Translation is a notoriously difficult task, but in the world of education, which often employs a language all its own, the job can be even more daunting. After all, in education, parents aren't just parents, they're "stakeholders." A test isn't a test -- it's an "outcome-based assessment."I understand the need for translators to work with local school systems. However, why do we have to worry about translating educationese.
To help non-English-speaking parents understand the nuances of the U.S. school system, it's not enough to be fluent in English and say, Farsi. Translators must also understand the meaning of terms and acronyms that some educators have difficulty explaining in English.
Suarez-Orozco said that although the English "paradigm" can be translated into Spanish as paradigma , it's not commonly used. And, he said, when it comes to a word such as "benchmark" there really is no Spanish equivalent.
As a lawyer, one of the most common arguments I hear from non-lawyers is that lawyers always speak in "legalese." I will admit, we often do, as many legal concepts common to lawyers are referred to by various terms of art. However, a good lawyer should always--always--be able to discuss legal terms of art with non-lawyers in a way that is understandable to the client in particular and the general public if necessary.
One of the hallmarks of a profession that considers itself on a higher plane than the rest of the world is the formation of a distinct lexicon of words and phrases that may, or may not, mean something specific to the practitioners of that profession. On this score, I have no problems, economy of language allows professionals to speak to each other in a short-hand. But when your primary constituency are not members of your profession, the profesion has a duty to explain these concepts in plain English.
Thus, if the words are in plain English, a translator should have no problems making the transition from plain English to a different language. You may lose some of the context in the shift between languages, but the words can be explained. Every langauge I know of has a word for "test" or "program" or "parents." You don't need fancy terms when speaking to parents, doing so just appears condescending, making hte parents feel stupid and inadequate and thus less likely to question the "professional judgement" of the educator.