A central focus of my work has been on the work that the children of immigrants do as language and culture brokers (interpreters/translators): the many ways in which they use their knowledge of two languages to speak, read, write, listen and do things for others.  I used to say ” for their families” – but importantly, kids are not just interpreting for their families, they are also serving the larger society, as they speak to and for doctors, teachers, store personnel, service providers and more.

This page provides links to my own work on this topic, as well information about a burgeoning field of research. See also the Cultural Modeling page for curriculum designed to build on the skills and knowledge gained from language brokering. Scroll down for links to additional resources about language brokering in diverse communities around the world, and a brochure for parents, teachers and kids.



Marjorie Faulstich Orellana. (2009). Translating Childhoods: Immigrant Youth, Language and Culture. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

A brief overview of my book, Translating Childhoods: Immigrant Youth, Language and Culture:

Journal articles and book chapters

Jennifer Reynolds and Marjorie Faulstich Orellana. (Forthcoming). Transliteracy practices by youth in new immigrant communities. In García Sánchez, I. & Orellana, M.F. Everyday Learning: Leveraging Immigrant Youth Language and Culture in Schools. New York: Routledge.

Marjorie Faulstich Orellana. (2017). Solidarity, transculturality, educational anthropology, and (the modest goal of) transforming the world. Anthropology and Education Quarterly.

Marjorie Faulstich Orellana. (2017). Dialoguing across differences: The past and future of language brokering research. International Journal of Bilingualism. (Special Issue on Language Brokering).

Krissia Martínez, Marjorie Faulstich Orellana, Marco Murillo and Michael Rodríguez. (2017). Health Insurance, from a Child Language Broker’s Perspective. International Migration.

Marjorie Faulstich Orellana and Ann Phoenix. (2016). Re-interpreting: Narratives of childhood language brokering over time. Childhoods, 0907568216671178.

Marjorie Faulstich Orellana. (2016). Dialoging Across Differences: The Past and Future of Language Brokering Research. International Journal of Bilingualism. (Special Issue on Language Brokering).

Angie Shu-Sha Guan, Afaf Nash and Marjorie Faulstich Orellana. (2015). Language brokering and social processes. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, DOI: 10.1080/01434632.2015.1044997.

Jennifer Reynolds, Marjorie Faulstich Orellana, and Inmaculada García Sánchez. (2015). In the service of surveillance: Immigrant child language brokers in parent-teacher conferences.” Language et société, 3(153).

Marjorie Faulstich Orellana (2015).  Culturally and linguistically appropriate practices for emergent bilinguals. In G. Valdés, K. Menken & M. Castro (Eds.) Common Core and English Learners/Emergent Bilinguals: A Guide for All Educators (pp. 82-83). Philadelphia, PA: Caslon Publishing.

Bailey, Alison, and Marjorie Faulstich Orellana. (2015). Adolescent development and everyday language practices: Implications for the academic literacy of learners in multilingual environments. In T. Boals, E. Sato & D. Molle (Eds.). Sociocultural Contexts of Academic Literacy Development for Adolescent English Language Learners. Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.

Marjorie Faulstich Orellana and Angie Shu-Sha Guan. (2015). Immigrant family settlement Processes and the work of child language brokers: Implications for child development.  In Suárez-Orozco, C., Abo-Zena, M. and Kerivan Marks, A. (Eds.) The Development of Immigrant-Origin Children and Youth: A Contextual Approach.  New York: New York University Press.

Jennifer Reynolds and Marjorie Faulstich Orellana. (2014). Translanguaging within enactments of quotidian interpreter-mediated interactions. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 24 (3): 315-338.

Angie Guan, Patricia Greenfield, and Marjorie Faulstich Orellana. (2014). Translating into understanding: Language brokering and prosocial development in emerging adults from immigrant families. Journal of Adolescent Research, 29(3): 331-355.

H. Julia Eksner and Marjorie Faulstich Orellana. (2012). Shifting in the Zone: Latina/o child language brokers and the co-construction of knowledge. Ethos, 40(2): 196-220.

Inmaculada García Sánchez, Marjorie Faulstich Orellana and Megan Hopkins. (2011). Facilitating Intercultural Communication in Parent-Teacher Conferences: Lessons from Child Translators. Multicultural Perspectives, 13 (3): 148-154.

Marjorie Faulstich Orellana. (2010). From Here to There: On the Process of an Ethnography of Language Brokering. mediAzioni 10. http://mediazioni.sitlec.unibo.it.

Jennifer Reynolds and Marjorie Faulstich Orellana. (2009). New Immigrant Youth Interpreting in White Public Space. American Anthropologist, 111 (2): 211-223.

Lisa Dorner, Marjorie Faulstich Orellana and Rosa Jiménez. (2008). “It’s Just Something You Do to Help Your Family:” The Development of Immigrant Youth Through Relationships and Responsibilities. Journal of Adolescent Development.

Lisa Dorner, Marjorie Faulstich Orellana, & Christine P. Li-Grining. (2007). “I helped my mom and it helped me:” Translating the skills of language brokers into improved standardized test scores. American Journal of Education, 113 (3).

Inmaculada García Sánchez and Marjorie Faulstich Orellana. (2006). The Construction of Moral and Social Identities in Immigrant Children’s Narratives-in-Translation. Linguistics and Education, 17 (3): 209-239.

Rosa Jiménez and Marjorie Faulstich Orellana. (2006) Journaling Translations. California English Teacher.

 Marjorie Faulstich Orellana, Lisa Dorner and Lucila Pulido. (2003). Accessing Assets, Immigrant Youth as Family Interpreters. Social Problems, 50 (5): 505-524.

Marjorie Faulstich Orellana. (2003). Responsibilities of Children in Latino Immigrant Homes. New Directions for Youth Development: Understanding the Social Worlds of Immigrant Youth, Winter (100), 25-39.

Marjorie Faulstich Orellana, Jennifer Reynolds, Lisa Dorner and María Meza. (2003). In Other Words: Translating or “Para-phrasing” as a Family Literacy Practice in Immigrant Households. The Reading Research Quarterly, 38 (1): 12-34.

Edited Journals:

Marjorie Faulstich Orellana, Ramón Martínez, and Danny C. Martínez (Eds.). (May, 2014). Language Arts: Special Issue on Language Brokering, 91 (5). (Introduction: pp. 11-13.)

Marjorie Faulstich Orellana, Danny C. Martínez and Jacqueline D’warte. (Eds.) (Fall, 2010). What’s Language Got to Do With It? Center X X-change. http://centerx.gseis.ucla.edu/xchange-repository/current-issue-fall-2010.

Book and Handbook Chapters:

Marjorie Faulstich Orellana and Angie Shu-Sha Guan. (2015). Immigrant Family Settlement Processes and the Work of Child Language Brokers: Implications for Child Development. In Suárez-Orozco, C., Abo-Zena, M. and Kerivan Marks, A. (Eds.) The Development of Immigrant-Origin Children and Youth: A Contextual Approach. New York: New York University Press.

H. Julia Eksner and Marjorie Faulstich Orellana. (2005). Liminality as Linguistic Process: Mediation and Contestation by Immigrant Youth in Germany and the U.S. In Knörr, Jacqueline (Ed.) Childhood and Migration: From Experience to Agency. (pp. 175-206). Bielefeld & Somerset, N.J.: Transcript & Transaction Publishers.

 Cynthia García Coll, Barrie Thorne, Catherine Cooper and Marjorie Faulstich Orellana. (2004). From Social Categories to Social Process: “Race” and Ethnicity in School-Based Research with Children of Immigrants. In Cooper, Catherine R., Garcia Coll, Cynthia, Bartko, Todd, Davis, Helen, and Célina Chapman (Eds.), Hills of Gold: Rethinking Diversity and Contexts as Resources for Children’s Developmental Pathways. (pp. 241-262). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Barrie Thorne, Marjorie Faulstich Orellana, Wan Shun Eva Lam and Anna Chee. (2003). Raising Children – and Growing Up – in Transnational Contexts: Comparative Perspectives on Generation and Gender. In Hondagneu-Sotelo, Pierrette (Ed.) Gender and U.S. Immigration: Contemporary Trends. (pp. 241-262). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press

Marjorie Faulstich Orellana, Lucila Ek, and Arcelia Hernández. (2000). Proposition 227 and Bilingual Education in a Transnational Community. In Enrique Trueba and Lilia Bartolomé (Eds.) Immigrant Voices: In Search of Pedagogical Reform. (pp. 75-92). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Other Publications: 

Marjorie Faulstich Orellana. (2007). Unpacking Immigration. Interactions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies Vol. 3, Issue 2, Article 2. 
http://repositories.cdlib.org/gseis/interactions/vol3/iss2/art2. Reprinted in Teaching Diversity, 3, Fall, 2007, 1-3.

Lisa Dorner and Marjorie Faulstich Orellana. (2006). Children and Immigration. In J. Loucky, J. Armstrong, and L. Estrada (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Contemporary American Immigration. Greenwood Publishing Group.

A  brochure for parents, teachers and kids: https://centerx.gseis.ucla.edu/xchange/repertoires-of-linguistic-practice/suppliment-to-lesson-plan/lesson-appendix/InOtherWords.pdf

 Young peoples reports on language brokering: https://centerx.gseis.ucla.edu/xchange/repertoires-of-linguistic-practice/suppliment-to-lesson-plan/lesson-appendix/student-journals

Lessons for teachers: https://centerx.gseis.ucla.edu/xchange/repertoires-of-linguistic-practice/suppliment-to-lesson-plan


An annotated bibliography of what Brian Harris calls Natural Translation: https://www.academia.edu/5855596/Bibliography_of_natural_translation

A fascinating blog about Natural Translation: http://unprofessionaltranslation.blogspot.com/

Rachele Antonini talks about language brokering in Italy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye6ik8IOTlo

Jemima Napier discusses sign language brokering research: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_5VLwmwXlU

The Coalition on Asian American Children and Families report on language brokering in New York: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hP4vuRv9fMo