The other day I visited my niece’s Junior High School in Philadelphia, PA, where I ran into a childhood friend who teaches there. We talked briefly and as his students started piling into his classroom, I heard a few different languages. The thought that immediately came to my mind was "TRANSLATION SERVICE"! If I were a teacher, I'd want to know what these students are talking about! I agreed to wait 45 minutes to have lunch with him and I asked about the many different languages that I heard, and how did that affect his teaching. Boy, did I open a can of worms!
He expressed his frustration with multiple language barriers. When I asked about the translation services that the district provided, he laughed. “Do you know how long it takes to get that service? I have 10 parents who I need to speak with and I need a Russian, Spanish and French (Haitian) interpreter. I suggested that he write them letters and use an on-line translation tool for the various languages needed and mail them out. He was grateful for my suggestion and said he’d try it.
With the many immigrants flooding U.S. cities, the need for translation services is quickly on the rise. They are needed in schools; they’re needed in various agencies that provide resources and information and, although immigrants don’t have the right to vote, I think they should be able to understand what’s happening.