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Young Interpreters

Some kids in the U.S. these days are helping their parents in a unique way: by serving as their personal interpreters and translators. Parents that do not speak or understand English get assistance from their kids in everything from ordering a pizza to medical exams. Is this a useful skill for kids or does it create a conflict of interests by parents taking the easy way out?

With the extensive enclaves of different languages throughout the US, it is not unheard of for people to live for years, decades even, without learning to communicate in English. In the right area, New York city, southern Florida, etc., English is simply not a necessity for some. Day to day life can be conducted in Spanish, Polish or Korean. Kids however, have much more exposure and may speak one language at home and English at school.

So what happens when the parents need to attend a parent teacher conference or are being diagnosed with an illness that requires special attention and care? Can children be entrusted with this responsibility?

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