Ensuring students get the best education possible is the remit of every school. When children speak English all day, every day, this remit is easier.
When they don’t, things are obviously more difficult. But no child is more important than another, so by law, all children must be given the same opportunity to learn and grow.
And the number of students who aren’t native English speakers may be bigger than you think. Academic journal, The Conversation states, “more than 1 in 10 of the nation’s approximately 50 million public school students speak a native language other than English.”
At LinguaLinx, we’ve worked with a lot of education clients over the years. We know that most of the time your resources are stretched. And the sad truth is the communities that tend to need the most translation are often the most socially deprived.
Giving students the best chance for their education means considering translation for two sets of people:
- Students – Known as English Language Learners (ELL)
- Parents and guardians – Known as having Limited English Proficiency (LEP)
Students must be able to clearly understand the curriculum.
Parents and guardians need a support network for their children to help them be successful.
Achieving this can be challenging. There are many documents that potentially need to be translated. So many, in fact, that the U.S. Department of Education has a fact sheet on them.
But, if you’re moving into this territory, here’s our cheat sheet for you. These are the top documents that we see needing to be translated in the educational space.
1. Educational Info and Updates
If a student doesn’t know how they’re performing, how will they know if they’re progressing positively over time? This is at the heart of the education system.
So, documentation that tracks progress and gives supporting feedback is essential. And it needs to be in their language.
The most common documents that need to be translated are report cards, interim reports, behavior feedback, and pupil learning plans.
2. Basic Comms for Parents and Guardians
Schools constantly communicate with parents and guardians on matters relating to the school in general and not just an individual student.
Documents like scheduled newsletters or ad-hoc information updates (school closures or amended hours, canceled after school activities, security updates, etc.) provide vital info that isn’t just about education but can be about the welfare of the children too.
3. School Policies, Rules, And Safety Manuals
Some children may be coming from radically different countries, cultures, or communities.
They need to fit in so that the school can run successfully as a whole.
Translating your school policies, rules, and safety allows your school to function as a positive place of learning.
4. Regulatory Docs
Moving away from the school and more towards the school boards and districts for a moment, they need to make sure over-arching regulations are translated.
One of the most important of these is, of course, confirming the civil rights of parents, guardians and pupils who have English as a second language.
This is the category that allows a student to move from one area of their education to the next. Or it proves what they’ve achieved to employers or other people that will have an influence on their life. We’re talking about degrees, diplomas, certificates and the like.
A poor translation not only does the student a disservice, but it can also raise doubts about the authenticity of the document.
This can bring your educational institution into disrepute which can lead to a whole host of other problems.
6. Higher Education Material
There’s less regulation in higher education because it’s not a human right. Universities and colleges are run as businesses and can choose what languages they cater for.
But we do see a demand for documents like lecture transcripts, website content, admission materials, financial aid forms and other documents associated with further education.
After all, universities try to attract foreign students because their tuition fees tend to be higher than that of domestic students.
A Final Thought on Education
The cross-pollination of languages and cultures in our education system can only be a good thing. It helps our children embrace a wider world and have acceptance for different people who have beliefs and customs that equally as important as their own.
Getting the translation right, so everyone is on a level playing field, is vital to making this happen.
The best way to get it right? Partner with a Language Service Provider (LSP) who has experience in the education field. They can help guide you through the ongoing journey as school policies change, regulatory standards move forward and more students with different language requirements enroll.
Get a Quote for Your Educational Translation Project
If you’re thinking about a translation project, we’d love to sit down and talk with you about it.
With LinguaLinx, you won't ever have to worry about your message getting lost as it’s translated. You know you're in good hands with our ISO 17100 compliance, twenty years of professional translation experience, and the organizations whose trust we've earned.
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