"Infrastructure" for low-cost translation and interpretation in a school

One Diagram

Over time, we condensed all the words below into a diagram (you can see the full set of infrastructure diagrams here.


Many Rough Notes!

Before that, we worked with rough notes like those below! We left these here so readers could see some of the collective brainstorming key to the "participatory design research" aspect of this project. This list, which we put together in early spring 2011, included ideas brainstormed in our meetings and activities over two years, particularly our multilingual coffee hours.

Components of a low-cost translation/interpretation infrastructure in a school, that builds on local bilingual skills. (rough notes! being honed!)

(piloted at Healey. Fleshed out by Connectors/OneVille Project/Healey administration.)

1.Needed: an infrastructure for volunteers to translate basic school information that needs to go out to all parents.


A.We need to create a place to put all the info that needs to be translated.

We propose that the principal and school leaders put public info that needs to be translated in a shared googledoc (cut and paste text from any flier). (Note: this googledoc will be for events and basic information that everyone needs to know. Not for high-level official documents that require professional translation.)

Develop this googledoc as one organized place where principal, school leaders, put info that most needs dissemination/translation each month week(?).

This googledoc can also be a place where school leaders put questions that require immigrant parent input, that Connectors can ask when they call home.

The googledoc can hold two kinds of information

a.Info for Connector calls: = info that requires personal translation/explanation, or questions that need to be asked of all parents.

Deadline for getting this info into Connector calls: by Friday of second week of every month?

b.Info for the Healey Hotline: = events and stuff that everyone needs to know about.

Deadline for getting that info on the hotline: by the Friday of the last week of every month?

perhaps the Information Coordinator (see below) and principal could meet periodically to look at the googledoc and “star” information that needs to be put on the hotline, or put out in some other specified way (via robocall and via Connector call for most important; then, handout/listserv?).

B.We need to tap people to translate the stuff on the Googledoc.

We propose that a translator of the month be appointed in each language. This would be a parent who might not have the time to be a connector but would do translation of the googledoc material. (for example, see the Connector spreadsheet [link here xxx] for a list of "Choice" parents who expressed willingness to do translation.) Youth could also be Translators of the Month!

The Translator of the Month will translate the info on the googledoc, by the deadlines above.

the Translator of the Month would perhaps record the info weekly on the Healey Hotline (weekly was the principal's suggestion).

Several bilingual people agreed that it'd be easier for a translator to read a document and summarize it verbally onto a hotline in her language, rather than to translate it word for word onto another piece of paper or for a listserv, etc.

Should this Interpreter of the Month somehow be "compensated"? If it's a student, could he/she be given status, gift certificates, etc? Or, would a volunteer parent do this if only the 'most important' info were translated?

Ana: If this is still going to be voluntary (and not paid) would this system be too complicated: I volunteer for the first week of each month. I translate the first week of Sept, Oct, Nov and Dec. Mica has the second week. Tona the third and Mary the fourth. Each one of us is still doing it for 4 weeks in total but it is not a whole month. What do others think? (Mica thinks this is too complicated --given 3 languages, it’d be 12 translators/month!)

C. We need to appoint a person to organize other people to be Translators of the Month.

We propose the role of an Information Coordinator: (paid staff?), who will coordinate Translators of the Month to record the information on the hotline and will also help monitor the info going on the googledoc.

organizing Translators of the month requires the Informatino Coordinator to keep a google spreadsheet of available people and phone numbers.

2. Needed: multiple ways (channels) to broadcast the translated information.

- Healey Hotline. Plan: first day of each month (or, last day of each week?) a new hotline recording goes up.

TO DO: Seth needs to finish the hotline so it is easy to use for fall, with people able to record on it via phone from home or the principal’s office.

TO DO: We need to advertise the hotline in the front of the school first thing in the fall.

-better school calendaring (a Google calendar?) that has a translation button. (ask Seth)

-If the stuff on the schoolwide information googledoc gets translated word by word, the Information Coordinator can also put the translated info from the googledoc on an online calendar and the purple calendar.

- A weekly email from principal can also go out w/ the translated info from the Googledoc, via ConnectEd.

-a schoolwide listserv will be in place next year. (requires email training.) Info on it will likely be mostly in English but could also regularly contain the hotline number.

-Separate mailing lists in the languages?

-show people how to use Google Translate for the remedial translation?

-robocalls home. The Translator of the Month could record particularly important messages targeted to parents who speak a specific language.

-wiki can also be a place for school notes and updates from working groups, etc., so that everyone stays equally informed; needs a Google Translate link.

3.Needed: efforts to build personal relationships with immigrant parents, to explain particularly important goings-on, and to be “on call” for questions.

A. Connectors: building relationships and a channel for info-sharing between bilingual and monolingual parents.

(Note: to get more parents Connectors more easily in the fall [without separate permission slips and, without paying the PIC again!), we will need to 1) recruit a few more Connectors (see the spreadsheet of possible people, taken from the Choice career skills directory) and, b) add a checkbox to some sort of required info form the School sends out, saying “yes! I’d like a Connector! Release my number to the Connectors!” This required info form can also have a checkbox for “yes! get me on the school listserv and ConnectEd listserv!” and “yes! put my number in the school directory!”, etc.)

Connectors can realistically only make calls 1x/month, but also be available for questions.

Connectors will make a monthly call during the 3rd week of every month.?

We propose to appoint a person to fill another key year-long role as Lead Connector. This could perhaps be a volunteer parent – who is helping to coordinate the other Connector parents.

So, in the first week of every month, the Lead Connector calls the connectors together with the principal to discuss what they have learned.

The Lead Connector also needs to:

-keep track of the actual Connectors; (this requires a Google spreadsheet of the Connectors’ names, numbers)

-go on the googledoc or make a call to principal, to decide before the 3rd week’s Connector calls what the theme/purpose of the month’s calls will be.

-keep tabs on the googleform we’ve created for keeping tabs on parent calls. (question: this role of monitoring parent needs seems larger and suggests that the Lead Connector should perhaps be paid staff. . .TBD.)

-convene the multilingual coffee hour – (see next item)

B. Connectors invite parents regularly to the multilingual coffee hour with the principal: a place where people take time for translation and amplify languages other than English.

Healey PTA is ready to offer coffee for it and help to “sponsor” it. Recommended: change name back to “multilingual roundtable w the principal” or “multilingual coffee hour with the principal” rather than “multicultural roundtable”.

-multilingual coffee hour should be used not for distributing basic info but for discussing real issues w/ parents, once the "info-sharing" infrastructure (googledoc, translators, hotline, Connectors, schoolwide listserv, calendar) is in place! This is the principal’s wish too.

4.Needed: better interpretation for teacher-parent meetings. KEY! This is a district responsibility.

A. The Welcome Project may want to train parents for this role (Turlock Unified School District, in Turlock, CA, trains its own parent interpreter force). In this model, a trained group of parents are employees; they are on call for the principal as needed for interpretation and important document translation, and paid for both.

The District could then pay those trained parents a good rate that is still lower than professional interpreters/translators get, thus saving the District money and employing parents.

B. For scheduling those interpreters to be at parent meetings: doodle polls??

C. For ongoing communication in between parent meetings: OneVille dashboard, with translation of report card, and use of Google Translate by teacher for ongoing reading of parent notes/questions; dashboard should support scheduling of teacher-parent conferences and interpreters for conferences, as well. Also, hopefully will help provide infrastructure for SomerPromise.

D. Interpreters at public events: LIPS youth for informal public events, adult professional interpreters (ideally, parents) for more formal? TBD. . .

E. Welcome Project parents’ idea: Simultaneous translation tech (headphones) for public events (buy?)

F. Needed: (Welcome Project idea) a protocol for announcing the availability of interp/translation in public meetings