the networks they have developed with relatives, friends, or friends of friends in other countries. Other reasons that explain immigration are those proposed by anthropologists who indicate that people immigrate due to changes in cultural models of desirable standards of living. Finally, there are other scholars who consider immigration a rite of passage. In some countries, especially in rural communities, men and women who have reached a certain age are expected to immigrate to countries such as the U.S. (Suarez-Orozco & Suarez-Orozco, 2001).

When individuals decide to immigrate, their subsequent relocation may follow a patterned process. Sluzki (1979) has proposed that the process of immigration can be viewed from a multi-stage perspective. These stages include (a) preparatory (b) the act of immigration (c) period of overcompensation (d) decompensation or crisis, and (e) period of transgenerational impact. During the preparatory stage, the family starts planning, making decisions, and taking time to say goodbye to friends and relatives. The action of immigration stage, according to Sluzki is experienced differently by families based on their access to legal documentation or economic resources. Thus, the family that comes from low social economic status and has no legal documentation can experience more challenges coming to the new country. The overcompensation stage is characterized by strong desires to preserve cultural traditions and values from their country of origin. Maintaining these traditions and values allows the family to develop a certain sense of stability in the family. Sluzki indicates that this stage may be a reaction toward the changes in the family’s surroundings and culture. In the decompensation or crisis stage, the family usually experiences a conflict often associated with acculturation and/or gender roles. Finally, in the period of transgenerational impact, the family continues experiencing changes in their adaptation to the new country as well as changes in values and interactions between generations. Sluzki considers the last two stages of the immigration experience model as a time for change.

Historically, men (e.g., fathers or male-heads of the household) were the first member of a family to immigrate (Hondagneu-Sotelo, 1992). Fathers immigrate to other countries because they may no longer provide for the basic needs of their families (Suarez-Orozco & Suarez-Orozco, 2001). More recently, entire families are immigrating to industrialized countries such as the U.S. in hope of a better future. Suarez-Orozco & Suarez-Orozco (2001) highlight that every year 250,000 to 500,000 undocumented immigrants enter the U.S.

It is important to distinguish between voluntary and involuntary migration. Refugees are individuals who flee their countries because of persecution and fear of being killed. Many of these individuals have been tortured or have seen friends or relatives being tortured (Amnesty International, 2002). Given that a significant number of refugees are victims of torture or witnesses of torture, their adaptation to their new environment is more challenging than immigrants (Suarez-Orozco & Suarez-Orozco, 2001).

Immigration has become a topic of discussion in social and behavioral research, public policy, and in the area of politics. More and more immigrants are coming to the U.S., causing a unique change in demographics. Immigrants experience psychological and physiological changes when they relocate, facing unique circumstances when they arrive to a foreign culture such as the U.S. Adapting or acculturating to a new culture such as the U.S. could be quite difficult for some immigrant groups.

Acculturation

When immigrant families arrive in the U.S., they are expected to adapt to their new environment, learn a new language, and adopt values, beliefs and customs of the new culture. The process of acculturation begins as soon as immigrants and their families come in contact with the dominant culture. Social and behavioral scientists have studied the phenomenon of acculturation within immigrant communities. These scholars view acculturation as consisting of social and psychological interactions as a result of the contact between individuals of different cultures (Berry, 1997; Ryder, Alden & Paulhus, 2000). These interactions occur in a variety of domains including attitudes, behaviors, and sense of cultural identity (Cuellar, Arnold, & Maldonado, 1995; Ryder et al., 2000). More recently, acculturation has been studied at the individual level and associated with ethnic identity development (Phinney, 2002).

Acculturation Models

Models of acculturation have been proposed challenging researchers to think more critically about this area of study. The early model is the unidirectional or unilinear model of acculturation proposed by Parks and Miller (1921). According to these scholars, acculturation is unipolar where the individual moves from the traditional life style to a more assimilated style of living. More specifically, in the context of the immigration, the family starts adopting values and customs of the mainstream culture and slowly begins leaving behind their own values and customs.

The second model is the bidirectional or bidimensional model of acculturation (Berry, Trimble & Olmedo, 1986). The bidirectional model is more comprehensive and more widely accepted among social scientists (e.g., Flannery, Reise, & Yu, 2001). This model focuses on the relation of two constructs along the two axes, identification with home culture and identification with host culture. The model is comprised of four acculturation styles integration/bicultural (identification with both cultures), assimilation/Americanized (identification with host culture), alienation/marginalization (no identification), separation/traditional (identification with home culture). These theoretical models demonstrate that the scholarship on acculturation has sought to better understand the experiences of immigrant groups in order to understand how individuals’ cultural background plays a role in their adaptation.

Acculturative Stress

The process of acculturation may be quite difficult for some immigrant groups. Berry, Kim, Mindle, and Mok (1987) use the term acculturative stress to explain the feelings of immigrants who come in contact with a new culture. Berry et al., define it as,

the kind of stress, that in which the stressors are identified as having their source in the process of acculturating; in addition, there is often a particular set of stress behaviors which occurs during acculturation, such as lowered mental health status (specifically confusion, anxiety, depression), feelings of marginality and alienation, heightened psychosomatic symptom level, and identity confusion (p. 492).

Berry, Kim, Mindle and Monk’s acculturative stress model suggests that immigrants experience acculturative stress differently. Their model explains that acculturative stress is associated with a number of stressors that are linked to the acculturation experience. For example, if an individual’s acculturation experience required a great deal of sacrifice and involvement, then the individual is likely to experience a number of stressors, thus causing the individual to experience high levels of acculturative stress. Berry and colleagues describe a variety of factors that moderate the relationship between acculturation and stress. These factors include the type of acculturating group, modes of acculturation, and demographic and social characteristics of the individual as well as his or her psychological characteristics.

Acculturation and Mental Health

Acculturative stress, if experienced in high levels, may have negative consequences on the mental health of immigrants. Studies have reported that less acculturated individuals are less likely to experience mental health problems than their more acculturated counterparts. For example, studies conducted with Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans have reported that Mexican immigrants have better mental health profiles than Mexican-Americans (Escobar, Karno, Burnam, Hough, & Golding, 1988; Escobar, Hoyos-Nervi, & Gara, 2000).

Other scholarship indicates that maintaining a bicultural identity has positive consequences to mental health and overall psychological well-being. Miranda and Umhoefer (1998) conceptualize biculturalism as being in the “intermediate level of acculturation” (p. 159). Being at the intermediate level may be considered as processing a balance between one’s cultural values and those of the host culture. In their research with Latinos, Miranda and Umhoefer reported that those individuals who were considered bicultural had better mental health well being.

The area of acculturation has provided vital information about the adaptation of various immigrant groups living in the U.S. Within all these different immigrant groups, the number of Latinos has increased dramatically in the past ten years and are now the largest minority in the U.S.

The Latino Family

Recent census data indicates that Latinos are the largest ethnic minority in the U.S. with Mexicans being the largest subgroup (U.S. Census Bureau, 2002). As Latinos continue increasing in numbers, so do their needs. Latinos are still one of the most underserved groups in the U.S in respect to health care and access to mental health services (Vega & Alegria, 2001). Individuals of Latin-American descent are often subsumed under a single ethnic category, perpetuating a fallacy that Latinos are a homogenous group. Thus, the research conducted with the Latino population demonstrates that this group is, in fact, heterogeneous (Padilla, 1995).

Latinos in the United States: A Demographic Profile

The U.S. Census Bureau (2005) indicates that there are 4.13 million Latinos living in the U.S., from this, 66.9 % of them are of Mexican descent. Latinos are the largest ethnic minority group in the U.S. and comprises 13.3% of the U.S. population. The U.S. census shows that Latinos contain the largest proportion of people under the age of 18 when compared to their White counterparts.

Several unique features distinguish Latinos from other ethnic groups. Latino family households are more likely than White family households to be maintained by a female without a spouse, with Puerto Ricans having the largest proportion of households maintained by a female. In terms of education, Latinos are at disadvantage. Among Latinos, Mexicans 25 years and older have the lowest proportion of people with a high school diploma, a bachelor’s degree or more. In terms of employment, Latinos are more likely to be unemployed than Whites. Among employed Latinos, the most common occupations are service workers, precision production, craft, repair, and transportation. Latinos are more likely to be living in poverty than Whites. Over one quarter of Latino children under the age of 18 live in poverty (U.S. Census Bureau, 2002).

Latino Family Dynamics

The Latino family also shows heterogeneous compositions because not all Latino families are composed of two parent households. Santiago-Rivera et al. (2003), explain that among Latinos, the mother usually heads the single-parent family. Latino single parent families are usually living under the poverty level, with Puerto Rican single-parent families being the most affected. Latinos are also marrying outside their ethnic group. A number of scholars are projecting that in the next couple of years, Latinos will be more likely to marry outside of their ethnic group. For example, Suro (1999) predicts that two thirds of Latinos will marry European-Americans in the next ten years.

Latino families have shared similarities or what Santiago-Rivera et al., (2002) call “family-centered values and systems” (p. 42). These values and systems make Latino families unique from other ethnic minority families. Familismo or familism is the value that emphasizes the importance of belonging to a family or a community. The family or community comes first rather than the individual. Marin and Triandis (1985) explain how familism probably originated from the collectivistic worldview where there is willingness to sacrifice for the wellbeing of the family and/or the community. Latinos, as well as other ethnic/racial groups who share a collectivist worldview, value and build interpersonal relationships with others. Within the Latino community this is called personalismo. Thus, Latinos treasure interpersonal relationships that are warm and friendly.

Latinos stress the importance of respeto or respect to others. This form of respect is given not only to parents or elders but to people in general. This form of respect is usually expressed through language using the formal (usted) and informal (tu) Spanish. The formal usted is used when talking to some one who is older such as grandparents, parents, uncles, or acquaintances. The informal tu is used when talking to siblings, relatives or anyone of the same age or younger. Part of having respeto (respect) for others is the expectation of being bien educado or well educated. Being bien educado means that parents and elders in the family encourage their young ones to engage in interpersonal and pro-social behaviors (Nava, 2000).

Another part of the Latino value system includes religious and/or spiritual beliefs. Although a great number of Latinos ascribe to Catholicism, there are now new forms of organized religion in Latin America causing a significant number of Latinos to leave the Catholic Church and turning to other forms of Christianity or going back to more indigenous or traditional forms of religion (e.g., Santeria). We observe that many Catholics are devoted followers of different saints and virgins. For example, Mexican Catholics from all over the world are devotees of La Virgen de Guadalupe. The virgin is a symbol that combines Catholicism and Aztec symbols. Felicov (1998) describes the Virgin of Guadalupe as a representation of love and hope.

Gender socialization is clearly defined in the Latino culture. At a very early age, boys and girls are taught about what is gender-acceptable. The term Machismo is a common descriptor of how man is supposed to act and Marianismo for how a woman is viewed within the Latino culture. In popular U.S. culture, “macho” means being a womanizer, a domestic abuser, and has even been conceptualized as pathological (Mirande, 1985). Various scholars who have studied the area of machismo are now redefining this construct. This new definition aims to highlight the positive facet of being macho. Morales (1996) provide such definition,

Machismo refers to a man’s responsibility to provide for, protect, and defend his family. His loyalty and sense of responsibility to family, friends, and community make him a good man. The Anglo-American definition of macho that describes sexist, male-chauvinist behavior is radically different from the original Latino meaning of machismo, which conveys the notion of “an honorable and responsible man.” (p.274)

The term marianismo on the other hand has a religious connection with the Virgin Mary. According to scholars in the area of Latina/o psychology, marianismo means that the virgin serves as a role model for all Latina women, and they should live up to her standards. More specifically, marianismo expects Latina women to stay pure until marriage, accept suffering, and be nurturing, and virtuous (Lopez-Baez, 1999).

Latinos are a heterogeneous group that has unique strengths, needs, and challenges. Latino families in general share common values that are upheld within the U.S. culture. Part of their adjustment as immigrants are also influenced by the role each member plays for the adaptation of the family. In many instances, children play the role of the translator and/or interpreter for their immigrant parents. This group of children is often interpreting for their parents in doctor’s offices, government offices, and/or school settings. Part of their role as language brokers requires that they translate a variety of documents for their parents. Language brokers interact in situations that require them to have advanced cognitive and linguistic skills.

Language Brokering

For many immigrant families, the process of acculturation is stressful and overwhelming (Baptise, 1987; Rumbaut, 1994). To help ease the burden of this transition, immigrant parents tend to rely on their children or their extended family to function effectively in American society. For example, once children become familiar with the English language, they often serve as translators and interpreters for their non-fluent parents and extended family. These children, commonly referred to as language brokers, are expected to assist their parents in very complex, “adult-like” situations — situations that may or may not be developmentally appropriate (McQuillan & Tse, 1995; Tse, 1996a; Tse, 1995a; Tse, 1995b; Valenzuela, 1999).

Although children have served as language brokers for centuries, relatively little empirical attention has been given to them. Only recently have social and behavioral scientists begun to seriously consider and study this important phenomenon. Reasons for this lack of research are only speculative. Perhaps it is because psychological theorizing and research has focused primarily on individuals and groups of individuals from middle-class, European American families. Fortunately, many fields in the social sciences (e.g., psychology) have become increasingly diverse and pluralistic and, as a result, increasingly sensitive to issues that relate directly to ethnically diverse individuals, families, and communities.

Using children to serve as translators and interpreters has been widely accepted among immigrant communities, yet it is still a controversial issue. In 2002, California law makers introduced a bill to the state legislature prohibiting children from translating and interpreting in medical, legal, and social service settings (Coleman, 2003). They argue that (a) children are not translating information accurately, (b) translating legal and medical information may negatively affect the parent-child relationship, and (c) delivering information to a child about a serious medical condition may be traumatizing to the child. Dr. Foster-Rosales, an obstetrician at the University of California-San Francisco Medical Center explained, “I’ve been in a situation where I had to give a diagnosis of Cervical cancer, and I have a 12-year-old boy in the room translating” (p.19A). Clearly, there are multiple sides to this issue, and the extent to which language brokering should be legislated, is debatable. What is less debatable, however, is the need for sound, rigorous research on this understudied topic.

Researchers define language brokering as the action of translating and interpreting that children/adolescents in immigrant families’ perform for their parents, members of the family, teachers, neighbors, or other adults (McQuillan & Tse, 1995). Additionally, these children also serve as mediators and cultural brokers in a variety of situations (DeMent & Buriel, 1999; Tse, 1996a). It is important to note here the distinction between translating and interpreting. Although translating and interpreting are often considered to be synonymous or identical constructs, they refer to quite different actions. Translating is perhaps best associated with written work, where the translator is believed to possess exceptional understanding of multiple languages, thus having the ability and skill to translate documents, materials, and the like. Interpretation, on the other hand, is best associated with verbal communication, where the interpreter is believed to possess exceptional understanding of potentially nuanced and circumscribed “meanings” that may be conveyed in ordinary social interactions (Westermeyer, 1989). Hence, children who are considered language brokers engaged in both translating (e.g. bank statements) and interpreting (e.g., doctor’s appointment).

Language brokering is not merely bilingualism. Bialystok (2001) conceptualizes bilingualism as the ability to speak two or more languages. Others define it as absolute fluency in two languages (Bloomfield, 1933), or the ability to function in each language according to given needs (Grosjean, 1989). Clearly bilingualism deals with the ability to learn, to understand and to speak two or more languages, whereas language brokering deals with, as noted earlier, the practices of translating and interpreting. Bilingual individuals choose to learn a new language as part of their curriculum, whereas language brokers learn a language for their own and their family’s survival.

Characteristics or Qualities of Language Brokers

There are very few published studies that have attempted to describe the typical language broker. Recent studies have used quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methodologies to answer this question. These studies reveal that children of immigrant families start their role as translators and interpreters shortly after their arrival to the U.S. (Dement & Buriel, 1999; Valdes, Chavez, & Angelelli, 2003), and that they broker regardless of their place of birth (Tse, 1995a). The research shows (1) that these children usually start brokering between the ages of seven and twelve, (Hall & Robinson, 1999; Hall & Sham, 1998; McQuillan & Tse, 1995; Tse, 1996a; Tse, 1995a; Tse, 1995b); (2) that they are usually the oldest child (Chao, 2002; Hall & Robinson, 1999; Valdes, Chavez, & Angelelli, 2003); and, (3) that brokers are predominantly female (Buriel, Perez, DeMent, Chavez & Moran, 1998; Love, 2003; McQuillan & Tse, 1995; Valenzuela, 1999; Weisskirch, 2005). These studies provide useful information on the characteristics of the children, yet there may be other qualities that language brokers have developed that influence their parents to choose them for this important role. The few studies that have investigated such qualities suggest that these children tend to be fluent in their first and second language, confident, extroverted, good natured, have high self-esteem, see themselves as useful and helpful, friendly, sociable, good listeners, able to provide great detail and able to emphasize feelings and emotions when translating (Chao, 2002; Dement & Buriel, 1999; Valdes, Chavez, & Angelelli, 2003; Valenzuela, 1999; Weisskirch, 2006).

In sum, the research presented highlights the characteristics of children who play the role of their family’s interpreter and translator. Based on this research it can be concluded that language brokers possess qualities that allow them to interact in a variety of settings with different types of people. Still, discrepancies and limitations exist in this literature. For example, a number of studies argue that language brokering is a female dominated activity (Buriel et al., 1998; Buriel, Love & Dement 2006), whereas other studies have not found gender differences (Diaz-Lazaro, 2002; Jones & Trickett, 2005; Mercado, 2003).

Language Brokering and Cognitive Development

Studies on translation have reported that children who speak two or more languages may translate and interpret information accurately (Harris & Sharewood, 1978). Language brokers tend to translate documents that require a high level of understanding, such as notes and letters from school, bank/credit card statements, job applications, and government and insurance forms (DeMent & Buriel, 1999; Hall & Sham, 1998; McQuillan & Tse, 1995; Puig, 2002). Similarly language brokers are asked to interpret for their parents in a variety of settings such as a medical office where they are expected to know the meaning of complex and difficult medical terminology (Hall & Sham, 1998; Puig, 2002; Schaafsma, Raynor & den Berg, 2003). Researchers argue that language brokers may, as a result, develop a more sophisticated vocabulary that could help them build their lexicons (Halgunseth, 2003). Furthermore, studies have shown that language brokers use higher cognitive abilities and problem-solving abilities to comprehend and interpret these types of documents (e.g., Walinchowski, 2001). Children not only translate documents, but they also serve as mediators in conversations between their parents and first-language English speakers, such as at parent-teacher conferences, paying utility bills, making doctor’s appointments, visiting hospitals, and making trips to the post office (DeMent & Buriel, 1999; Halgunseth, 2003; Hall & Robinson, 1999; McQuillan & Tse, 1995; Puig, 2002; Tse, 1996a; Tse, 1995a). It is evident that language brokers act as translators and interpreters in a variety of settings – settings in which they must switch from being a child to assuming the role of the adult in order to translate and interpret for their parents or elders.

The research suggests that language brokers develop linguistic abilities that monolingual children do not acquire, which may potentially help the child interact in a more mature and adult manner (Diaz-Lazaro, 2002; Shannon, 1990). The few qualitative studies that have been conducted report that language brokers feel that translating and interpreting for their parents has allowed them to be more mature and independent, meet more people, and increase their proficiency in both languages (Halgunseth, 2003; Valdes, Chavez, & Angelelli, 2003). Given that language brokers are translating and interpreting a variety of documents in different settings, they may also develop higher decision-making strategies, which may be considered more “adult-like.” Several researchers argue that language brokers are considered the decision maker not only for their parents but also for the entire family (Diaz-Lazaro, 2002; McQuillan & Tse, 1995; Tse, 1995b; Valenzuela, 1999).

Interestingly, research has shown that language brokers may be selective about the information they translate, especially for their parents. For example, a number of children who translated notes from school for their parents often omitted, or left out, information that was negative (DeMent & Buriel, 1999). Although this finding may call into question the accuracy of language brokers, we can only speculate that children are omitting this type of information because they do not want to hurt or cause shame to their parents. In certain communal cultures, children’s poor behavior is often interpreted by parents as dishonorable (Comas-Diaz, 1992; Sue & Sue, 1990).

The literature presented in language brokering and cognitive development highlights how child language brokers may acquire higher cognitive and decision-making abilities due to their brokering experiences. Although these studies highlight the benefits of brokering, they are still far from being widely accepted or definitive. There is simply not enough evidence to support the hypothesis that translating and interpreting enhances cognitive development and decision-making abilities. More of these studies are needed to determine the nature of the relationship between language brokering and cognitive development and decision-making abilities.

Language Brokering and Academic Performance

It is a common belief in the U.S. that children of immigrant families do not perform well in the academic sphere due to a lack of encouragement from parents (Evans & Anderson, 1973). Rumberger & Rodriguez (2002) have studied the academic performance of children of immigrants report that individual and institutional factors are the primary reasons for dropping out or performing poorly, not parents’ lack of encouragement. The literature in the area of language brokering and academic performance provides mixed results. Earlier studies suggest that language brokering is not significantly correlated with academic performance. For example, using a sample of 35 Latino/Hispanic students, Tse (1995a) reported that there was no association between academic performance and language brokering. Similarly, in other studies children have stated that they did not associate their language brokering experiences with their academic performance. Furthermore, there are researchers who argue that language brokering may put children at risk for academic failure or may limit the child’s academic and occupational opportunities because the family expects them to continue brokering (Umaña-Taylor, 2003).

Recently, studies have been published with larger samples. These studies have started to look at the possible relationship between language brokering and academic performance. For example, Buriel, Perez, DeMent, Chavez, and Moran (1998) reported that language brokering was a strong predictor of academic performance. They also reported that language brokering scores and feelings about brokering were associated with academic self-efficacy. Similar findings have been reported by Acoach and Webb (2004).

Studies conducted by Orellana, Dorner, and Pulido (2003) and Dorner, Orellana and Li-Grining (in press) found children who have served as language brokers did significantly better in standardized tests of reading and math achievement. Furthermore, there are those who argue that language brokering is a form of giftedness (e.g., Valdes, 2003). In another study by Walinchowski (2001), participants stated, although they felt frustrated about brokering, they used these experiences as tools for self-improvement.

The available literature on language brokering and academic performance informs us that there is no consensus on how language brokering experiences affect the academic performance of those who do it. Researchers are still debating about the positive or negative influences of language brokering on academic performance. The studies presented do provide important information that could be further investigated.

Language Brokering and the Parent-Child Relationship

Research studies that have investigated the parent-child relationship of language brokers have been the sources of much controversy. Mental health professionals, social science scientists, legislators, policy makers, professionals in the medical field and educators have all been discussing how children who serve as translators and interpreters may be potentially harmed or benefited by these experiences. Currently, there are two persistent perspectives on this issue. The first are those who are against children serving as translators and interpreters, stating that this type of experience negatively affects the normal dynamics of the parent-child relationship. Cohen, Moran-Ellis, and Smaje (1999) conducted a study with general practitioners whose patients requested to have their children translate. In their study, the general practitioners reported being against using children in their consultations. The general practitioners strongly believed that having children serve as translators and interpreters when discussing their parent’s health concerns could harm the parent-child relationship. In two similar studies conducted with nursing students and medical residents, it was reported that their patients often bring children and/or other relatives to help them interpret. Both nurses and medical residents felt uncomfortable and thought that it was inappropriate to rely on family members and/or children to serve as interpreters (Baldonado, Beymer, Barnes, Starsiak, Nemivant & Anonas-Ternate, 1998; Kuo & Fagan, 1999). Other researchers argue that having children translate and interpret for their parents lead to unhealthy role reversals within the family, forcing the parents to become dependent on their children (Umaña-Taylor, 2003).

Earlier studies have shown that the experiences associated with language brokering help them develop a stronger bond to their parents. For example, in a study by DeMent and Buriel (1999), participants commented that (a) brokering was a form of commitment to not disappoint their parents because they made a sacrifice in bringing the entire family to the U.S., while other participants stated that (b) they were concerned about finances and the health status of parents, (c) it was reported that parents developed a certain dependency on the language broker in regards to handling documents, and (d) the brokering experiences elicited feelings of compassion and helped them understand their parents’ struggles. Language brokers are also considered active advocates of their parents’ rights during complex situations (e.g., legal, financial). Similarly, a qualitative study by Valenzuela (1999) reported that language brokers inform their parents about their rights in the U.S. and educate them about the legal system. Some participants even helped their parents to hire a lawyer, if they believed that it was necessary.

More recent studies have revealed important information about how language brokers use their position of power to protect the welfare of their parents and other family members. Studies conducted by Hall and Sham (1998), Orellana, Dorner, and Pulido (2003), and Valdes, Chavez, and Angelelli (2002) reported that language brokers have stated that they use their position of power to protect their parents from embarrassment and humiliation. Some of the participants in their studies mentioned that they could not let employers, doctors, or other individuals embarrass their parents or other family members. These findings add new knowledge to this body of literature, where language brokers are now being considered the protectors or shields of the family.

In summary, there is no clear answer to the question of whether language brokering has a positive or negative effect on the child-parent relationship. Furthermore, new research is suggesting that language brokers use their power to protect the well being of the family. The research presented in this section provides promising, albeit somewhat limited, insights regarding the characteristics and role of language brokers on the family. However, more research is needed.

Feelings about Language Brokering

Language brokers are a unique group of individuals who play a critical role in the cultural adaptation of their families. The experiences these children have may cause them to develop an array of feelings about being the interpreter and/or translator for their family. Language brokering researchers have studied the feelings that children have about their roles and have reported mixed results leaving us with more questions than answers. There are those researchers who have found that language brokering is a burden on the child causing the child to feel negatively about his or her role. Puig (2002) interviewed a group of Cuban language brokers and they reported feeling frustrated about having to translate and interpret for their parents; they felt embarrassed that their parents did not speak English and for some of these children they considered their parents as invisible. In a similar study but with language brokers from the former Soviet Union, Jones and Trickett (2005) found that language brokering was associated with high levels of emotional stress, decreased feelings of school membership, increases in problems with friends, and high incidents of family disagreement at home. Furthermore there are those who have argued that language brokers are very similar to parentified children (e.g., Mercado, 2003), and that language brokering is associated with high instances of depression (Buriel, Love, & DeMent, 2006).

Contrary to the findings presented above, there is evidence suggesting that language brokering enhances positive feelings in those who play this important role in the immigrant family. In a study with Chinese child language brokers Hall and Sham (1998), their participants reported that they felt important because they had to make decisions for the family and they also felt proud because their parents trusted them. In a similar study but with Latino adolescents, Buriel, Love and DeMent (2006) found that female language brokers reported more positive feelings about brokering when compared to boys. Research with adult language brokers has found similar results. Weisskirch (2006) in a sample of Mexican-American language brokers found that language brokering was generally a positive experience, that it evoked feelings of pride, being helpful and useful. Weisskirch also found that language brokering was strongly associated with high self-esteem. Based on these findings, one can argue that the experience of language brokering has positive influences in the well-being of those who translate and/or interpret for their parents.

The literature presented regarding the feelings of language brokering brings to question how children who play this role interpret this activity. The research suggests that there are positive as well as negative consequences. These findings instead of answering questions are providing more questions that need to be study in future research. The area of language brokering continues to be a heated topic in the areas of Psychology, Sociology, Education, and Public Policy. Future research needs to address these questions as language brokers appear to be a group of individuals who are never going to disappear, especially in a country like the United States where every year more and more immigrants come in hope of a better life for them and their children.

Synthesis

In summary, the scholarship on language brokering presents opportunities for further research to those interested in the advancement of immigrant families in the U.S. The available studies on this understudied topic highlight certain themes or trends that are currently salient in the literature. These themes are (a) language brokering continues to be a controversial due to its lack of research, (b) language brokering appears to be a female dominated phenomenon, (c) there appears to be a relationship between language brokering and cognitive development, (d) academic achievement among language brokers is inconclusive, (e) immigrant parents and their children may develop a different type of relationship as a result of language brokering, and (f) the experience of language brokering may cause parents and children to develop a variety of feelings regarding their experiences. These themes and/or trends highlight the current discussions language brokering scholars are having. Similarly, it is probable that they may emerged as themes in the results of the present study.

Method

Overview of Design

This study will utilize a multiple case study design. Case studies are “an exploration of a ‘bounded system’ of a case or multiple cases over time through detail, in depth data collection involving multiple sources of information rich in context” (Creswell, 1998, p. 61). This multiple case study design will investigate several cases to gain insight into a central phenomenon of language brokering in Mexican immigrant families living in the Midwest.

Case Selection/Participant Sampling

In order to gain multiple perspectives in the area of language brokering, this study will use the maximum variation sampling strategy (Creswell, 1998). To achieve this, six, two-parent Mexican immigrant families will be recruited to participate. The families will be identified with the assistance of a gatekeeper. In qualitative research, gatekeepers are used to assist the researcher in gaining access and developing trust with the community of study (Hatch, 2002). The families will include both parents, and a child who is identified by the parents as the primary translator/interpreter in the family. The six families will be selected based on two dimensions: gender and educational level of the language broker. Thus, families one and two will be composed of two parents and a language broker who is either a male or female and is attending elementary school. Families three and four will be composed of two parents and a language broker who was either a male or female and was attending middle school. Finally, families five and six will be composed of parents and a language broker who is either male or female and is attending high school. These two dimensions will allow getting a developmental and gender perspective on the phenomenon of language brokering in Mexican immigrant families. All families will be of Mexican descent that voluntarily immigrated to the U.S. for more than two years. The literature suggests that language brokering takes place with one to five years of the children’s arrival in the U.S. (McQuillan & Tse, 1995; Tse, 1995a, 1996b). Additionally, in the first couple of years after immigrating families experience a period of adaptation which can be quite stressful for all members of the immigrant family (Baptise, 1987; Rumbaut, 1994). Language brokering appears to be a salient phenomenon in Latino immigrant families (e.g., Mexican families) living in the U.S., (Morales & Hanson, 2005). Mexicans are the largest group within the Latino ethnic group in the U.S. causing researchers to pay more attention to this growing and underserved group.

Procedure

The gatekeeper and researcher will have several conversations about the families necessary for this study. The gatekeeper will get in contact with the families that met the criteria, and ask them if they would be interested in participating in the study. If the family agrees, the gatekeeper will schedule a visit with the families where I will explain to them the purpose of the study and what participating in this study entails. The gatekeeper will also be present during this meeting. Each family will be asked to sign several consent forms (See Appendices A-H).

Measures

For this study, data will be collected in the forms of semi-structured interviews, a non-participant observation, collection of documents, and a reflective journal. The gatekeeper will not be present during the data collection phases of the study.

Interviews

The parents and language broker will be interviewed separately (see Appendices I and J). The interview with the parents will last one to two hours and will be conducted in their homes and in the language they felt more comfortable with. The interview with the language broker will last forty-five minutes to an hour and will be conducted in the language of his/her preference. Both interviews will be audio-recorded. Also, during the interview, the researcher will take notes. Participants will be reminded that breaks are allowed if they felt the need to do so. They will also be informed that to protect their identity, they need to provide a pseudonym. Each participant will be provided with a consent form in English and Spanish and told that they might withdraw from the study at any point.

Two interview protocols were developed for this study. The first is the parent version and the second is the child/adolescent version. The parent version interview protocol asks parents about their experience having a child who interprets and translates for them. The protocol consists of eight questions. These eight questions are divided into six sections. The sections include questions about the language brokering experience, questions about feelings about language brokering, questions about language brokering in the family, questions about the qualities and characteristics of the language broker, questions about suggestions and/or advice to other language brokers and their parents, and the last section asks parents to provide any information they would like to add that they feel is important. The demographic sheet inquires about gender, age, number of children, children’s ages, highest level of education, time living in the U.S., time of being married income, the language brokers’ language preference, what language the language broker uses when talking to parents, and siblings, questions about situations where their language broker has translated and/or interpreted, and questions where their language broker has not translated and/or interpreted for them.

The child/adolescent version protocol consists of nine questions. This interview protocol asked about the language broker’s experience. The questions are divided in six sections. The sections include questions about the language brokering experience, questions about feelings about language brokering, questions about language brokering in the family, questions about the qualities and characteristics of language brokers, questions about suggestions and/or advice to other language brokers and their parents, and the last section asks children/adolescents to provide any information they would like to add that they feel is important. The demographic sheet inquires about gender, age, highest level of education, birth order, place of birth, favorite and least favorite subjects, language they like to speak the most, their language preference when talking to parents and siblings, and questions about situations where they has translated and/or interpreted for their parents.

Non-Participant Observation

The purpose of the observation is to gain additional information about the process of translation that language brokers engage when their parents ask them to translate the content of a particular document. The observation will also allow documenting the family dynamics that take place when the child is translating a document for his or her parents. The observation will be conducted by a non-participant observer (i.e., researcher) and take place two days after the interviews (see Appendix K). It will be carried out in the family’s home and probably last twenty to twenty-five minutes. In this observation, the language broker will be asked to translate a document the he or she usually translates for his/her parents. The parents will be present with their son/daughter as he/she is translating the document. Parents will be asked to provide a document that their language broker usually translates for them. The observation will be audio-recorded and the researcher will take notes during and after the observation.

Documents

The documents gathered for this study will include any type of papers that child language brokers translated for their parents. Parents will be asked to provide a document that their language broker usually translates for them. For the purpose of data analysis, the document will be xeroxed and any identifiable information will be erased. The original documents will be returned to each family.

Reflective Journal

The last form of data will be keeping a reflective journal and field notes. The journal allows the researcher to describe his feelings about conducting research in this area of study. According to Morrow and Smith (2000), the use of a reflective journal adds rigor to qualitative inquiry as the investigator is able to record his/her reactions, assumptions, expectations, and biases about the research process. The field notes wil provide additional data for the analysis.

Results

Data Recording

Before the data are analyzed, the researcher will transcribe all audio recordings of parental and child/adolescent interviews and reconciled with observations, documents, journal entries, and field notes. The process of transcribing allows the researcher to become acquainted with the data (Reissman, 1993).

The researcher will create Microsoft Word files for the interviews, observations, documents, and journal entries. All files will be protected by setting a password. All files will be saved in the researcher’s portable computer for which he only has access to. The researcher will use the meaning of analysis context as the unit of analysis for coding and also looked for descriptions. This means that the data are not coded sentence by sentence or paragraph by paragraph, but coded for meaning. The researcher used the qualitative software Atlas.ti 4.52 program for data management and analysis.

This study will follow the multiple case study design where the data are analyzed case by case through thematic analysis and later by cross-case analysis (Stake, 2006). Thus, interviews, observations, documents, and field notes will be analyzed for each case. Following the case-by-case analysis, all themes are used to conduct the cross-case analysis. Themes salient across all cases will be kept as well as those that are extremely different. For the thematic analysis, the researcher will follow Braun and Clarke (2006) step-by-step guidelines. The authors used the word guidelines to highlight the flexibility of this qualitative analytic method. These guidelines are (a) familiarizing yourself with your data, (b) generating initial codes, (c) read throughout each transcript to immerse in the data, (d) reviewing themes, (e) defining and naming themes, and (f) produce the report. Stake (2006) describes three different cross case procedures for a multiple case study. For this qualitative study, the researcher will follow a merging findings procedure. According to Stake, the researcher whose priority is to merge the findings across cases should use this particular method. This method also allows the researcher to make generalizations about the cases.

Reliability, Validity, and Bias Checks

Qualitative researchers utilize various validation strategies to make their studies credible and rigorous (Creswell & Miller, 2000). Credibility for this study (i.e., reliability, validity, and lack of bias) will be achieved using the validation strategies of triangulation, researcher reflexivity, thick rich description, and peer debriefing.

The data will be triangulated with the various forms of data that were collected in this study (i.e., interviews, observations, documents, reflective journal entries, and field notes). The researcher, being a language broker himself, provides a section at the end of this chapter where he describes his story as a language broker and his stand on the issue as well as potential bias. Thick rich description will be achieved by presenting the participants’ voices under each theme and by providing detailed description of each of the cases. Finally, the researcher will inquire the assistance of two peer debriefers. Both of these individuals are familiar with qualitative data analysis. The two individuals have agreed to serve this role for the time this study took place.

Using Stake’s “critique checklist”, the researcher will rely on it to assess the quality of the report (1995, p.131). This twenty criteria checklist is used to assess the quality of case study reports and they are:

Is the report easy to read?

Does it fit together, each sentence contributing to the whole?

Does the report have a conceptual structure (for example, themes or issues?)

Are its issues developed in a serious and scholarly way?

Is the case adequately defined?

Is there a sense of story to the presentation?

Is the reader provided with some vicarious experience?

Have quotations been used effectively?

Are headings, figures, artifacts, appendixes, and indexes used effectively?

Was it edited well, then again with a last minute polish?

Has the writer made sound assertions, neither over-nor under-interpreting?

Has adequate attention being paid to various contexts?

Were sufficient raw data presented?

Were the data resources well chosen and in sufficient number?

Do observations and interpretations appear to have been triangulated?

Are the role and point of view of the researcher nicely apparent?

Is the nature of the intended audience apparent?

Is empathy shown for all sides?

Are personal intentions examined?

Does it appear that individuals were put at risk?

An attempt will be made to minimize bias and ethical concerns. First, all of the parents will be interviewed and talked about their experiences as having their children serve as translators and interpreters. Similarly all the language brokers will talk about their experiences as child brokers. Secondly, there is the possibility that language brokers may feel uncomfortable discussing their experiences or talk about personal information about their families. Thirdly, given that this study dealt with immigrant families, there is the potential that participants may feel the pressure to answer all the questions designed for the interview given that the researcher holds a position of power.

Descriptive Statistics

A demographic questionnaire will be administered to both the parents and the children (see Appendices L and M). The gender will be equal in terms of males and females for both parents and child/adolescents. The parents should range in age from 25-50; the children and adolescents should be from 5-18. I anticipate that the parents will have an average of four children and the parent with the highest level of education will have an average of 11 years (the average for the children is expected to be six years). The parents will have lived in the U.S.an average of 12 years. The child/adolescent brokers will probably all have been born in the U.S. and be mostly first-born children. The preferred language for the parents will likely be Spanish and for the brokers it will be English. There are no preconceived ideas about their favorite school subjects for the children.

Although the child/adolescent broker will be fluent in both languages, they will show a preference for English, but the parents will prefer Spanish. When language brokering occurs, it is expected that the questions will revolve around finances, school policies, and immigration status. Questions about marital relations and friendships are not expected to be brokered.

Test of Research Questions

The interviews, observations, documents, and journals are likely to reveal that parents appreciate the brokering process and feel somewhat embarrassed about having to rely on the child or adolescent to provide this service. The parents should report that the quality of the brokering is higher when done by their teenage children as compared to pre-teens, and that the girls are better brokers than the boys. The children are likely to report that they are proud to be a resource for their parents but feel bad that the parents do not have a fluent command of the second language. It is anticipated, based on prior research, that the children who serve as brokers will be (a) more cognitively developed than the other children in the family, and that (b) the parent/child relationship will be more mature and of more equal status for the broker children compared to the other children in the family. Of course, these are best guesses about the answers and other information will be processed and integrated into a complete profile of the brokering process.

Exploratory Analyses

When the parents and children are asked to add any information that they feel is important but was not covered in the protocols, this information will be coded and analyzed for its relevance and possible use in future studies. The more general findings from testing the question above will be analyzed in relation to the demographic variables described under descriptive statistics above.

Discussion

Once children of immigrant families become familiar with the English language, they often serve as translators and interpreters for their non-fluent parents and family members. These children, known in the social and behavioral sciences as language brokers, are repeatedly asked and sometimes expected to assist their parents in very complex adult level situations that may surpass their cognitive abilities. Scholarship also suggests that the primary users of language brokers are parents, yet no studies have included how language brokering affects the immigrant family when the parents’ and brokers’ perspectives are incorporated. The goal of this study is to focus on qualitative findings in order to gain an in-depth understanding of how language brokering is experienced by Mexican immigrant parents and their children. The central research question that this study aims to answer is: What is the role of language brokering in Mexican immigrant families living in the Midwest.

Interpretation of Major Findings

Qualitative research is generally focused on discovery and exploration rather than explanation or hypothesis testing. This proposed qualitative study is no exception, and thus the major findings will possibly be new discoveries. Nevertheless, the literature does suggest some likely findings as described above in the Results section. If the following results do emerge as anticipated, they will help to advance our understanding of language brokering. For example, I expect to find that parents appreciate the brokering process and feel somewhat embarrassed about having to rely on the child or adolescent to provide this service. If this is the case, it reflects the fact that many immigrant families feel marginalized in society. As another example, the parents will probably report that the quality of the brokering is higher when done by their teenage children as compared to pre-teens, and that the girls are better brokers than the boys. This finding would be consistent with the typical dynamic in Mexican American families where older children take on added responsibilities and that girls take on more mental tasks and boys more physical tasks. The children are likely to report that they are proud to be a resource for their parents but feel bad that the parents do not have a fluent command of the second language. Feeling “bad” may ultimate lead to feelings of awkwardness and resentment toward their parents as the children grow older. Finally, the advance cognitive development of the child brokers and any special relationship between the broker and the parent may lead to jealousies and rivalries with the other members of the family.

Limitations of the Study

The limitations of this proposed study are not much different than the limitations on most qualitative investigations. The limitations fall into two general areas. First, there is the limitation on the generality of the findings. With only six families being studied, it is extremely difficult to generalize the results to the larger population of Mexican immigrants. The data can provide some suggestions about the brokering process, but no firm conclusions can be draw with such a small sample size. The second limitation falls in the category of investigator effects. Although I will attempt to be neutral and unbiased during the interview and observation process, and will make every effort to transcribe the protocols objectively, there is always the possibility that my pre-conceived ideas about brokering may color my analysis of the raw data.

Future Research Directions

Future research will be primarily informed by the results themselves, and the direction future research takes will be influenced by what new and unexpected findings emerge. Nevertheless, regardless of the future path, certain methodological changes can and should be made. For example, more than one researcher should be involved in the collection and analysis of the raw material from the interviews, observations, documents, and journals. This will allow for an assessment of reliability using inter-observer/rater agreement. As another example of methodological improvements, more families should be sampled to achieve a larger sample size, and these families should, ideally, be a representative (random) sample from some known population (e.g., the population of immigrates in a particular community). Lastly, more than a single community should be included in future studies (e.g., communities from not only the Midwest, but also from the Southwest, West Coast, etc.)

Implications

This study will contribute in a various ways to the literature on language brokering. First, this study will include language brokers from both genders, with different educational levels, and their two parents. This allows interpreting the findings from the child brokers’ and parents’ perspective and taking into consideration the gender and developmental status of the language broker. Second, the literature in language brokering has focused on those brokers residing in predominantly Latino communities, while this study includes immigrant families from the Midwest living in predominantly white communities. Third, although academic performance was not explored in this study, the majority of the language brokers that participated had the opportunity to report their favorite subject in school, and this should provide some insight into the brokerage process. Fourth, including the parents of child brokers will provide richer information about the parent-child relationship. Fifth, language brokering affects both the children who play the broker role and their parents, and this study will provide more information about how parents and the child brokers feel about their language brokering experiences.

General Summary and Conclusions

The proposed qualitative study focuses on two research approaches. First, the study reviews the literature on the topic of brokering within the immigrant communities and highlight certain themes or trends. These themes are (a) language brokering appears to be a female dominated phenomenon, (b) there appears to be a relationship between language brokering and cognitive development, but the academic achievement among language brokers is inconclusive, (c) immigrant parents and their children may develop a different type of relationship as a result of language brokering, and (d) the experience of language brokering may cause parents and children to develop a variety of feelings regarding their experiences.

The second focus of the study is to investigate the brokering process with six immigrant families by following a multiple case-study design using interviews, observations, documents, journals, and field notes. A few findings will be anticipated given results from previous studies reviewed, but mainly I anticipate discovering new phenomena related to brokering. Follow-up studies should investigate these new phenomena and should attempt to use more rigorous methods. This study is expected to provide a new perspective to the scholarship on language brokering by including language brokers and their primary users, parents.

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Appendix A

Informed Consent Form

English

Language Brokering in Mexican-Immigrant Families Living in the Midwest: A Multiple Case Study

Dear Participant:

You are invited to participate in a research study that will attempt to understand the experiences of Mexican-immigrant families with children who serve as translators and/or interpreters. You can decide not to participate. The following information is provided in order to help you make an informed decision whether or not you would like to participate. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask. You are eligible to participate in this study because you have reported having a child who serves as a translator and/or interpreter.

Project: Language Brokering in Mexican-Immigrant Families Living in the Midwest: A Multiple Case Study

Purpose of the Project: This study will investigate the experiences of Mexican-Immigrant families who have children who serve as translators and/or interpreters for their families.

Procedures: You will be asked to participate in an interview with your spouse and allow the primary investigator to observe you during a time when your child is translating for your family. The interview will take approximately one hour to one hour and a half of your time. The interview will be audio-recorded and will take place at your home. During this interview you will be asked a series of questions. These questions are designed to allow you to share your experiences as a parent of a child who serves as your translator and/or interpreter. Additionally, you will be asked to fill out a demographic sheet that will include demographic information and questions where you have and have not asked your child to translate and/or interpret for you. The observation will take approximately 25 minutes of your time and will take place two days after the interview. The observation will take place at your home and will be audio-recorded. The observation will consist in your child translating a document that he or she usually translates for you with you present. You will also be asked to provide a document that your child translates usually translates for you. This document will be xeroxed and any identifiable information will be deleted. The original document will be returned to you two days after the observation.

Risks and/or Discomforts: There are no known risks or discomforts associated with this research.

Benefits: The information gained from this study may help us to better understand the experiences of Mexican-immigrant families that have children who serve as translators and interpreters for their families.

Confidentiality: During the interview, you will be asked to provide a pseudonym to insure that your identity. The audio-recording will be assigned the pseudonym that you pick during the interview. The demographic sheet will not identify you. The demographic sheet will only have the pseudonym that you picked during the interview. The xeroxed copy of the document you provide will be kept with the rest of the demographic sheets. Audio tapes will only be used to transcribe interview. Once the interview is transcribed, the audio tapes, interview transcripts, and the xeroxed copies of the documents you provide will be kept for 5 years in a locked cabinet at the university in the office of the secondary investigator and the primary and secondary investigator will only have access to them. You will not be asked to write your name on the anonymous demographic sheets. Once all demographic sheets are entered in a database, they will be destroyed. The information obtained during this study may be published in scientific journals or presented at scientific meetings but the data will be prepared as aggregated data.

Compensation: You will not receive any type of compensation for participating in this study.

Opportunity to Ask Questions: You may ask any questions concerning this research and have those questions answered before agreeing to participate or during the study. Or you may call Alejandro Morales at any time, (402) 472-5413 or email morales1@bigred.unl.edu or Oksana Yakushko at (402) 472-2119 or email oyakushko2@unl.edu. If you have questions about your rights as a research participant that have not been answered by the investigator or report any concerns about the study, you may contact the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institutional Review Board, telephone (402) 472-6965.

Freedom to Withdraw: You are free to decide not to enroll in this study or to withdraw at any time without adversely affecting their or your relationship with the investigator or the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Your decision will not result in any loss of benefits to which you are otherwise entitled.

Consent: If you wish to participate in this study, you will be interviewed, observed, filled out a demographic sheet and provide a document your child usually translates for you.

You are voluntary making a decision whether or not to participate in this research study. Your signature certifies that you have decided to participate having read and understood the information presented. You will be given a copy of this consent form to keep.

_________________________________________ ___________________

Signature of Participant Date

I hereby give consent to audio record my interview.

_________________ ___________________

Initials of Participant Date

In my judgment I am voluntary and knowingly giving informed consent and possess the legal capacity to give informed consent to participate in this research study.

_________________________________________ ___________________

Signature of Investigator Date

Alejandro Morales, M.A. Office: (402) 472-5413

Department of Educational Psychology Fax: (402) 472-8319

114 Teachers College Hall

Lincoln, NE 68588-0345

Oksana Yakushko, Ph.D Office: (402) 472-2119

Department of Educational Psychology Fax: (402) 472-8319

235 Teachers College Hall

Lincoln, NE 68588-0345

Aprendiz B

Espanol

Información sobre Investigación

Un Caso Multiple de Familias de Descendencia Mexicana Viviendo en el Medio Oeste que Tienen Hijos que Traducen e Interpretan

Querido Participante:

Usted ha sido invitado a participar en la siguiente investigación sobre las experiencias de Familias Mexicanas que tienen niños o adolescentes que traducen o interpretan. Usted puede pedir no participar. Lea la siguiente descripción y después decida si usted no quiere participar. Al final encontrara información sobre como no participar. Usted es elegible para participar en esta investigacion porque usted ha reportado tener un hijo/a que ha tomado el papel de traductor o interprete en su familia.

Proyecto: Un Caso Multiple de Familias de Descendencia Mexicana Viviendo en el Medio Oeste que Tienen Hijos que Traducen e Interpretan

.

Objetivo del proyecto: Este estudio investigara las experiencias de familias Mexicanas que tiene hijos que han tomado el papel de traductores o interpretes.

Procedimientos: Usted sele pedira que participe en una entrevista y dejara al investigador obsevarlo cuando usted y su hijoa este traduciendo para su familia. La entrevista durara aproximadamente de una hora a hora y media de su tiempo. La entrevista será grabada y tomara lugar en su casa. Durante la entrevista se le harán una serie de preguntas. Estas preguntas han sido diseñadas para que usted pueda compartir sus experiencias como padre de un hijo/a que sirve el papel de traductor o interprete. Además se le pedira que conteste un cuestionario con preguntas demograficas y preguntas de situaciones donde su hija/o aya o no traducido para usted. La observación sera dos dias después de su entrevista, durara aproximadamente 25 minutos de su tiempo y sera grabada. La observación tomara lugar en su casa. La entrevista consistira en observar a usted y su hijo/a este traduciendo para usted y su esposo/a. Tambien se le pedira que provea un documento que su hijo/a haya traducido para usted. Este documento sera fotocopiado y cualquier información que lo identifique sera borrada. El documento original sera regresado a usted 2 dias después de la observación.

Riesgos y/o incomodidades: No hay ningun tipo de riesgos o desconformes asociados con esta investigación..

Beneficios: La información obtenida en este estudio nos ayudara a entender mejor las experiencias de familias Mexicanas que tienen hijos que sirven como traductores o intérpretes para sus familias.

Confidencialidad: Durante la entrevista se le pedirá que provea un seudónimo para asegurar que su identidad no sea revelada. Los casetes serán asignados con el seudónimo que usted haya escogido al principio de la entrevista. Todos los cuestionarios tendran el seudonimo que usted escogio durante la entrevista. La copia del documento que usted proveyo estara con el resto de los cuestionarios. Los casetes serán usados solamente para transcribir la entrevista. Una vez que la entrevista este transcrita los casetes, los transcritos y las copias de los documentos serán mantenido por un periodo de 5 años en un cajón bajo llave en la universidad en la oficina del investigador secundario y solamente el investigador primario y secundario tendrán acceso. Además no se le pedirá que escriba su nombre en el cuestionario anónimo. Una vez que todos los cuestionarios estén en una base de datos serán destruidos. La información obtenida durante esta investigación podría ser publicada en revistas científicas o presentada en conferencias científicas pero los datos serán presentados en grupo.

Compensación. Usted no recibirá ningún tipo de compensación si decide participar en esta investigación.

Oportunidad de hacer preguntas. Usted puede hacer preguntas sobre esta investigación y tener las respuestas a sus preguntas hoy o a cualquier tiempo durante el estudio. O usted puede hablarle a cualquier hora a Alejandro Morales para hablar sobre esta investigación, teléfono (402) 472-5413 o por email morales1@bigred.unl.edu o a Oksana Yakushko al (402) 472-2119 o por email oyakushko2@unl.edu. Si hay algo que le concierne sobre esta investigación o si Alejandro Morales no le puede contestar sus preguntas sobre sus derechos como participante en esta investigación o reportar preguntas sobre su estudio usted puede contactar a la Junta Institucional de Revisiones de la Universidad de Nebraska Lincoln, teléfono (402) 472-6965.

Libertad de retirarse. Su participación es voluntaria. Usted es libre de decidir no participar o retirarse de la investigación en cualquier momento. Si usted decide retirarse del estudio, no afectara su relación con Alejandro Morales, la Universidad de Nebraska o su escuela. Si usted se retira durante el estudio, no perderá los beneficios de los que usted esta permitido recibir.

Consentimiento. Si usted quiere participar en este estudio, usted será entrevistado/a, observado y llenara un cuestionario anónimo.

Usted esta tomando voluntariamente la decisión de participar o no en este estudio. Su firma certifica que usted esta dispuesto en participar habiendo leído y entendido la información aquí presentada. Una copia de esta forma será dada a usted.

_________________________________________ ___________________

Firma del Participante Fecha

Yo doy el consentimiento para que mi entrevista sea grabada.

____________________ ___________________

Iniciales del Participante Fecha

Es mi entendimiento que voluntariamente voy a participar y poseo la capacidad legal para poder participar en esta investigación.

_________________________________________ ___________________

Firma del Investigador Fecha

Alejandro Morales, M.A. Oficina: (402) 472-5413

Department of Educational Psychology Fax: (402) 472-8319

114 Teachers College Hall

Lincoln, NE 68588-0345

Oksana Yakushko, Ph.D. Oficina: (402) 472-2119

Department of Educational Psychology Fax: (402) 472-8319

235 Teachers College Hall

Lincoln, NE 68588-0345

Appendix C

Parental Informed Consent Form

Language Brokering in Mexican-Immigrant Families Living in the Midwest: A Multiple Case Study

Dear Parents:

You are invited to permit your child to participate in a research study that will attempt to understand the experiences of Mexican immigrant families with children who serve as translators and/or interpreters. The following information is provided in order to help you make an informed decision whether or not to allow your child to participate. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask. Your child is eligible to participate in this study because he/she serves as a translator and/or interpreter in your family.

Project: Language Brokering in Mexican-Immigrant Families Living in the Midwest: A Multiple Case Study

Purpose of the Project: This study will investigate the experiences of Mexican immigrant families with children who serve as translators and/or interpreters.

Procedures: Your child will be asked to participate in an interview, and allow the researcher to observe him/her while he/she interpreters a document for you and your spouse. The interview will take approximately one hour to one and a half hour of your child’s time. The interview will be audio-recorded and will take place at your home. During this interview your child/adolescent will be asked a series of questions. These questions are designed to allow your child/adolescent to share his/her experiences as a translator and/or interpreter. Additionally, your child will be asked to fill out a demographic sheet that will include demographic information and questions where he or she has and has not translated and interpreted for you. The observation will take place two days after the interview and will take approximately 25 minutes and will take place at your home and will be audio-recorded. The observation will consist in your child/adolescent translating a document that he/she usually translates for you with you present.

Risks and/or Discomforts: There are no risks or discomforts associated with this research.

Benefits: The information gained from this study may help us to better understand the experiences of Mexican immigrant families with children/adolescents who serve as translators and interpreters for their families.

Confidentiality: During the interview, your child will be asked to provide a pseudonym to insure that your child’s identity will not be revealed. The audiotape will be assigned the pseudonym that your child picked during the interview. The demographic sheet will not identify your child/adolescent. The demographic sheets will only have the pseudonym that your child picked during the interview. Audiotapes will only be used to transcribe interview. Once the interview is transcribed the audio tapes and interview transcripts will be kept for 5 years in a lock cabinet at the university in the office of the secondary investigator, and the primary and secondary investigator will only have access to them. Your child will not be asked to write his or her name on the anonymous questionnaire. Once all demographic sheets are entered in a database, they will be destroyed. The information obtained during this study may be published in scientific journals or presented at scientific meetings but the data will be prepared as aggregated data.

Compensation: Your child will not receive any type of compensation for participating in this study.

Opportunity to Ask Questions: You may ask any questions concerning this research and have those questions answered before agreeing to participate or during the study. Or you may call Alejandro Morales at any time, (402) 472-5406 or email morales1@bigred.unl.edu or Oksana Yakushko at (402) 472-2119 or email oyakushko2@unl.edu. If you have questions concerning your child’s/adolescent’s rights as a research participant that have not been answered by the investigator or report any concerns about the study, you may contact the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institutional Review Board, telephone (402) 472-6965.

Freedom to Withdraw: You are free to decide not to enroll your child in this study or to withdraw your child at any time without adversely affecting their or your relationship with the investigator or the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Your decision will not result in any loss of benefits to which your child is otherwise entitled.

Consent: If you permit your child/adolescent to participate in this study, your child will be interviewed, observed, and asked to fill out a questionnaire at school.

You are voluntary making a decision whether or not to allow your child to participate in this research study. Your signature certifies that you have decided to allow your child to participate having read and understood the information presented. You will be given a copy of this consent form to keep.

____________________________________________ ___________________

Signature of Parent Date

I hereby give consent for my child’s interview to be audio recorded.

_________________ ___________________

Initials of Parent Date

In my judgment the parent/legal guardian is voluntary and knowingly giving informed consent and possesses the legal capacity to give informed consent to participate in this research study.

____________________________________________ ___________________

Signature of Investigator Date

Alejandro Morales, M.A. Office: (402) 472-5413

Department of Educational Psychology Fax: (402) 472-8319

114 Teachers College Hall

Lincoln, NE 68588-0345

Oksana Yakushko, Ph.D. Office: (402) 472-2119

Department of Educational Psychology Fax: (402) 472-8319

235 Teachers College Hall

Lincoln, NE 68588-0345

Aprendiz D

Espanol

Información sobre Investigación para Padre de Familia

Un Caso Multiple de Familias de Descendencia Mexicana Viviendo en Medio Oeste que Tienen Hijos que Traducen e Interpretan

Queridos Padres de Familia:

Su hija/o ha sido invitado a participar en una investigación acerca las experiencias de familias Mexicanas con hijos que traducen o interpretan para sus padres. Usted puede decidir sobre la participación de su hijo/a en esta investigacion. Lea la siguiente descripción y decida si usted desea o no participar. Al final encontrara información acerca de como pedir que su hija/o no participe. Su hijo/hija es elegible para participar en este estudio porque el/ella sirve como traductor/a o interprete en su familia.

Proyecto: Un Case Multiple de Familias de Descendencia Mexicana Viviendo en Medio Oeste que Tienen Hijos que Traducen e Interpretan.

Objetivo del proyecto: En este estudio se investigaran las experiencias de familias de descendencia Mexicana que tienen hijos/as que han tomado el papel de traductores o interpretes.

Procedimientos: A su hijo/a se le pedira que participate en una entrevista y una observación la cual se realizara por el investigador en la cual su hijo/a tendra que traducir para usted. La entrevista durara de una hora a una hora y media del tiempo de su hijo/a. La entrevista será grabada y se efectuara en su hogar. Durante la entrevista se le harán una serie de preguntas a su hijo/a. Estas preguntas han sido diseñadas para que su hijo pueda compartir sus experiencias como traductor o interprete. Además su hijo/a se le pedirá que conteste un cuestionario que incluye información demográfica y preguntas de situaciones donde su hija/o aya o no traducido para usted. La observación se llevara acabo dos dias después de la entrevista, tomara lugar en su casa y durara aproximadamente 25 minutos. La observación consistira en que su hijo/a traduzca algo un documento que el o ella usualmente traduce para usted estando usted presente.

Riesgos y/o incomodidades: No hay ningun riesgo reconocido por participar en esta investigación.

Beneficios: La información obtenida en este estudio nos ayudara a entender mejor las experiencias de familias de descendencia Mexicana que tienen hijos/as que sirven como traductores o interpretes para sus familias.

Confidencialidad: A lo largo de la entrevista se le pedirá a su hijo/a que se identifique con un pseudónimo para asegurar que la identidad de su hijo/a no sea revelada. Los casetes serán asignados con el pseudónimo que su hijo/a haya escogido al principio de la entrevista. Los cuestionarios solo tendran el seudonimo que su hija/o escogio al principio de la entrevista. La copia del documento que usted Los casetes serán usados solamente para transcribir la entrevista. Una vez que la entrevista este transcrita los casetes y los transcritos serán reguardados por un periodo de 5 años en un cajón bajo llave en la universidad en la oficina del investigador secundario y solamente ellos tendrán acceso a ellos. Además a su hijo/a no se le pedirá que escriba su nombre en el cuestionario anónimo. Una vez que todos los cuestionarios estén en una base de datos serán destruidos. La información obtenida durante esta investigación podría ser publicada en revistas científicas o presentada en conferencias científicas pero los datos serán presentados en grupo y de manera anonima.

Compensación. Su hijo/a no recibirá ningun tipo de compensacion si decide participar en esta investigación.

Oportunidad de hacer preguntas. Si tiene dudas usted puede hacer preguntas acerca de esta investigación y sus preguntas seran contestadas a la brevedad posible. Si usted desea puede contactar a Alejandro Morales a cualquier hora para hablar sobre esta investigación, teléfono (402) 472-5416 o por email morales1@bigred.unl.edu o a Oksana Yakushko at (402) 472-2119 o por email oyakushko2@unl.edu. Si hay algo que le concierne sobre esta investigación o si Alejandro Morales no le puede contestar sus preguntas sobre sus derechos como participante en esta investigación o aclarar cualquier duda que tenga sobre este estudio usted puede contactar a la Junta Institucional de Revisiones de la Universidad de Nebraska Lincoln, teléfono (402) 472-6965.

Libertad de retirarse. La participación de su hija/o es voluntaria. Usted o su hijo están libres de decidir no participar o retirarse de la investigación en cualquier momento. Si usted decide retira a su hija/o del estudio, no afectara su relación con el investigador, la Universidad de Nebraska o su escuela. Si usted decide retirar a su hijo/a durante el estudio, no perderá los beneficios.

Consentimiento. Si usted quiere que su hija/o participe en este estudio, su hija/o sera entrevistado/a, observado y llenara un cuestionario anonimo.

Usted esta tomando voluntariamente la decisión de que su hijo/a participe o no en este estudio. Su firma certifica que usted ha dejado a su hijo/a participar habiendo leído y entendido la información aqui presentada. Una copia de esta forma será entregada a usted.

____________________________________________ ___________________

Firma del Padre de Familia Fecha

Yo doy el consentimiento que la entrevista de mi hijo/a sea grabada.

________________________ ___________________

Iniciales del Padre de Familia Fecha

Es mi entendimiento que el padre/guardian voluntariamente sabe que esta dando permiso de participar y posee la capacidad legal para poder dar el permiso de participar en esta investigación a su hijo/a.

____________________________________________ ___________________

Firma del Investigador Fecha

Alejandro Morales, M.A. Oficina: (402) 472-5413

Department of Educational Psychology Fax: (402) 472-8319

114 Teachers College Hall

Lincoln, NE 68588-0345

Oksana Yakushko, Ph.D. Oficina: (402) 472-2119

Department of Educational Psychology Fax: (402) 472-8319

235 Teachers College Hall

Lincoln, NE 68588-0345

Appendix E

English

Youth Assent Form

Language Brokering in Mexican Immigrant Families Living in the Midwest: A Multiple Case Study

You are being invited to participate in this research study because you are an adolescent of Mexican descent who has reported to serve as a translator and/or interpreter, and I am interested in understanding your experiences playing these roles. This research study will investigate the experiences of Mexican immigrant families with children/adolescents who serve as translators and/or interpreters.

The research will take you about two hours of your time. First, you will be interviewed by the researcher for an hour to one hour and a half. The interview will be audio-recorded and will take place at your home. During this interview, you will be asked a series of questions. These questions are designed to allow you to share your experiences as a translator and/or interpreter. Also, you will be asked to fill out a demographic sheet with questions about your demographics and questions where you have and have not translated and interpreted for your parents. You will also be asked to participate in an observation, where you will be translating a document for your parents. The observation will take about 25 minutes and will be audio-recorded. The observation will take place in your home.

The interview is somewhat long and may be a little boring. Being in the study will help the researcher and other researchers to better understand how serving the role of translator and interpreter influences adolescents like you.

You will be asked to use a pseudonym before the interview to achieve confidentiality. Your responses in the demographic sheets will be strictly confidential. I may publish a summary of everybody’s responses or present a summary at a scientific meeting, but your identity and your responses would be totally confidential.

I will also ask your parents for their permission for you to participate in this study. Please talk this over with them before you decide whether or not to participate.

If you have any questions at any time, please ask the researcher.

If you check “yes,” it means that you have decided to participate and have read everything that is on this form. You and your parents will be given a copy of this form to keep.

______ Yes, I would like to participate in the study.

______ No, I do not want to participate in the study.

_________________________________________ ___________________

Signature of Participant Date

_________________________________________ ___________________

Signature of Investigator Date

Alejandro Morales, M.A. Office: (402) 472-5413

Department of Educational Psychology Fax: (402) 472-8319

114 Teachers College Hall

Lincoln, NE 68588-0345

Oksana Yakushko, Ph.D. Office: (402) 472-2119

Department of Educational Psychology Fax: (402) 472-8319

235 Teachers College Hall

Lincoln, NE 68588-0345

Aprendiz F

Espanol

Forma de Asentimiento para Adolescentes

Un Caso Multiple de Familias de Descendencia Mexicana Viviendo en el Medio Oeste que Tienen Hijos que Traducen y Interpretan

Has sido invitado a participar en este estudio de investigaciones porque eres un adolescente de decendencia Mexicana y nos has informado haber servido como traductor o interprete de tu familia. Estoy interesado en saber mas acerca del desarrollo de esta actividad. En este estudio se investigaran las experiencias de familias de descendencia Latina con hijos/as que sirven como interpretes y traductores.

La investigación durara aproximadamente dos horas. Primeramente seras entrevistado por el investigador por una hora a una hora y media. La entrevista sera grabada y se llevara acabo en tu casa. Durante la entrevista se te haran una serie de preguntas. Estas preguntas estan diseñadas para que puedas compartir tus experiencias como traductor o interprete de tu familia. Ademas, se te pedira que llenes un cuestionario que incluye preguntas con informacion demografica y preguntas sobre lugares donde hayas o no traducido o interpretado para tus papas Tambien se realizara una observación donde tu estaras traduciendo un documento para tus padres. La observación durara alrededor de 25 minutos y tambien sera grabada. La observación tomara lugar en tu casa..

Probablemente la entrevista te resulte un poco larga. Tu participacion en este estudio ayudara al investigador y otros investigadores a entender mejor las repercusiones que conlleva fungir como traductor o interprete de tu familia y como estas practicas influyen en adolescentes como tu.

Durante la investigación se te pedira que uses un seudonimo antes de la entrevista para mantener la información de una manera confidencial. Tus respuestas al cuestionario se mantendran de forma confidencial. Probablemente los resultados en forma de resumen podrian publicarse o presentarse en una conferencia cientifica, pero tu identidad y tus respuestas seran confidenciales.

A lo largo de este estudio pedire el permiso de tus padres para que puedas participar en este estudio. Por favor habla con ellos sobre esto antes de que decidas si quieres o no participar.

Si tienes alguna pregunta de cualquier tipo, por favor no dudes en preguntar al investigador.

Si marcas “si” quiere decir que has decidido participar y has leido toda la información descrita que esta en esta forma. Tus padres y tu obtendran una copia de este documento.

______ Si me gustaria participar en este estudio.

______ No me gustaria participar en este estudio.

_________________________________________ ___________________

Firma del Participante Fecha

_________________________________________ ___________________

Firma del Investigador Fecha

Alejandro Morales, M.A. Oficina: (402) 472-5413

Department of Educational Psychology Fax: (402) 472-8319

114 Teachers College Hall

Lincoln, NE 68588-0345

Oksana Yakushko, Ph.D. Oficina: (402) 472-2119

Department of Educational Psychology Fax: (402) 472-8319

235 Teachers College Hall

Lincoln, NE 68588-0345

Appendix G

English

Child Assent Form

Language Brokering in Mexican-Immigrant Families Living in the Midwest: A Multiple Case Study

You are invited to take part in a study because you are a child of Mexican descent who has reported to serve as a translator and/or interpreter, and I am interested in understanding your experiences playing these roles. Being in the study will help me and other people interested in children who serve as translators and interpreters to better understand the how serving these roles influence children like you.

In this study I will try to learn more about your experiences as a translator and interpreter. To do the study you will be interviewed and observed by the researcher. The interview will be audio-recorded and will take place at your home. During this interview, you will be asked a series of questions. These questions help you to talk about your experiences as a translator and/or interpreter. The interview is somewhat long and may be a little boring. You will also be observed when you are translating a document to your parents. The observation with also be audio-recorded. Additionally, you will be asked to fill out a demographic sheet that will include demographic information and questions where you have and have not translated and/or interpreted for your parents.

Your parents will also be asked to give their permission for you to take part in this study. Please talk this over your parents before you decide whether or not to participate.

You do not have to be in this study if you do not want to. If you decide to participate in the study, you can stop at anytime.

If you have any questions at any time, please ask the researcher.

If you sign this form it means that you have decided to participate and have read everything that is on this form. You and your parents will be given a copy of this form to keep.

_________________________________________ ___________________

Signature of Participant Date

_________________________________________ ___________________

Signature of Investigator Date

Alejandro Morales, M.A. Office: (402) 472-5413

Department of Educational Psychology Fax: (402) 472-8319

114 Teachers College Hall

Lincoln, NE 68588-0345

Oksana Yakushko, Ph.D. Office: (402) 472-2119

Department of Educational Psychology Fax: (402) 472-8319

235 Teachers College Hall

Lincoln, NE 68588-0345

Aprendiz H

Espanol

Forma de Acceptacion para Niños/as

Un Caso Multiple de Familias de Decendencia Mexicana Viviendo en el Medio Oeste que Tienen Hijos que Traducen y Interpretan

Has sido invitado a participar este estudio porque eres un niño/a de descendencia Mexicana que ha informado haber actuado como traductor o intérprete para su familia y estoy interesado en saber más sobre estos papeles que tú has tomado. Tu participacion en este estudio ayudara al investigador y otras personas a entender mejor las repercusiones de haber fingido como de traductor o interprete influye y como esta actividad influye a niños como tu.

En este estudio tratare de entender tus experiencias como traductor o interprete. Para poder realizar acerca de este estudio serás entrevistado y observado por el investigador. La entrevista será grabada y llevara acabo en tu casa. Durante esta entrevista se te harán una serie de preguntas. Estas preguntas te ayudaran a compartir tu experiencia como traductor o interprete. La entrevista puede resultar larga y puede ser aburrida o te puedes sentir un poco incomodo hablando de tus experiencias. Tambien seras observado cuando estes traduciendo un documento a tus papas. La observación tambien sera grabada. Además, se te pedirá que llenes un cuestionario que incluye preguntas con infamación demográfica y preguntas sobre lugares donde hayas o no traducido o interpretado para tus papas.

Durante este estudio pediré permiso a tus padres para que puedas participar en este estudio. Por favor habla con ellos sobre esto antes de que decidas si quieres o no participar.

Tu tienes el derecho a decidir tu participación en esta investigación. No tienes que estar en este estudio si no quieres. Si decides participar en este proyecto tambien puedes dejarlo cuando lo desees.

Si tienes alguna duda por favor no dejes de contactar al investigador en cualquier momento.

Si firmas esta forma quiere decir que has decidido participar y has leído toda la informacioin incluida en esta forma. A tus padres y a ti se les proporcionara una copia de este documento.

_________________________________________ ___________________

Firma de Participante Fecha

_________________________________________ ___________________

Firma del Investigador Fecha

Alejandro Morales, M.A. Oficina: (402) 472-5413

Department of Educational Psychology Fax: (402) 472-8319

114 Teachers College Hall

Lincoln, NE 68588-0345

Oksana Yakushko, Ph.D. Oficina: (402) 472-2119

Department of Educational Psychology Fax: (402) 472-8319

235 Teachers College Hall

Lincoln, NE 68588-0345

Appendix I

Interview Protocol-Parents

Date____________________ Family ID_______________

Pseudonyms____________________________

Introduction

Introduce yourself

Discuss the purpose of the study

Provide informed consent

Provide structure of the interview (audio recording, taking notes, and use of pseudonym)

Ask if they have any questions

Test audio recording equipment

SMILE-make the participants feel comfortable

Questions about the Language brokering experience

Think of a time when your child interpreted and/or translated for you.

Describe this experience you mentioned.

What was this experience like for you?

What does your child usually translate and/or interpret for you?

Tell me about it

How often does your child translate and/or interpret for you?

Week?

Month?

Can you recall a time that you felt your child had difficulty translating and/or interpreting?

Tell me about it

How did you know he/she was having a hard time?

Have any of your other children ever translated and/or interpreted for you?

Describe the situation to me.

What do you do when your _______ (name of language broker) cannot translate and/or for you?

Give me some examples.

Feelings about Language Brokering

How do you feel when your child interprets and/or translates for you?

Why do you think you feel like that?

How do you think your child feels when he/she translates and/or interprets for you?

Positive (Describe to me some examples)

Negative (describe to me some examples)

Language Brokering and the Family

What is your relationship like with ______ (name of broker) who is the interpreter and/or translator in your family?

Is it different compared to your other children who do not broker? (Give me some examples)

Tell me a little bit more about it

Qualities and Characteristics of the Language Broker

Could you share some reasons why you picked _________ (name of the broker) to be the translator and/or interpreter of the family?

Give me some examples

Suggestions and Recommendations about Language Brokering

What are your thoughts about children like yours who translate and/or interpret for their parents?

Do you think there any benefits to being an interpreter and/or translator? (Can you give me some examples)

Are there any disadvantages? (Can you give me some examples)

What are some advice you may want to give to parents who have children who translate and/or interpret for them?

Can you give some examples

Concluding Questions and Statements

Is there anything else you would like to add or share about this topic that you feel is important for me to know?

Besides what we talked about?

Concluding Statement

Thank them for their participation

Ask if they would like to see a copy of the results

Record any observations, feelings, thoughts and/or reactions about the interview

Appendix J

Interview Protocol-Child

Date____________________ Family ID_______________

Pseudonym____________________________

Introduction

Introduce yourself

Discuss the purpose of the study

Provide Parental consent, Child/Adolescent Assent and obtain signatures.

Provide structure of the interview (audio recording, taking notes, and use of pseudonym)

Ask if they have any questions

Test audio recording equipment

SMILE-make the participant feel comfortable

Questions about the Language brokering experience

Tell me a story about the last time you interpreted and/or translated for your mom and dad. (Describe the story to me)

What do you usually translate and/or interpret for your parents?

Tell me about it

How often do you translate and/or interpret for your parents?

Week?

Month?

Can you recall a time when you felt you were having difficulty translating and/or interpreting?

Tell me about it

What made it so difficult?

Do your brothers and sisters translate and/or interpret for your mom and dad?

Describe the situation to me.

Feelings about Language Brokering

How do you feel when you translate and/or interpret for your mom and dad?

Why do you think you feel that way?

Positive (Provide me with an example)

Negative (Provide me with an example)

Think of a time where you were translating and interpreting for your parents. How do you think your parents felt when you were interpreting and/or translating for them?

Why do you think your mom and dad felt that way?

Language Brokering and the Family

What is your relationship like with your parents?

Is it different compared to your other brothers and sisters who do not broker? (Give some examples)

Has it changed since you started brokering?

Tell me more about it

Qualities and Characteristics of the Language Broker

What do you think are some of the reasons your parents picked you to be the translator and/or interpreter of the family?

Give me some examples

Suggestions and Recommendations about Language Brokering

What are your thoughts about children such as yourself who translate and/or interpret for their parents?

What do you think are some good for things about being a translator and interpreter for your parents? (Give me some examples)

What do you think are some bad things about being a translator and/or interpreter for your parents? (Give me some examples)

What advice would you give to children like yourself who translate and/or interpret for their parents?

Give me some examples

Imagine yourself as a parent with a child who interpreted and/or translated for you what advice you may want to give to other parents with children that are interpreters and/or translators?

Give me some examples

Concluding Questions and Statements

Is there anything else you would like to add or share about your experience as the family’s translator and interpreter that you feel is important for me to know?

Besides of what we talked about?

Concluding Statement

Thank them for their participation

Ask if they would like to see a copy of the results

Record any observations, feelings, thoughts and/or reactions about the interview

Appendix K

Observation Protocol

I.D: ____________________________ Date:____________________

Time: ___________________________ Place: ___________________

Observation

Reflection

Appendix L

Demographic Questionnaire

Parent

ID #_____________

Date_____________

Gender

____ Male ____ Female

Age

___________ years

Highest Educational Level

__________________

Years Living in the United States

___________________

How many sons do you have?

_________________________

What are their Ages?

_______________

_______________

_______________

_______________

How many daughters do you have?

___________________________

What are their Ages?

_______________

_______________

_______________

_______________

What language does your son/daughter (the one who serves primarily as a language broker) like to speak the most?

______ English

______ Spanish

______ Both

What language does your son/daughter (the one who serves primarily as a language broker) speak to you?

_____ English

_____ Spanish

_____ Both

What language does your son/daughter (the one who serves primarily as a language broker) speak to your brothers and sisters?

_____ English

_____ Spanish

_____ Both

How long have you been married?

____________________________

Think of situations where your son or daughter (the one who serves primarily as a language broker) has interpreted for you

________ Parent-Teacher Conferences _______ Doctor’s Appointments

________ Supermarket _______ Post-Office

________ Department Stores (e.g. Sears) _______ Bank

________ Government Offices (e.g. INS) ______ Dentist’s Appointments

________ Insurance Companies _______ In the street

________ In the car _______ TV shows

________ Making appointments over the phone _______ Music over the radio

________ Other: ____________________________________________________

Think of documents and other types of papers your son or daughter (the one who serves primarily as a language broker) has translated for you

________ Notes from Teachers _______ Letters from Doctors

________ Prescriptions _______ Credit Card Offers

________ Bank Statements _______ Credit Card Statements

________ Documents from Government Offices _______ Letters from School

________ Insurance Forms _______ Billboards

________ Employment Forms _______ Messages on TV

________ Messages on the radio __ Letters from Government Offices

________ Other: ____________________________________________________

Think of situations where your son or daughter (the one who serves primarily as a language broker) has NOT interpreted for you

________ Parent-Teacher Conferences _______ Doctor’s Appointments

________ Supermarket _______ Post-Office

________ Department Stores (e.g. Sears) _______ Bank

________ Government Offices (e.g. INS) _______ Dentist’s Appointments

________ Insurance Companies _______ In the street

________ In the car _______ TV shows

________ Making appointments over the phone _______ Music over the radio

________ Other: ____________________________________________________

Think of documents and other types of papers your son or daughter (the one who serves primarily as a language broker) has NOT translated for you

________ Notes from Teachers _______ Letters from Doctors

________ Prescriptions _______ Credit Card Offers

________ Bank Statements _______ Credit Card Statements

________ Documents from Government Offices _______ Letters from School

________ Insurance Forms _______ Billboards

________ Employment Forms _______ Messages on TV

________ Messages on the radio __ Letters from Government Offices

________ Other: ____________________________________________________

Appendix M

Demographic Information

Child

ID #_____________

Date_____________

1. Gender

____ Male ____ Female

2. Age

___________ years

3. What grade are you in?

__________________

4. Where were you born?

__________________________

5. Birth order

____ First

____ Second

____ Third

____ Fourth

____ Fifth

____ Sixth > ___________________________

6. What language do you like to speak the most?

______ English

______ Spanish

______ Both

7. What language do you speak to your parents?

_____ English

_____ Spanish

_____ Both

8. What language do you speak to your brothers and sisters?

_____ English

_____ Spanish

_____ Both

9. What is your favorite subject in school?

_________________________________________

10. What is your least favorite subject in school?

__________________________________________

11. Think of situations where you have interpreted for your parents

________ Parent-Teacher Conferences _______ Doctor’s Appointments

________ Supermarket _______ Post-Office

________ Department Stores (e.g. Sears) _______ Bank

________ Government Offices (e.g. INS) _______ Dentist’s Appointments

________ Insurance Companies _______ In the street

________ In the car _______ TV shows

________ Making appointments over the phone _______ Music over the radio

________ Other: ____________________________________________________

12. Think of documents and other types of papers you have translated for your parents

________ Notes from Teachers _______ Letters from Doctors

________ Prescriptions _______ Credit Card Offers

________ Bank Statements _______ Credit Card Statements

________ Documents from Government Offices _______ Letters from School

________ Insurance Forms _______ Billboards

________ Employment Forms _______ Messages on TV

________ Messages on the radio __ Letters from Government Offices

________ Other: ____________________________________________________