Translating to Understand All: A Reporter’s Perspective

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When I think about Possip’s focus on translation in every Pulse Check sent out, I think about equity. As a teacher, equity is consistently a pillar within my classroom. Every week teaching my students, I come back to my own educational mission. Every student deserves to be heard and deserves a quality education. 

Sarah Besand, Possip Reporter and current educator, shares her perspective on translating to understand all.

As a reporter for Possip as well, I love that we are living out some of these exact same tenants. As a driving force, our mission states: “Possip helps people influence the complex places that shape their lives by giving leaders quick, actionable insights from their large and diverse communities,”and we are doing just that. With our investment in high-quality translation services, I have personally seen Pulse Checks consistently ensure voices in diverse communities are heard, no matter the difference in language. We translate to understand all.

As a reporter, here are 3 things I’ve learned while working with Possip’s translation tools:

Challenges that students who are English Learners and Families Experience

Throughout my time as a reporter, I have seen a lot in terms of challenges that students who are English Learners and their families are working to overcome. Many of these challenges revolve around understanding how to access resources at school. In addition, it involves connecting with a translator, or striving to support their student’s academic success at home. So often, these are families that are new to the country and navigating a different educational system can be difficult. Additionally, students are also trying to make their way at school while possibly speaking another language. So, translating to understand all is extremely important for the Possip Reporting Team. Families often need follow-ups and extra support, and language services help us target those needs.

How Translation Encourages Equity

To mitigate the challenges that students who are English Learners and their families experience, educational leaders across the country focus on translation within the school building. In our Possip Spotlight article, “Making Every Parent Known at Amqui, we dive into how Amqui Elementary accomplishes this on their campus. As a Possip reporter, I love that Possip has followed a similar model for Pulse Checks. Every week in my reports, I see languages from around the globe being translated with language tools and I am easily able to sort through them and provide recommendations to schools. I have never worried about not understanding a comment because of a language barrier, because Possip is able to translate 103 languages in Pulse Checks every week.

This pillar of the Possip model is one that promotes equity and translating to understand all. It serves as an extra layer of support. This make sure voices are heard. It also allows me as a reporter to proceed normally, even if I don’t understand comments in the original language. Providing equality for all would mean everyone receiving the same Pulse Check. But, this extra layer of support ensures equity for all families.

Clarity in Reporting with Language Services

With the implementation of these language services at Possip, school leaders are able to get a clear picture of the feedback from their entire population. As a reporter seeing many different languages every week, I cannot imagine what reports would look like without these voices heard. Additionally, many schools can’t either. When she was the YES Prep Public Schools Director of Family Engagement, Barb Campbell stated: “To see over 50% of our responses come from non-English speaking families, I feel more confident in the data that we are hearing from the communities that we actually serve. And also, just an overwhelming amount of gratitude; there is a lot of positivity that’s coming forward.” This shows just how valuable Possip’s language services are. And, how much translation influences the accuracy of the data on the reporting side.

Every step of this process goes back to the mission of translating to understand all. This is evident in every Pulse Check that is sent out. Next time you look at your weekly report, you can rest assured knowing that every voice, no matter the language, will always be elevated.

The virtual live panel discussion took place on October 19th, 2023: “Breaking the Language Barrier: How Hearing From All Voices Can Improve Schools”!