• Translation and Interpretation Support

    Translation and Interpretation Support
    The following provides an overview of how to obtain interpretation and translation (documents in a language other than English) support for families that speak a language other than English. If you have any questions or an emergency need, please contact the ESL Department at 412-529-3516. Do not use students as interpreters.
    Interpretation is for oral communication in another language for phone calls and in person meetings.
    Translation is for documents in a language other than English such as parent/teacher invitations, IEPs, etc.
    To request either of these supports, please click on the link below and follow the prompts. The ESL department will be in touch within 24-36 hours regarding your inquiry. Please note that if you are requesting for a PSE document, ensure that the PSE Language Preference Form has been completed prior to submitting your request. There are also translated versions in Arabic, Burmese, Chinese, Farsi, Nepali, Pashto, Russian, Spanish, and Swahili. Please contact the ESL Department to request these documents.

    To secure interpreters/translators, please follow these steps:

    1. Utilize the Home Language Survey in the student’s permanent files or review eSchools Plus to see if a language other than English is spoken by the family. Please avoid presumptions and use these tools to determine possible translation and translation needs.
    2. If families need interpretation or translation the district is legally required to provide these services. Please do not schedule any meetings or send paperwork home in English if this support is required.
    3. Please refrain from using Google Translate due to the inaccurate nature of the translations.
    4. If families decline translation or interpretation support, the ESL department will honor that request.



    The ESL department processes all district request for interpretation and translation. Considering the high volume of requests, adhering to timelines is critical to ensure equity and promptness for all. The ESL department cannot guarantee any request that does not adhere to these periods.

    Most Commonly Requested School Based Needs

    Requested Need Return Time from ESL Department
    Non-emergency phone calls to families 24-48 Hours
    1-3-page document One-Two Weeks
    Live interpretation for meeting or other event    24-48 Hours

    Most Commonly Requested PSE (Program for Students with Exceptionalities) Needs

    Requested Need   Return Time from ESL Department
    IEP at a Glance  One Week
    IEP (Individualized Education Plan)  One Month
    Permission to Evaluate (PTE)  Three Days
    1-3-page PSE document  One Week

    In order to improve access to translations and strengthen FERPA practices for students and families, the ESL Department will be modifying how translated materials are disseminated.

    For any translation request that has sensitive student information, all documents will be uploaded via the District’s SharePoint beginning on September 1, 2019. This includes, but is not limited to:

    • PSE documents (IEPs, NOREPs, etc.)
    • Disciplinary information
    • Academic notices
    • Transcripts

    The requesting teacher or administrator will then receive a link to the needed document that requires a district log-in.

    It is our hope that these new changes will prevent redundant email searches and ensure optimal student confidentiality. Please contact the ESL Department if you have any questions.


    Process for families who prefer oral interpretation or for non-written languages:

    • Documents for families not literate in their language do not necessarily have to be translated, but an interpreter must explain all documents. The ESL department will make all practical attempts to translate documents in these languages at parental request. 
    • If a family prefers all documents explained to them, make sure an interpreter is present for all meetings. Complete the link two weeks in advance to make this request.
    • At the beginning of all meetings, it’s helpful to use the Interpretation Services Acknowledgement Form each time an interpreter is present. 
    • For families that request translated documents in a lesser commonly spoken language, the ESL Department will make all reasonable attempts to do so in a timely manner.

    Best practices:

    • Introduce yourself to the interpreter.
    • Speak directly to the parent and not the interpreter.
    • Provide opportunities for check-ins for parents and allow time and space for questions throughout the meeting.
    • Speak slowly and in small chunks of information.
    • The interpreter only relays direct word for word communication and is not an advocate or spokesperson for the family.
    • Keep in mind that some concepts that exist in English may not in other languages. The opposite also holds true.
    • Avoid overly technical and educational jargon.
    • Be patient with the process. 
    • Interpreters can not provide transportation for families.


    About PPS interpreters and Translators:

    All PPS translators and interpreters participate in professional development throughout the school year, maintain full confidentiality, and engage in best practices as defined by the American Translators Association.