August 5, 2020
Educational interpreting refers to spoken language interpreting in K-12 education settings.
Post-secondary, early education and a variety of other school settings employ interpreters
however for the sake of this brief overview, we will focus on the K-12 education setting.
Additionally, sign language interpreters also regularly interpret throughout all educational
systems but for the purposes of this overview, we will focus only on spoken language
interpreters. We will note, however, that sign language interpreting is significantly more
developed than spoken-language interpreters throughout the educational system.
Schools employ interpreters to improve language access for non-English and limited-English
speaking families and students. Title VI of the US Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires language
access for federally-funded school settings similarly as it does for healthcare and legal settings.
Educational interpreting falls under the umbrella of community interpreting. The International
Standards Organization (ISO) defines community interpreting as “bidirectional interpreting that
takes place in communicative settings…among speakers of different languages for the purpose
of accessing community services.” While there is no formal definition of educational
interpreting, we define it as the following:
Educational interpreting is a specialization of community interpreting that facilities access to
educational services in schools and other educational settings. Some common requests include:
- Parent Teacher Conferences
- Disciplinary Meetings
- Special Education
- IEP’s (Individual Educational Plans)
- School Board Meetings
Schools and school districts also utilize document translation services to reach students and
families. Document translation works with the written word; our translation teams translate
documents from one language to another. Our translators are specifically trained to work in
specific subject areas. Contact us today.
Tip of the Month:
Our Language Services Coordinator Rosamaria Campbell reminds us that “Preparation is key!
Interpreters need to be prepped for each assignment and the best way that schools can support
our interpreters is to provide background information and prep material.”