OCDE conference focuses on strengthening school interpretation and translation services

There’s still time for educators, parents and community members to register for a month-long virtual conference aimed at enhancing school-based interpretation and translation services.

Hosted by OCDE’s Educational Services division, the fifth annual Interpreters and Translators Conference began this week and continues through Oct. 2. It features 20 live, one-hour sessions on Thursdays and Fridays for four weeks, covering such topics as remote interpreting, cultural challenges, technology, best practices for translations and more.

The keynote address will be delivered Friday, Sept. 10 by interpreting expert Maha El-Metwally. Access to all of the presentations will be accessible on-demand through Oct. 31 for those who register for the event, which is based on the theme “On the Road to Professionalization.”Interpreters and Translators Conference flier

“It’s a unique time for educational interpreters because we have become even more stronger, resilient, empathetic and united than ever,” OCDE Program Specialist Natalia Abarca said. “We have committed to communicating across cultures to provide accurate language access in the community, serving our families and students.”

Under Abarca’s leadership, OCDE has built a professional network and countywide infrastructure to support language services. Along with hosting trainings, the department has worked to establish common educational terminology, launched an awards program and hosted the annual Interpreters and Translators Conference.

Following three in-person events, last year’s conference was one of many that had to make the jump to a virtual format. Still, Abarca said online presentations offered an “unforgettable learning experience.”

This year, 350 attendees have signed up from 22 states and six countries, representing at least 80 school districts and 36 county offices of education. And several professional organizations have approved the conference program for continuing educational units, including the Judicial Council of California, the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters and the American Translators Association.

The registration cost for this year’s version starts at $125 per person. To sign up, or to learn more about the event, visit http://cvent.me/9KxzEG. For more information, contact Natalia Abarca at nabarca@ocde.us or Jorge Ibarra at jibarra@ocde.us.

An earlier version of this story ran on June 16, 2021.