There’s been a long-held belief in the US that English-only education is beneficial for all kind of students and that it’d help English-language learning (ELL) students adapt faster to American culture and life. However, what if a child cannot understand the teacher and is unable to learn?
Research shows that children who receive early education in their mother tongue tend to do better in the following years. (Thomas and Collier, 1997) Multilingual Education programs include a guided transition from learning in the mother tongue to learning in another language.
Why is multilingual education important?
It builds additional brain connections as children grow, it creates opportunities for their future and it helps communities get stronger. Idea Translations strongly believes children learning in a dual or multilingual education program will be better prepared for a hyper-digital-border-free world.
What are the challenges multilingual educators face?
There are many challenges involving content translated for multilingual education purposes. Below are the ones we believe are most relevant:
- Education content is unique. It must be adapted to grade level proficiency and cannot be treated as a simple translation. Subject matter expertise in education content is key to make sure the reading level matches students’ needs and the message is clear and understandable.
- Content to be used in the classroom is edited and updated often, typically every year. It is key to have a glossary of key terms and a translation memory in order to avoid duplicating costs and to accelerate time to market for new education content.
- Email or link exchange to download content can be unorganized and risky. Having a Translation Management Platform can keep your content organized, secure and accessible at your fingertips.
- Visual and audio content is crucial in education. However, some of these elements might not translate well. Make sure your team can tackle multimedia and complex formats in other languages.
“Embracing linguistic diversity in education and literacy development is central to addressing these literacy challenges and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.” UNESCO
Last year, Idea translations became partners to Portland Public Schools, Stamford Public Schools, The Parent Project, Jackson Public Schools and Adams 12 Five Star Schools providing translation solutions. Investing in multilingual education ends saving up costs, since it makes it possible to gain strong conceptual and academic foundations in young students.
Research shows that investing in education raises education attainment and earnings, and reduces the likelihood of both poverty and incarceration in adulthood. If you don’t know where to begin with, pass by Idea Translations, booth P3, at the Multilingual Education Fair in DC, January 25 where the education team can answer all your questions and provide guidance for your next multilingual education project.