Welcome to the WCASD Translation and Interpreting resource page!
Here you will find the online form to request a translation for a document or an interpreter for your meeting. There are currently more than 30 languages spoken in our District, Spanish being the second most spoken language in our schools.
What is a Translation?
Translation is the process to take a written document in the source language (for example, English) and render it in the target language (for example, Telugu). The translation could be a parent letter, a disciplinary notice, a Special Education document, etc.
Sight Translation is a combination of translation and interpreting. The translator silently reads a document in the source language and verbally translates the content into the target language. It is a quick way of translating when there is an interpreter already covering the meeting.
Machine Translation is software used to translate without the intervention of a human and is based on probability not meaning: it does not understand the meaning or the context of the text it is translating. It may save time, but human translators are essential when the message needs to be accurate.
What is Interpreting?
Interpreting deals with oral messages. Interpreters listen to the spoken word in the source language and render the message in the target language. The interpreter breaks down the language barriers while maintaining “the style and the tone of the speaker while taking into consideration the differences of culture, dialect, and setting.” In the school setting, the interpreter is the aid to allow the communication between teachers and staff and individuals with Limited English Proficiency. It is the responsibility of each party to ask for clarification to achieve a clear understanding of the message.
There are several methods of interpretation:
Consecutive – the interpreter will require to hear several sentences or a complete thought before the speaker stops and lets the interpreter repeat the message in the target language.
Simultaneous – the interpreter listens in one language and simultaneously provides the interpretation in the target language. Think the meeting at the U.N. or court proceedings.
Chuchotage (whisper interpreting) – the interpreter will listen to the message in the source language and to avoid impacting the dialogue, will whisper the interpretation to the attendee.
Sign Language - the interpreter will listen to the message and use the visual-manual modality to convey meaning.
What are the language services available in the WCASD?
To request the translation of a document into any language, please use the online Translation and Interpreting Request Form. Please plan ahead. The turnaround time for translations may take longer than one week.
The second most spoken language in WCASD is Spanish. In 2019 the WCASD successfully piloted the Dedicated Spanish Phone Line in four elementary schools to provide parents a means to communicate with their children’s schools. Since then, this service has been expanded to cover all 17 schools in the District. Parents can call 484-366-1786 to connect to a school building. Please read the Dedicated Spanish Phone and Email Line description to learn how it has been implemented.
All school personnel has access to Interpretalk, a telephone language service provider, to access interpreters in dozens of languages. The major benefit of having this tool is to avoid using a child as an Ad Hoc interpreter for the parent. There may be some positive consequences of having a child interpret for the parent like the growth of cognitive and social skills. However, this role may interfere with the parent-child relationship, shifting the power from the parent to the child. It may have other negative long-term effects on the child, such as risk-taking behaviors and other social problems. Please read the Interpretalk instructions on how you can use this interpreting service to make a personal connection with a parent. View 6 Tips for Communicating Effectively through Interpreters.