By: Sanah Matadar, Social Media coordinator & Hongyan (Jack) Xu, Marketing Manager
November saw MCIS sending interpreters on assignments all across Southern Ontario. The reason? To interpret for over 1,000 parent-teacher interviews. This year, MCIS handled and provided interpretation services to four school boards:
- The Toronto District School Board (TDSB)
- The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB)
- The Peel District School Board (PDSB)
- The Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB)
With the increase in migration and family resettlement that has taken place in Canada and Ontario over the past number of years, a great majority of students in Southern Ontario speak multiple languages. For instance, for the TDSB, Canada’s largest school board, over half of their students speak non-English languages at home.
While students practice their English at school, and continue speaking other languages at home, parents are not always given this same opportunity. Indeed, many parents may only speak their native non-English language. So, when it comes time for two nights of Parent-Teacher Interviews at every school, and teachers must provide each child’s parents with critical information to help the kids grow and succeed in a 15-minute window, a prodigious language barrier is felt by both teachers and parents alike. It is then up to organizations like MCIS, along with its thousands of freelance partners, to step up to the plate and attempt to remove this barrier.
This Fall, for parent-teacher interviews alone, MCIS received a total of 2,139 requests for interpreters, the majority of them in the span of two days. Requested languages include Arabic, Spanish, Punjabi, Cantonese, Mandarin and many more. In the end, we were able to fulfill 87 percent of total requests. And by conservative estimate, each request covered about two interviews. Thus, with each fulfilled request, MCIS provided aid to the teacher, to the parent or parents present, and most importantly, to the child whose progress was the topic of discussion. In the end, MCIS interpreters were responsible for helping upwards of 5000 unique individuals within a matter of days, shattering the language barriers presented.
As the saying goes, it takes a village. MCIS staff did a phenomenal job of organizing and coordinating interviews, making these interpretations possible. A very special thank you to the Vendor Management Team (Paawan, Ike, Katie, and Adanna) and Interpreter Services Team (Jonathan, Anjum, Ali, and Stella) dedicated to these assignments, as well as countless others in other departments. Without their hard work, dedication and creative solutions, none of this would have been possible.