26/05/2021

The Translation of IEPs: 101 

Ensuring their child receives a quality education is something almost every parent strives for. This is a universal goal. Now, imagine if a parent could not participate fully in their child’s education. You can see how damaging that disconnect could potentially be. Especially if their child has a disability that affects their educational needs. This is why it is undeniably important that Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) are available to students and their parents in a language they can clearly understand. Let’s break down the basics of what you need to know about the translation of IEPs and why it matters. 

What is an IEP?

An IEP is a written statement that maps out an education program that was specifically designed to meet a select child’s education needs. If a child receives special education services, they must have an IEP that will serve two purposes. First, it should outline reasonable learning goals for the child. Second, it should highlight the services the school district will provide for the student. The IEP will be reviewed annually in order to determine whether the educational goals are being met or if they need revision. 

The IEP will examine not only a student’s weaknesses, but their strengths as well. It will set goals for the student and educators to meet and ideally will help foster the success of the student. All IEPs must contain information such as: 

  • Detailed analysis of the student’s current academic performance and challenges faced.
  • Reasonable annual goals for the student determined by the school and parents.
  • What special education and other services are available to the student, such as working with a supplementary aid.
  • How often the student will be separated from nondisabled children for educational or extracurricular purposes.
  • A plan for how the student can take part in state and district-wide testing.
  • A schedule of services and modifications.
  • An assessment of how progress toward annual goals will be measured. 

Why Would an IEP Need Translation?

It is essential that Limited English Proficiency (LEP) students and families have access to properly translated IEPs. An IEP is a foundational document for students with special needs who require additional educational support. Not only should the initial IEP document be accessible to students and parents in a language they are proficient in, but other language support should be provided to them. Such as interpretation for IEP-related meetings or translated documentation throughout the life of the program. 

The Legal Responsibilities Associated with the Translation of IEPs

When it comes to making accessible IEPs a reality to LEP students and parents, we have Title VI to thank. This civil rights law determined that federally-funded school districts and state educational agencies have to provide language assistance to LEP students, as has the Equal Opportunities Act. As the United States has declared IEPs are vital to the education process, LEP parents of children with disabilities must receive proper and timely access to complete oral interpretations and translated documents when necessary.

 


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23/02/2021

The Role of Translation in the Education of LEP Students in the US

The importance of education is something we at Terra feel strongly about. Education can open doors and provide invaluable opportunities to students. From art history to math to literature, there is no shortage of knowledge worth discovering. Everyone deserves access to a quality education, which brings us to how translation can improve the education of Limited English Proficiency (LEP) students in the US.

LEP students face boundaries that students from native speaking families do not. Let’s investigate what the role of translation in the education of LEP students in the US is and how students and their families can benefit from it. 

The Role of Translation in the Education of LEP Students in the US

Every fall, families sit down with their children to pour over their orientation packets, class syllabuses, and schedules. The influx of important information doesn’t stop in the fall, it continues all year long. Which is why it is important that students and their families have access to these resources in accessible languages. 

Many families require vital education information be translated into their native language. In order to provide a fair and equitable education experience to LEP students, education translation services are of the utmost importance. By providing these resources, schools allow families to be informed about and to be actively involved in their child’s education.

Which Documents are Commonly Translated?

According to the U.S Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, schools are required to communicate information to parents with limited English proficiency in a language they can understand regarding programs, services, or activities that are called to the attention of parents. This information may appear in a variety of formats such as:

  • Enrollment and registration paperwork
  • Language assistance programs
  • Special education discussions or meetings
  • Parent teacher conferences
  • Parent’s handbooks
  • Student’s performance reports
  • Acceptance letters 
  • General communications via letters or emails
  • Testing materials
  • Brochures
  • Legal documents
  • Report cards
  • Schedules regarding the school bus or after school activities
  • Course descriptions
  • Class schedules

If schools do not properly translate documents such as those listed above, they risk harming a student’s learning or advancement opportunities.

How Students and Families Benefit

Both students and their families benefit greatly from translated materials. In the US, there are almost 62 million LEP students. Having access to education translation services can help students progress academically. These services assist families in navigating their children’s education and can aid them in understanding the academic needs and opportunities relating to their child, as well as the progress their child is making. A few example of the benefits of education translation services are:

  • Providing clarity regarding a student’s academic development
  • Enhancing educational experiences for students
  • Improving the student-teacher relationship
  • Making educational meetings more productive

Who Provides Translation Services for LEP Students and Families?

Legally, the school is the party responsible for honoring a parent’s request to receive language assistance. This can be in the form of having an interpreter present at a parent-teacher meeting or having access to the written translation of documents. It is the school’s job to ensure that these services are provided by appropriate individuals, such as a professional educational interpreter or translation agency. A professional translator who has experience translating educational materials, as well as being a native speaker of the parent’s language, is ideal.


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