Free academic support in different languages through Translation Services
The translators and interpreters of the district’s Translations Services Department help schools make meaningful connections with families every day by bridging the language gap, but since 2017, the department’s tutors are helping students make important connections by providing academic support in languages other than English and Spanish.
Translation Services Department offers document translation and interpretation during meetings, as well as services through the interpreter hotline and academic support in Arabic, Burmese, Chin, Kirundi, Swahili, and, recently, Pashto. The academic support offered through the tutors in these six languages is offered at no cost to the school.
Every day, over 80 languages are spoken in schools throughout Dallas ISD. According to data from the home language surveys collected by schools during enrollment, the top five languages for the district are Spanish, English, Swahili, Amharic, and Arabic.
“Given the number of newcomer students from various countries, these types of services are important,” said Adriana Saucedo, director for the Translation Services Department. “Not only do the tutors provide academic support to contribute to student success, they also serve as a bridge of communication between the families.”
The tutors also help newcomer students adapt to what could be the first time they are exposed to a school structure or schedule as well as a new environment, which can be overwhelming at first, Saucedo said. On top of that, there’s a language barrier.
“Having a team in our district that is able to communicate with the student directly, is almost like a relief for the student, to know that there’s somebody there to help make the transition smoother,” Saucedo said.
For example, the tutors often provide support at the school by serving as interpreters, assisting the school in connecting families to community resources, or talking to them about successes and/or challenges the student may be experiencing.
While the tutor might not be at the school everyday, the school coordinates with Translation Services to determine which days work best for the school and the tutor.
To inquire about how to bring these free services to your school, schools can contact Desi Mier, who oversees the program, at 972-925-5882 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit the Translation Services Department for more information at https://www.dallasisd.org/translationservices.