Communicating with parents is key to building successful relationships between school and families. The information to a
‘parent shall be provided in an understandable and uniform format and, to the extent practical, in a language the parents can
understand’ (NCLB, section3302.c).
Thus, it is the school’s responsibility to find interpreters and have translations when appropriate.
We recommend finding bilingual personnel who are proficient in English, as well as the language in which they are translating/interpreting. To find local interpreters, check in your community, with your culturally diverse families, or local community colleges or universities.
Links to assist with Translation:
TransACT– The Iowa Department of Education currently provides a subscription to TransACT to public, accredited nonpublic districts and area education agencies within the state. This is valuable to assist districts in communicating with parents who speak languages other than English. You will find many forms that your district uses on this website such as forms for special education, health, classroom use (such as parent teacher conferences and field trip notes), required English language learner documents and so much more! You have the option to translate these forms into other languages with the click of a button. This site is very valuable in communication with parents and is at no cost to you. (At this site, you are able to access pre-made forms, not translate your own English documents.)
Casa Notes – where you can assemble notes to send home to parents.
There are many online translation sites. These sites can be used for basic communications with families. However, we caution that items are not always translated accurately and we recommend that you include a statement such as “Please note, this was translated using an online translation service. Items may not always be translated correctly. However, I want to be able to communicate with you and send information home, so I am going to use this to help me!”
Below are links to translation websites. You can type in basic, short messages and have them instantly translated for you: