How Translation Devices can make a difference in people’s lives.
Karim Brown, parent liaison at Allentown School District discovered something that will potentially improve the relationship of many parents with their children's schools: Offering simultaneous interpretation to parents whose first language is not English, since many times not understanding what is being said and the embarrassment of having to ask for a translator makes these parents decide not to get involved with the school.
"We know a lot of our families don't feel comfortable coming to a school for a program or event when there is not going to be someone there to interpret what's being said," Karim stated.
To solve this, each school in the district will receive a complete Enersound language interpretation system for up to 25 people. This system is ideal for small meetings or school events and can be expanded if to accommodate more foreign speaking participants.
How does the system work?
Each parent/participant gets a wireless receiver and a set of headphones. The interpreter uses a transmitter connected to a microphone to translate what the presenter says into the foreign language. Only the participants using these receivers can listen to the interpreter. Everything happens in real time with very little lag between the presenter’s speech and the interpreter’s rendition in the foreign language. The interpreter is usually seated at the back of the room inside a translation booth.
Using interpretation systems to break the language barriers is not only an inclusive solution, but it is mandatory in a school district with over 67% of Spanish, Latino and bilingual population.
Parents themselves believe that this will end the fear and shame of attending school meetings. We cannot begin to express how happy news like this make us feel.
Technology is here to bring us closer, and this case is a great proof of that.
We celebrate Allentown’s School District decision and hope it can inspire others facing similar issues.
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FAQ's Translation devices for schools
Are these devices simple to use for non-tech savvy parents?
Yes, the basic operation is extremely simple. Parents will receive receivers that look like portable radios and can be already tuned to the correct channel. They only need to put on the headphones and adjust the volume as needed. Receivers can already be powered on when given to parents or ask them to push on the power button to start and shut off the device.
Do the foreign speaking parents in need to be close to the interpreter to listen to their interpretation?
Not necessarily, the range of the Enersound TP-600 portable transmitter is around 150ft; stationary transmitters such as the T-500 have a longer range of about 500 ft. Members of the audience using wireless receivers can be all the way at the back of the classroom or auditorium or on a side and they’ll still be well within the range.
Can we use a splitter so we can connect more headphones to one receiver?
Yes, you can; but most of the time it is not necessary because the included double headphones don’t feature a headband or anything to keep them joined, so two people can share them each one listening through one of the headphones. The signal is mono so both will receive the exact same audio. However, sharing headphones is not recommended to help maintain social distancing.
Do we need a license to use these products?
No, you don’t, but the manufacturer needs to request an approval for the transmitter by the FCC, which if granted should be shown on the device itself by displaying its FCC ID. You should always make sure that the transmitter you are using features said ID. Receivers, on the other hand, don’t need any specific license or approval.
Some of the parents at our school wish to bring their own headphones from home to use with the system, will they be compatible?
Most likely they will if they are wired headphones and not Bluetooth. They should have a 3.5mm plug, that’s compatible with the jack on the FM receivers. This 3.5mm jack is the regular one most headphones have featured for decades. We do not recommend using cheap earbuds as the sound quality may be diminished.