Newsletter - February 2021

Covering Ground in Arkansas 

Close to 100 Spanish, Marshallese and Karen speakers in Arkansas have received 40 hours of training as Professional Interpreters in Education. They earned an Interpreter Credential recognized by the Arkansas Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education and the Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). They will join a network of over 500 Professional Interpreters in Education who have received standardized and specialized training to support our English Learner families and schools.  

 

Skill-Building and Practicing

Bilingual school personnel and independent contractors representing 16 states, 13 languages and 18 school districts are participating in our monthly Skill-Building Live Webinars and Practice sessions. Our colleagues have shared information about best practices for video and phone interpretation, navigating technical difficulties, and simultaneous interpretation during Special Education meetings. English Learner parents will volunteer their time to help us practice our consecutive interpretation skills and give us real-life and practical suggestions to improve our skills. 

 

We are thrilled to welcome Maria de la Sota as our Language Services Division Coordinator. An accomplished, motivated and experienced medical and educational interpreter (and former SeSo, Inc. student!), Maria supports all the school districts that rely on us for quality interpretation and translation services. Our professionals are specifically trained to work in early childhood and K-12 settings, and are ready to assist speakers of Arabic, Burmese, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Ewe, Farsi, French, Gujarati, Haitian-Creole, Hindi, Japanese, Karen, Korean, Laotian, Marshallese, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tamil, Thai, Urdu, and Vietnamese. 

 Promoting the Power of Bilingualism

SeSo, Inc. participated in two major virtual career day events promoting the power of bilingualism among our youth! We joined close to 150 organizations in creating a video presentation for ninth grade students attending College and Career Ready Academy High Schools. We were thrilled to find out that, over 1,600 students fully completed the experience on the day of the event, and at some schools, up to 75% of students who participated changed their academy and career pathway choice based on the experience. We always love opportunities to talk to bilingual students about the cognitive and financial benefits of being bilingual and multicultural, and the professional opportunities for interpreters and translators.

 

In Great Company!

We are honored to be part of the Global Careers Series hosted by the Atlanta Global Studies Center, Georgia Tech and the Center for Urban Language Teaching & Research. We will be in great company with distinguished organizations such as The Carter Center, Peace Corps, U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Department of Commerce, and Care International. The cultural and linguistic bridges that are strengthened thanks to interpreters and translators are felt worldwide, and we can’t wait to share our experience as English Learners and cultural liaisons. 

 
Strengthening Our Network of Professional Interpreters in Education

We have a full house in our University of Georgia Professional Interpreter in Education Certificate course! Twenty-eight students representing nine states, are learning about language access and language justice in schools, diving into ethical dilemmas and practicing their interpretation skills in small groups. Thank you to the school districts that have made our courses mandatory for bilingual school personnel interpreting for English Learner families!  

The PhD Corner

According to Olszewski and Thomson (2010), students of color are underrepresented by as much as 55% nationally in gifted programs. Much of the research points to concerns around the assessment tools utilized in the identification process of gifted students. This is very similar to the concerns around the identification of English Learners with special needs, the use of assessment tools that are culturally biased, and the lack of qualified and trained interpreters that can support the process. If cultural bias exists within the makeup of the test questions, and if families are not given the opportunity to use their home language to provide valuable input about a child’s skills and abilities, an accurate portrayal of student abilities, whether they are strengths or areas of improvement, cannot be offered. I look forward to continuing my research to highlight the impact of qualified and trained interpreters and cultural mediators in education settings, and how they support the creation of culturally responsive settings.


Newsletter Archives

Check Out Our Blog!

 Check out our interview with Maria Romero, a Bilingual Speech and Language Pathologist. In our virtual chat, she shared with us key information regarding her role as a professional, speech and language milestones, communication skills and more. Check it out!

In NAETISL's News

2021 certainly started very well for NAETISL!! We are proud to announce that we are now a nonprofit entity organized and operated for a collective and social benefit. As a 501(c)(3) organization, our mission to establish a collective understanding of the standards, qualifications and accreditation requirements for educational translators and interpreters of spoken languages, will be a reality. Thank you to the school administrators, faculty and staff, interpreters, translators and English Learner parents who support our efforts and are our partners in this journey! 

An Update From Our Doctoral Student

A new semester will start soon and our Founder and CEO will continue her research on Culturally and Linguistically Diverse family engagement in the special education process and the role of interpreters. Qualitative research, legal principles applicable to educational institutions, social justice frameworks, and communication disorders are on the horizon. We can't wait to incorporate these concepts into our professional development of interpreters in education.

New Resources for Educational Translators and

Interpreters of Spoken Languages

Our Clearinghouse of Resources for Educational Translators and Interpreters of Spoken Languages now features additional (and free!) resources in Korean, French, Vietnamese, Chinese and Punjabi!! Our translators have created glossaries of frequently used educational terms in these languages to support the consistency and accuracy of translated documents and interpreted sessions.

 

But wait, there’s more...

Our Arabic, Vietnamese, French, Korean, Chinese, Hindi and Japanese Interpreters and Translators have added short videos to our YouTube Channel to practice consecutive interpretation in K-12 settings: Check out our YouTube Channel!! The positive feedback from our partners (school districts and Professional Interpreters in Education) encourages us to create additional and helpful tools. Stay tuned!

 

Cultural Wealth: Seeing Assets Before Deficits 

Thank you to all the Teachers of English for Speakers of Other Languages who attended our Cultural Humility Session and participated in a great conversation about family engagement in virtual settings. Our participants got to hear the results of informal interviews with English Learner parents who shared their efforts to maintain, and sometimes, create home-school connections to support student learning during unusual circumstances. Speakers of Arabic, Somali, Gujarati, Nepali, Pashto, Hindi, Amharic, Burmese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, French, and Spanish helped us highlight the resilience, resourcefulness, creativity, and natural leadership skills of our families. Through their stories, we are reminded that we must continue to acknowledge the extraordinary and that, regardless of cultural or language background, families need us to see their assets and cultural wealth, before their deficits.  

 

Building our Network of Professional Interpreters in Education

We are making history again! Our UGA Professional Interpreter in Special Education Certificate online course welcomed its first participant from the Dominican Republic! She joined participants from 12 states who will work through terminology pertaining to psychoeducational assessments, practice consecutive interpretation with simulated eligibility and IEP meetings, and develop their vocabulary and abbreviation glossaries.

 

With 38 students, 15 states and one country combined, our UGA Professional Interpreter in Education and our Professional Interpreter in Special Education Certificate online courses are covering some ground!

Establishing a Collective Understanding of Standards and Professionalism!

A national organization to establish, maintain and promote the standards, qualifications and accreditation of educational translators and interpreters of spoken languages is now a reality! The National Accreditation of Educational Translators and Interpreters of Spoken Languages (NAETISL) is a professional organization that collaborates with stakeholders to establish a collective understanding of the standards, qualifications and accreditation requirements for educational translators and interpreters of spoken languages with the goal of enhancing English Learner family involvement, student achievement, and meaningful home-school communication.

 

As a future 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, NAETISL’s vision is to support language access and language justice in early childhood and K-12 educational settings through highly qualified and nationally accredited educational translators and interpreters of spoken languages. To support school districts and English Learner families, NAETISL will provide evidence-based best practices, cost-effective language access tools, and resources to develop, sustain and evaluate interpretation and translation units to strengthen home-school connections with all students and families. Our collaboration with English Learner families and school administrators will establish a quality assurance process for members of our community who rely on professional and nationally accredited educational translators and interpreters of spoken languages. 

 

We are also thrilled to announce that our Chairperson, Ana Soler, has received approval to focus her PhD in Special Education research on culturally and linguistically responsive practices in early childhood and K-12 settings, and the impact of qualifications, training, and skill-development of educational translators and interpreters of spoken languages. We will now have the research and data to support the essential work of translators and interpreters in education, and highlight the importance of specialized training and accreditation of professional interpreters and translators working in early childhood and K-12 settings. 

 

Please visit our website: https://www.naetisl.net/ for additional information. We look forward to strengthening this national effort on behalf of our school districts, our families and our professional interpreters and translators in education!  


Creating language and cultural bridges one training at a time! 

Professional Interpreters in Education Virtual Conference: An Example of Collaboration and Cross-Training

Recognizing commonalities and strengthening professional connections with interpreters with experience in a variety of settings were some of the goals we set out to accomplish with our second virtual conference. From our conference evaluations, we can tell that we accomplished that and so much more! We learned about video remote interpretation from Sign Language Interpreters; we learned the connection between legal interpreters and the work we do in special education settings; we highlighted the note-taking and sight translation skills expected of interpreters in early childhood and K-12 settings; and we worked through ethical dilemmas.

 

And then we got to practice! General Education and Special Education Teachers, along with Language Access and Language Justice Advocates volunteered their time to help our interpreters practice consecutive interpretation. Not only did our participants get to practice their skills in a safe learning environment, but teachers and moderators got to see some of the linguistic challenges that interpreters face (interpreting idioms, jargon, unknown terminology and more). The connections made and the professional growth that was accomplished in a few hours, will certainly have long lasting and positive effects. We can't wait for our next virtual adventure! 


Inaugural Virtual Conference for Professional Interpreters in Education

Our group of dedicated Marshallese and Spanish-speaking professionals in Arkansas who provide interpretation services in educational settings serving children from birth through 12th grade participated in our inaugural two-day Virtual Conference and left energized and more united than ever! We brought together all of the teams that we have trained for the past three years and recipients of an Interpreter Credential recognized by both the Arkansas Department of Education and Arkansas DHS Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education. To build our network and offer much needed peer support, we invited several distinguished guest speakers (also known as former UGA Professional Interpreters in Education course students or SeSo, Inc. workshop participants) to share their knowledge and experience. We learned Video Remote Interpretation techniques, vocabulary to work with families of children with Autism and Learning Disabilities, and tips to prepare for special eructation meetings. We practiced different modes of interpretation, and developed resources for further learning. Best of all, we created a community based on genuine and enthusiastic support and we left energized and better prepared for a new school year. Thank you to all the professionals who participated and shared their expertise!


Why We Choose to Celebrate

Thank you to our SeSo, Inc. Contract Interpreters and Translators, our network of Professional Interpreters in Education, our University of Georgia students (former and present), colleagues who are participating in our Skill-Building Live Webinar series, and all the Teachers and School Administrators that support their work. Though our end-of-school year looks and feels different than before, we choose to focus on the many things we can celebrate. We, at SeSo, Inc. are grateful for all of the school districts across the nation that rely on our expertise to provide only the most qualified and trained interpreters/translators and cultural liaisons. In the last month, our team of Interpreters/Translators has:

  • Provided Video Remote Interpretation or Phone Interpretation for over 480 meetings in 11 languages.
  • Translated over 200 pages of text in 9 different languages, often completing translations within a day to ensure that our English Learner parents obtain information promptly.

We only train the best and we only work with the best! Here’s a glimpse of the connections that our trained and qualified Professional Interpreters and Translators in Education have made thus far and what we choose to celebrate: 

  •  I walked a Vietnamese speaking parent through the Kindergarten registration process over Zoom! We both learned a lot about technology that day!
  • I translated a 16-page Digital Learning Lesson Plan from English to Arabic in less than a day, so our families could be informed on ways to support their student during this time.
  •  The school offered an online meeting for Portuguese speaking families and the Principal. I was so fortunate to be the interpreter for that meeting and communicate the grateful messages from our families to the Principal.
  •  I interpreted for 14 Special Education meetings with Spanish speaking families in a week! I felt essential!
  •  Our English Learner families are trying to do their part. A Spanish-speaking Mom reached out to me to set up an online meeting with the teacher to learn about Google Classroom and see how else she could help her child at home. That’s big!   
  • Translating graduation cancellation notices was sad. However, I felt that I was doing my part by keeping our English Learner families informed almost at the same time as our English-speaking families. That’s important.
  • Our school has been great about sending frequent communication to our families in Chinese, French, Spanish, Vietnamese and Korean, thanks to your translators!
  • The school was worried that their Burmese-speaking families were being left behind. I was happy to communicate with the families to make sure that they were not.
  • I participated in your last Skill-Building Live Webinar Series and learned tips to switch from in-person interpretation to Video Remote Interpretation. I had my first VRI meeting the following week and it was very smooth and professional! Thank you.
  • Our families and our kids are very resilient. Each time I interpret for families online, I am reminded of how strong our families and our kids really are during a crisis. 

Our Network of Professional Interpreters in Education Just Got Stronger! 

Arkansas continues to pave the way for Professional Interpreters in Education.  Another group of dedicated Marshallese and Spanish-speaking professionals in Arkansas who provide interpretation services in educational settings serving children from birth through 12th grade will soon receive their Interpreter Credential. This professional credential is recognized by both the Arkansas Department of Education and Arkansas DHS Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education. Our schools are very fortunate to count with these professionals who are specifically trained to provide the type of language access services that our schools and English Learner families deserve. 

Our Health and Education Promoters Program...A Success Story

We are very grateful to the International Community School for supporting our mission to create language and cultural bridges, one training at a time. As part of our effort to strengthen the knowledge bridge between medical and educational interpreters, our Health and Education Promotion Program (HEPP®) participants completed a 40-hour training that covered topics such as disparities in health and education, language access and the role of the interpreter, standards of practice and code of ethics in healthcare and education, strategies to become cultural bridge builders, ethical dilemmas, interpreter self-care, and consecutive, simultaneous and sight translation skills practice. Our Dari, Farsi, Pashto, Spanish, Somali, Nepali, Amharic, French, Burmese, Hakha, Falam, Mara Chin, Chinese, Swahili, Lingala, Arabic and Barawa speakers also learned how to market their skills as interpreters, tools needed to work as Video Remote Interpreters and frequently used terms related to health and education.  

 

As a social enterprise*, SeSo, Inc. was able to provide scholarships to most of the participants who, upon completing all of the course requirements, were referred to local and national interpreter agencies that will benefit from their linguistic and cultural skills. SeSo, Inc. will also enlist some of our graduates to communicate cultural humility messages to school districts and develop additional tools to support the work of interpreters and translators. We look forward to collaborating with other community organizations to continue offering our Health and Education Promotion Program (HEPP®) and support language access while providing workforce development opportunities to our participants. 


Promoting the Gift of Bilingualism - One of Our Favorite Missions!

What do you like the most about your job as an interpreter?  What do I need to do now if I want to become an interpreter? Can I be a translator and also an interpreter? How did you learn English? Can a medical interpreter also work in a school? How much can I earn as an interpreter?  A recent Career Fair gave SeSo, Inc. the amazing opportunity to answer these and many more thoughtful questions from bilingual high school students and provide resources for career exploration in the field of interpretation and translation. Talking to these young, gifted minds about the exciting opportunities available to use their language and culture to benefit their communities, is one of the most important missions we have as an organization and we look forward to continuing to reach our future workforce with our message.     


Promoting Welcoming Schools for All - Strengthening Cultural Bridges

Cultural humility is defined as an ongoing process of self- reflection and self-critique. We are grateful for the opportunity to involve school front office personnel and teachers in this process in order to create more welcoming schools and communities! Our highly interactive workshops have provided educators with practical tools to engage English Learner families, highlight family contributions to their children’s education, and describe the essential skills of qualified school interpreters and cultural liaisons to create stronger home-school connections. Our next workshop in GA will include a panel of our very own Cultural Liaisons and Professional Interpreters in Education who will share insight about educational differences, family expectations and more. We can’t wait to meet School Principals, Faculty and Administrators seeking to promote welcoming schools for all. 


Would you like to join us as a guest speaker? Seeking additional information about our upcoming professional development opportunities? Please reach out using the form below.

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