Asylum-Seeking Minors in Interpreter-Mediated Interviews: What Do They Say and What Happens to Their Responses?
Keselman, Olga. Cederborg, Ann-Christin. Lamb, Michael E. Dahlström, Örjan.
Published: August 2010
Child and Family Social Work
Vol. 15, No. 3 , p. 325-334
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This study explored how asylum-seeking minors report information when formally interviewed. Twenty-six Russian-speaking minors (mean = 16.0 years of age) were individually interviewed by officials assisted by one of 18 interpreters. A qualitative analysis of the responses was used to develop categories that were then analysed quantitatively to elucidate characteristics of the questions asked by the officials, the minors' responses to them and the accuracy with which the minors' responses were rendered. The asylum-seeking minors distinguished themselves as active participants. They appeared eager to disclose relevant information despite being asked many potentially contaminating questions. Most of the children's responses were accurately rendered, but mistranslations can affect the fact-finding process substantially. Both the minors and the officials involved in the asylum-seeking process need to recognize that both the questions asked and the responses given may be influenced by the third parties involved, i.e. the interpreters. (Author abstract)
refugees; unaccompanied children; interviewing children; CREDIBILITY; INVESTIGATIONS; communication; cultural competency