Suppose one of your students has been coming to school late and her grades are starting to slip. You call home to discuss with the parent, but it is clear that the woman who answers the phone speaks a language other than English. You hang up and wonder how you can best engage with your student’s family. Then you remember that Albemarle County Public Schools has a number of protocols and resources in place to help bridge the school-to-home gap!
What are interpretation and translation, and why are they important?
- Here is a recent School-to-Home Communication Update from the ESOL Office.
- The quickest way to engage families is to send information home in Plain English. Google Translate can be fairly comprehensible IF you:
- Type Plain English information one line at a time; and
- Check the results.
- Each school receives funds to support interpretation (spoken communication) and translation (written communication).
- Common spoken interpretation requests include SBIT and IEP meetings; parent-teacher conferences; family engagement events; and phone calls home regarding illness, absences, missed work, and other concerns.
- Common written translation requests include newsletters, discipline letters, field trip permission forms, and family event flyers. Please allow at least one week for all translation requests.
- We recommend that schools include this Multiple Languages Insert with all written communications sent home.
- Schools often designate one person to make interpretation and translation requests. Please see this School Interpretation Contact List (ACPS login required), maintained by the ESOL Office, to find your school’s interpretation requestor.
- Principals often give general guidelines for using funds; for example, a principal may decide that translating a schoolwide newsletter is a priority, but classroom newsletters should be approved on a case-by-case basis.
What interpretation and translation resources are in place for ACPS staff?
- Interpretation & Translation Resources for ACPS Staff (ACPS login required) – Use this landing page to access the following resources:
- ACPS Interpretation & Translation Protocol – Use this protocol to determine which interpretation or translation method best meets your needs.
- Text to use on school communications – Include this insert with written communications sent home to engage families and encourage two-way communication.
- ACPS-approved Interpreter & Translator List – Use this list of trained and experienced interpreters (for face-to-face meetings) and translators (for written communication) to enhance communication with English Learner families.
- InterpreTalk Phone Interpretation System – Use this language line for unplanned needs and for languages not available through ACPS or the IRC. It is especially helpful if a parent comes into the school unexpectedly. It can be used to communicate with a family member both in person and via a conference call.
- International Rescue Committee (IRC) Online Interpreter Request System – Use this system when the language you need is unavailable and you are coordinating with your school designee to submit a request.
- Archive of Translated ACPS Documents – Use and adapt these documents that have already been translated.
- Multiple Languages Insert – Include this multilingual insert with all school-to-home correspondence to provide equity of access for the majority of ACPS families.
- Blackboard Connect – Use this school-level tool for communicating messages by phone, email and/or text in English and Spanish.
International & ESOL Welcome Center
ACPS ESOL Office staff members are always glad to answer questions, troubleshoot issues, and develop ways to improve two-way communication with English Learner families. Please email ESOLInterpretation@k12albemarle.org (found in Outlook’s Global Address List) or call the ACPS International & ESOL Welcome Center at 434-296-6517.