WHY SHOULD K-12 TRANSLATIONS BE DUMBED DOWN?

BY: LESLIE PADILLA-WILLIAMS

I have an esteemed colleague who was asked by a bilingual teacher to change his translation of “puppy” from cachorro to perro pequeño. His argument that a small dog could be fifteen years old went to deaf ears. When translating the parent instructions on an online student enrollment page, I was asked by a bilingual staff member to change introducir la información del estudiante to insertar la información. The argument for that suggestion was that introducir meant to “introduce a person”.
Many years ago, an assistant principal asked me to “dumb down” the translation so parents could understand the content. (more…)

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INTERPRETING EDUCATIONAL ACRONYMS: NEN ( NO ENTIENDO NADA )

INTERPRETING EDUCATIONAL ACRONYMS: NEN (NO ENTIENDO NADA)
by Leslie Padilla-Williams

I must confess that I have made a lot of mistakes during my career as an interpreter in K-12 meetings. Every, and I mean every, educational meeting, whether it be an IEP, SST, SARB or a “simple” parent-teacher conference is full of acronyms. Early on in my career, when I was naïve enough to think that being bilingual and biliterate was all I needed in order to be an interpreter, I remember interpreting phrases such as:Thank you for coming to Juan’s IEP meeting, in this manner: Gracias por venir a la reunion I-E-P de Juan. It did not take me long to find out that neither the mother or I knew what was meant by IEP, even if I did say letters in Spanish! (more…)

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“Español Neutro” for School Translations

Español Neutro for School Translations
By Leslie Padilla-Williams

What would you think if you received a letter from your child’s school that contains this sentence: If you ain’t got no money, yo can get lunch on the ease, dude? I have school-aged children, so I know I would have a patatús (“nervous breakdown”) if I had received that letter. I would immediately question the qualifications of the school’s administrators, the curriculum being taught, and whether or not the teachers knew English well enough to teach it! After the initial shock, I would feel downright insulted. (more…)

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