There is a great number of people living in the USA who do not speak English or have limited understanding of the language. When it comes to kids and education, the ability to communicate is essential. To solve the problem, educational institutions need to avail of professional interpretation services that will guarantee equal access to the educational system for all learners.
The poor or no understanding of English should not be a barrier to kids to get quality education and develop at the same pace with their peers.
Why educational institutions need interpretation?
The USA has no official language determined as such by the federal government but still American English is considered the de facto national language that is spoken in public and private sectors, which includes schools, banks, healthcare facilities, businesses and the like.
Still, the data published by the U.S. Census Bureau reveals that there are several other languages spoken at home by people aged 5 or above. English is the leader with nearly 230 million, followed by Spanish (40.5 million), Chinese (3.4 million), Tagalog (1.7 million), Vietnamese (1.5 million), Arabic (1.2 million), French (1.2 million), Korean (1.1 million), Russian (0.91 million), and German (0.91 million).
As the official language in all educational institutions is English, this is the language that will form the learning environment of the child and affect its linguistic, social, emotional and cognitive development. Providing professional interpretation to children who have limited English proficiency will help their overall development and prevent them from lagging behind the rest of their peers.
A qualified educational interpreter will provide the best learning opportunities for a child who has limited knowledge of English and will help them effectively learn and communicate with teachers and classmates. It is necessary to employ a professional who is trained to work in an educational setting and who is an intrinsic part of the educational team to ensure a smooth learning process. Since every adult interacting with a child affects their development and can serve as a role model, the educational interpreter can be one of the most important and trusted people in the life of a non-English speaking child.
Interpretation is necessary for educational institutions not only if they are aiming to provide inclusive education for all of their students. It is important for communication with parents who also need to be aware of the program and development of their children at school.
As such, professional educational interpretation services can be used in the following cases:
- During parent-teacher conferences or meetings
- During student assessments
- To provide student tutoring
- To assist international students studying abroad
In all of the cases, the educational interpreter will help parents, teachers, and students discuss freely any issues and topics and facilitate the implementation of the educational program.
What are the benefits of interpretation for students?
One of the greatest benefits of using professional interpretation services at educational institutions is for the students themselves. They are given the chance to equal access to the education system and personalized assistance and program if needed.
The educational interpreter helps non-English-speaking students cope with the tasks at school but also gives them the necessary base for development and free communication with teachers and peers.
When it comes to dealing with foreign students, the educational interpreters can help them settle in the new environment and clarify the specific rules and requirements of the new school or college. They can facilitate the overall adaptation of the foreign student to the new setting and different lifestyle.
How does interpretation help teachers and administrators of educational institutions?
English should not be a barrier to receiving a quality education. The Civil Rights Act stipulates that there shall be no discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin in the operation of any federally assisted programs and by employing professional interpretation services educational institutions can observe the law.
The educational interpreters can help the institution they work for in many ways. They become an active part of the team and collaborate for a more efficient and effective education. They contribute for better understanding with parents and facilitate communication in both formal and informal setting.
An educational interpreter can help the administration of an educational institution explain the rules and procedures to the parents of their students who have limited English proficiency.
The interpreters can also bridge the gap between the cultures since they are trained not only to speak the foreign language, but they also understand the cultural peculiarities and traditions of the people. In some cases, the interpreter can even act as a mediator or facilitator between two different perspectives of the educational system.
Do parents benefit from interpretation at school?
While the primary beneficiaries of interpretation in educational institutions are the students and their teachers, parents do benefit from the services as well. The presence of a professional interpreter means that the parent can effectively communicate with the school administration and be informed of their child’s development.
The educational interpreter should be present during phone calls or personal meetings with parents when issues related to their child development are discussed. The parents are also free to initiate meetings with teachers and the administration without any concerns of being misunderstood because of their inability to communicate in English.
Types of interpretation services educational institutions can use
The importance of interpretation in education is significant, and educational institutions shall avail of the different types of interpretation services in order to provide a high-quality service themselves.
The most common type of educational interpretation is on-site interpretation. The educational interpreter is physically present in class or during a meeting with the students and/or their parents. In most of the cases, the educational institution uses an in-house interpreter who is part of their team.
The other option is to use over-the-phone interpretation services. In this case the interpreter is available on the phone to facilitate communication as long as they are needed. This service is often used by educational institutions who need to communicate with non-English speaking parents of their students and who do not have an in-house interpreter. This over-the-phone service can be used in emergency situations, and it’s also available 24/7 and can be a very useful solution when no interpreter is available on site.
Each educational institution needs to decide on the number and language combination of the educational interpreters they need in accordance with the demographics of their location.
If you need reliable interpretation and translation services in any language, ICD Translation is here to help.