What is Sign Language Brokering? Dr. Jemina Napier explains. Available in International Sign Language and English.

Below is a summary of her post in Life in LINCS, 20 December, 2013. Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies, Heriot-Watt University.

Who are Codas/Kodas?
Hearing children whose parents are deaf are referred to as Codas (Children of Deaf Adults). Sometimes the term Kodas (Kids of Deaf Adults) is used to differentiate between adult and child Codas.

What is Language Brokering?
“Brokering” as opposed to “interpreting” refers to the practice of young bilingual children, whether using signed or spoken language, assisting their parents with communication. In the Deaf community, with the advent of professional interpreter services, many people assume that Codas no longer broker for their parents, but this is not the case in everyday experience. It is natural for young children to want to help their parents understand what is being communicated to them.

The Research
Historically most sign language interpreters were Codas, but this is no longer the case. Worldwide there is a great need for professional interpreters; demand far exceeds supply.

Prof. Napier’s research in language brokering in Deaf families from 2014 onwards was vital to gain a clearer picture of the interpreter needs of the Deaf community, with some of this need possibly being “masked” by children brokering rather than using professional interpreters.

It was also important to find out how the Coda brokering experience could be developed into positive linguistic and social competence, and how Codas could best be mentored to become professional interpreters.

Based on the research conducted by Prof. Napier and her team at Heriot-Watt University, Prof. Napier has published a book, Sign Language Brokering in Deaf-Hearing Families (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021).

Click on the image for details.

Dr. Napier summaries her article in International Sign Language. 

Posted by Jemina Napier on Youtube. 20 Dec, 2013.