In the COVID era, schools are scrambling to identify the right path forward for their students, teachers and staff – and ultimately for their families. With pivot after pivot, from in-person to virtual, from wait-and-see to hybrid and back to 100% virtual, there are so many factors for elementary schools, high schools and universities to consider. Beyond learning and safety challenges that all schools are universally experiencing, one challenge that we at Multilingual Connections are seeing centers around how to support multilingual learners and their families.
What are some examples of translation needs in education?
On the most basic level, schools have come to us to request support to share information about COVID–19 translated into the languages of their communities. Early on, schools and universities needed to communicate what was known about the virus, transmission, and steps to keep people safe. Months into the pandemic, many translation requests have shifted beyond the basics to focus on what schools are doing proactively, including everything from a cleaning and social distancing standpoint to addressing where they stand in terms of reopening plans. We’ve translated remote learning surveys and feedback forms, handbook addendums, and other documentation with important health, safety, and academic updates.
Beyond communicating about Coronavirus and its impact, we’re getting an increase in requests around connecting with a multilingual and increasingly virtual community. For example, one elementary school administrator contacted us about novel ways of creating connections between the Parent Advisory Council and parents, and they were looking for assistance in translating and subtitling videos into Spanish, Arabic, and Urdu – the primary languages of their student population.
In another scenario, the marketing and communications team at a community college reached out to inquire about translation of scripts, signage, course catalogs and website information, as well as voice-over of radio spots and videos, into Spanish, Polish, Chinese and Arabic.
The pandemic has impacted education in innumerable ways, but that impact is not limited to schools and universities. Corporate education and workplace training has needed to pivot too. As conferences and in-person training programs have shifted online or to e-learning platforms, the need for translation (as well as interpretation, subtitling and voiceover) of content to help engage local and global participants has grown tremendously. In this situation, we create custom language solutions for our clients that all have very different needs. One may want to subtitle an announcement from their CEO into the several different languages spoken by its employees and another may have online learning modules or training PowerPoint presentations that need translation and design. We help our clients navigate this new normal, no matter the language.
There are still so many unknowns in this global pandemic, but one thing we know for sure is that people tend to learn best in their native language. If your education or marketing teams are looking for support to create connections with speakers of other languages – students, staff or families – reach out to us. We’d love to help ensure that your message is clear, accurate, and nuanced in any language.