It goes without saying that communication is key for any student’s education; a teacher needs to be able to communicate with their students effectively, and students need to express their questions or concerns about the material. In essence, communication is the foundation of a strong educational system.
While most educators understand the importance of communication, they often overlook the role that parents play in their children’s education. Parents and educators need to communicate as well, so that students who might be struggling can get the help they need at school and at home. Students, particularly those below the university level, may need their parent’s assistance to help guide them or address problem areas. This becomes much more complicated when parents don’t speak the language used at school.
In the United States, most public schools teach courses exclusively in English. Additionally, important documents that parents rely on are almost always printed in English, as many schools lack the time or resources to make copies in various languages. These documents can include report cards, general notifications, newsletters, transcripts, performance evaluations, and any other kind of documentation that the school sends home with students.
When it comes to keeping parents involved in their children’s education, these documents are vital. They allow parents to track their student’s progress, learn about any issues (academic, behavioral, or otherwise), attend school functions, and just generally communicate with teachers, counselors, and administrators.
However, when a student has a parent or parents who are non-native speakers, communication often breaks down, or simply doesn’t happen at all. This is particularly detrimental to students who are struggling to meet the demands of the curriculum.
Often times, students who struggle in school are unwilling to interpret or translate documents for their parents; maybe they are embarrassed about their own performance, or afraid that their parents will be upset by their grades, or maybe they simply don’t want to make the extra effort of translating every single document they bring home. No matter the reason, this situation can lead to parents assuming that their child is doing just fine, when they actually need additional help.
Another common issue in American academia is the lack of access to proper counseling services. It is particularly difficult for exchange students whose native language is not English. Most schools cannot afford to keep bilingual counselors on the payroll, and non-native students can be frustrated by their inability to communicate emotions adequately in a second language. When this happens, many of these students forego counseling entirely, and experience unnecessary emotional stress as a result.
Investing in Translation Services
Naturally, it is important to provide ESL classes and materials to students who struggle with English. However, many students in the United States were born here, but have parents who were born in another country. As a result, the student might be completely fluent, while the parent has little or no English speaking ability. This can lead to a situation in which the parent of a struggling student is completely unaware of their child’s academic barriers in the classroom.
While teachers work hard to help students who are falling behind or struggling with the material, they can only do so much. There is ample research supporting the idea that increased and consistent parent engagement improves student performance and overall well-being.
It is also well-known that school-related stress can have a negative impact on the mental health and development of young students. When students can’t communicate with their counselors, they can’t express the issues they are having and get the help they need. This is why investment in language services within the public education sector is so important. Thankfully, this is where the International Translating Company can help.
Translating Documents for Non-Native Parents
At the International Translating Company, we take great pride in the impact our company has on communication. We have the trained staff and resources to help individuals, companies, academic institutions, and philanthropic organizations across the globe bridge the gap between different languages.
One project that had a really positive impact on education involved the Public School District of Lynnfield, Massachusetts. Lynnfield schools have students from diverse cultures and family backgrounds. As a result, the parents of many students struggle to be a part of their children’s education.
Determined to improve their approach and keep parents involved, the Lynnfield Public School District came to ITC for help. Our expert linguists translated every document for non-native parents, giving them access to vital information concerning their student’s strengths, weaknesses, overall progress, extracurricular activities, behavior, and more.
Bridging the Gap Between Students and Counselors
In another instance, ITC was approached to assist non-native students seeking counseling services at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. Many exchange students at Weber had limited abilities in English, but the school’s counselors were only able to provide sessions conducted in one language. So, the university contacted us for assistance.
These counseling sessions required complex vocabulary that the average ESL student would not know. Thankfully, at ITC, we can source experts in hundreds of languages to provide on-site translations. Our certified interpreters worked alongside the students to translate their complex thoughts and emotions into English for the counselor, and then worked with the counselor to translate his or her advice back into the student’s native language. It was extremely important that our interpreters were fluent and certified in both English and the student’s native language, so that they could convey the sentiments expressed by both parties exactly as they were originally intended.
Improving Education with ITC
Lynnfield Public Schools and Weber State University are just two examples of the important work we do to improve education. Whether parents need help monitoring their children’s progress, or students need assistance to get the counseling and mental health services they need, the International Translating Company is here to help. We provide a wide range of services, from basic document translation to on-site interpretations, and we can source the experts to get the job done.
Is your organization in need of expert translation services? Contact us to get a quote today!