Conference highlights the growing demand for school interpreters, translators

As the population continues to become increasingly diverse, school interpreters and translators now play a more vital role in helping families break down language barriers can that prevent students from succeeding.

That was the message from the 2018 Interpreters and Translators Conference held Friday at Orange County Department of Education headquarters.

Now in its second year, the conference aimed to support the equal access of culturally and linguistically diverse students and their families in the educational system. It drew more than 250 participants from five states.

speakers stands in front of audienceAttendees included interpreters, translators, community liaisons, administrators and multilingual staff. Through a series of workshops, they learned about tools and best practices needed to promote cultural diversity. The conference also focused on how to best share new and innovative technology to help attendees enhance their presentation skills.

“In less than 30 years, we’ve gone from a job that didn’t exist to one of the biggest growing professions,” speaker Katherine Allen, co-president of InterpretAmerica, told the audience.

Speaker Cheri Wilson, a nationally recognized diversity and inclusion, cultural and linguistic competence, and health equity subject matter expert, said interpreters and translators now hold key positions in helping local communities overcome biases when it comes to dealing with diverse student populations.

Speaker Lysa Saltzman, counsel at OCDE who works with districts throughout Orange County, discussed her personal experiences living in a foreign country and how difficulty in understanding language can present daily challenges.