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A Guide to Translation and Interpreting in Education

The West Coast is linguistically diverse, with over 200 languages spoken, which is reflected within its schools. According to statistics, more than 40% of California residents speak a language other than English. Further, the studies indicate that almost 20% of Californians have limited English proficiency (LEP). Like most other sectors, the education field requires the use of professional translation and interpreting services for effective communication in these multilingual environments. 

Additionally, the law requires education institutions to abide by language access policies (e.g., Dymally-Alatorre Bilingual Services Act) when communicating to parents and families. The guidelines require educators to provide interpreters, translated materials, employ bilingual staff, etc., to ensure communication is relayed to students and their families in a language they understand. For this reason, failing to observe these guidelines may attract dire legal consequences.

This guide gives you essential information about translation and interpreting in educational settings to effectively communicate with your students and their families while remaining compliant. Let's dive in.

Benefits of Using Translation and Interpreting Services

Perhaps the main merit of using translation and interpreting services is that it fosters effective communication between school administrations and parents/guardians, teachers and students, etc., in multilingual settings. This results in many benefits including:

1. Improved student performance 

Our schools are multicultural and multilingual environments hosting students from different backgrounds. The ability to instruct the students in a language they're proficient in helps harness the best out of each of them. This leads to a better comprehension of the concepts, which consequently contributes to improved performance.

2. Cross-cultural effectiveness

With students and families from different cultural backgrounds, translators and interpreters help bridge existing language barriers. Consequently, they foster better communication and understanding between the students/families and the school administration.

3. Compliance with language access regulations 

As earlier mentioned, there are policies regulating language access in multilingual settings, and in this case, the education field. They require learning institutions with multicultural students to convey information in a language that the recipients (students and families) understand. This means engaging translators and interpreters to deliver accurate information to each language group. Using translation and interpreting services ensures you remain compliant with these laws.

When Are Translation and interpreting Services Appropriate? 

Essentially, you require translation and interpreting services in every communication you convey to students and their families. Whether it's instructing students, publishing educational materials, or communicating with LEP families, professional translators and interpreters are essential for effective communication.

Working with skilled language experts is important because poor translations and interpretations can lower your credibility as an institution in the eyes of the students' families. Besides, doing so can open legal loopholes, as families have a right to accurate information concerning their children's education.

That said, instances that require the use of translation and interpreting services include;

  • Translation Needs

The need for written translation is relatively high in educational settings. Whether it's hardcopy or digital communication, a multicultural institution will require translators when preparing documents for students and parents/guardians such as: 

  • Individualized Education Plans (IEP's)
  • Enrollment forms 
  • Course booklets
  • Evaluation forms 
  • Transcripts
  • Certificates
  • Brochures/flyers
  • Reports
  • In-Person Interpreting Needs

Some meetings and events require a person on-site to interpret for non-English speaking parties. These could be permanent staff or professionals outsourced on-demand. Some potential situations include:

  • Interviews and enrollment 
  • IEP Meetings
  • School events
  • In-person parents-teacher meetings 
  • School events and conferences
  • Over-the-Phone and Video Remote Interpreting Needs

Finally, some situations may call for remote communication to LEP parents/guardians via phone or video conferencing. These include;

  • Phone calls to parents
  • Virtual meetings of any kind

Engaging Translation and Interpreting Services 

Working with a professional translation and interpreting services provider is essential for every educational institution or school district with a multilingual community. Whether you require translation, on-site, over-the-phone, or remote video interpreting, engaging reputable language experts is crucial. Not only do you foster cross-cultural effectiveness, but you also avoid legal pitfalls for non-compliance. A professional language services provider can offer a wide range of services and languages that may be necessary in addition to any bilingual staff.  

At Language Network, we offer professional translation and interpreting services to education sector players and many other industries. With over 25 years of expertise in educational settings, you can rest assured you'll have a dependable addition to your team. Our services include translation, on-site interpreting, over-the-phone interpreting, and video remote interpreting. 

We understand the West Coast's linguistic diversity and are keen on offering accurate language solutions for LEPs from all backgrounds. Our language experts are proficient in their fields, which guarantees service quality. Ready to try out our services? Reach out to us today for a quote, and our team will get back to you soonest. 

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