Why Public Schools Should Translate Robocalls

by: Jim Maziejka

What is a Robocall?

Robocalls are automated telephone calls that deliver pre-recorded messages to several recipients simultaneously. Public schools often use them to communicate important information to parents and guardians, such as school closures, schedule changes and emergency alerts.  However, for parents and guardians who speak languages other than English, robocalls can be a source of confusion and frustration. 

In today’s globalized society, it’s becoming increasingly important for schools to offer language translation services to their diverse student body and families. If Robocalls are only available in English, they can create a significant language barrier for families with limited English proficiency (LEP), making it difficult for them to fully understand important information about their child’s education. 

Public schools should consider translating robocalls into multiple languages to ensure all parents and guardians can understand the information being delivered. This will lead to improved communication, increased safety, enhanced trust and collaboration to increase academic success. By following best practices for translation, schools can ensure that translated robocalls are effective and accessible to all community members.

The Importance of Effective Communication in Schools

Effective communication is essential for creating a positive and supportive school learning environment. When parents and guardians are informed and engaged, they are better equipped to support their children’s academic success. Conversely, when communication is poor or non-existent, parents and guardians may feel disconnected from their children’s education, leading to disengagement and lower academic achievement.

Language barriers are a significant obstacle to effective communication in K-12 schools. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, nearly 9.6% of students in public schools in the United States are English language learners (ELLs). Many parents and guardians of non-ELL students may speak languages other than English at home, making it difficult for them to fully understand and engage with school communications.

Benefits of providing robocalls in multiple languages

Providing robocalls in multiple languages will help LEP parents feel more included in their child’s education by ensuring that they receive important information in their preferred language. This can help promote greater parental involvement, which has been linked to improved academic results for students.

Translating robocalls will help ensure that LEP families have equal access to important school information, such as school closures, events and announcements. This can help build stronger relationships between schools and families.

In emergencies, parents and guardians must receive timely and accurate information. By translating robocalls into multiple languages, schools can ensure all families can  access important safety information, regardless of their language background.

When families are fully informed about their child’s education, they can  better support their academic growth and success. Translating robocalls will help ensure that LEP families have the information they need to support their child’s academic journey, which can lead to improved student outcomes.

Implementing A Robocall Translation Process

Schools can begin by assessing the language needs of their student body, families and community. This can be done through surveys, language assessments and data analysis. Once the language needs are identified, schools can determine the languages included to provide robocall translations.

Hire a professional translation agency to provide high-quality, accurate translations and voice-over.  A K-12 school translation service should have experience translating education-related content and should be able to work within the school’s budget and timeline. Robocall projects are often time sensitive and require completion within 24 hours. Having an experienced translation partner that understands the urgency of these projects is very important. 

Develop a plan for how they will implement multilingual robocalls. This may include identifying the types of messages that will be translated, establishing a schedule for sending robocalls and determining how families can opt-in to receive these messages.

Promote the availability of having robocalls in multiple languages for the families within the school district. This can be promoted through school newsletters, flyers, social media and other communication channels. Schools can also work with community organizations and local media to promote the service.

Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of the multilingual robocalls and make adjustments as needed. This may include soliciting feedback from families, analyzing usage data and making changes to the service based on feedback.

Best Practices for Translating Robocalls

Providing robocalls in multiple languages can be a powerful tool for improving communication and promoting equity in education. By ensuring that LEP families have equal access to essential  information, schools can promote greater involvement from parents and guardians, increase access to school information, and improve student performance in the classroom. 

While implementing a robocall translation process may require an initial investment of time and resources, the long-term benefits can be significant. Schools that provide robocalls in the languages spoken by the families of LEP students will demonstrate a commitment to supporting the academic success of all students, regardless of their language background.

Pierian Spring Group partners with school districts nationwide to translate documents in over 150 languages. To get started, contact our team for a project estimation

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