Use of Interpreters
Chapter 6
Interpreter: conveys information from L1
to L2 orally
 Translator: conveys information from L1
to L2 in writing.
Criteria for Selection of
Equally fluent in English and the native
Have a minimum of a high school diploma.
Be able to:
Accurately translate from L1 to L2
Be sensitive to the style of the speaker
Adjust to linguistic variations
Know about the culture of the speaker
Familiar with educational terms
Understand their role in the IEP meeting
People who should not be
Friends of the student or his/her family.
Family members of the student
Possibly the student’s teacher
Anyone who is also attending the same school
as the student (another student)
Anyone who is not fluent in both languages
Anyone who cannot be impartial about this child
Anyone who does not understand confidentiality
issues and the importance of FERPA and test
Interpreter Code of Ethics
Keep all information strictly confidential.
Always convey the content and spirit of the
message in a manner understandable by all.
Shall not counsel, advice, or interject personal
Only accept assignments for which qualified.
Fee information is decided upfront.
Be respectful to all persons involved.
Shall attend any additional training needed and
study current literature of the field.
Specific Translator Training that
Might be needed.
Special education terms in both English and
other language (ex. Pg 99-100).
Procedures for any meetings for which they are
Basic rules for assessments.
Basic techniques for assessments.
Overview and practice joint administration of
tests in the target language.
Legal and ethical guidelines needed to work as
a translator.
Basic knowledge of 2nd language acquisition.
Things to teach the
Know the purpose of the session and any
materials needed.
Ask questions when you are unclear.
Introduce yourself and everyone else
Interpret everything (not just the gist) do not
make assumptions that this bit of information is
unimportant and doesn’t need translating.
Remain neutral throughout.
Maintain confidentiality throughout.
Tips when using interpreters…
Allow time before testing to train the interpreters
(long before) and reacquaint the interpreters
(right before) with tests.
Speak in short, simple sentences.
Avoid idioms or jargon.
Use specific terms.
Allow time to translate all messages.
Frequently check for understanding.
For first one or two times, have someone else
sit in who speaks both languages to evaluate.
More tips…
Speak naturally in brief but complete sentences.
Look at the person talking, not the interpreter.
Monitor facial expressions for confusion.
Monitor body language to judge acceptance of
the information.
Allow extra time for this type of testing and
these types of meetings in your schedule.
You administer the tests, not the translator.
Allow for breaks when needed.
Nothing said should be left out of translation.
Group Project: Translator
Your administrator has requested that you find
a German translator for an pre-referral meeting.
Where would you look inside of the school?
Where would you look outside of the school?
What would you tell your administrator that is
needed prior to the meeting? The child needs
testing, what would you tell your administrator if
needed prior to the assessment?
The Interview Process
Chapter 7
Benefits of the Interview
Firsthand knowledge or developmental,
experiential and academic hx
Insight into family, culture, and education of the
student, teacher, and parent
Information about previous interventions
attempted prior to referral
Description of social (peer, teacher, and family)
A chance to tell parents about the assessment
process and update them on their rights.
Knowledge of child’s day-to-day experiences.
Problems with Interviews
Interview information is subjective.
 Interview information is non-normative
 Interviewees may over (or under)
emphasize the problem so that the child
will (or won’t) look to need services.
 Interviewees may leave out information
that would be vital (either because you
didn’t ask or they didn’t want to tell).
Group Project
A teacher of a child who has been referred for
testing wants to talk to you in the hall. She has
additional information about the child she wants
to share. The child’s file is on your desk, but
you haven’t seen anything beyond the name.
What do you do right then in the hall?
Look at Form 7.1 in your book and decide what
are some things that need doing prior to the
interview. Why do you need to do these things?
Assumptions before the
Parent is as or more concerned than you are
about the problem.
Parent wants to be involved in each step of the
Parent has information that is critical for an
accurate assessment of the child.
Parent has already worked to address the
problems using some sort of techniques at
Assumptions when doing any
interviews or consultation
You are the expert on assessment and
diagnosis as well as intervention services.
The teacher is an expert on the academic wellbeing of this child, the classroom that the child
is in, the peer interactions of this child, and
curriculum in general.
The parent is an expert on the physical,
developmental, and emotional well-being of this
child as well as family interactions, thoughts
and dreams of the child, and almost any childspecific information.
Each of you work together as a team of experts.
Structured interview formats
Sattler has a great list of structured interview
BASC Structured Developmental History is also
a great interview format.
The text has great interview questions on forms
7.2, 7.3, and 7.4.
Structured interviews allow for you to ask most
of the relevant questions without missing vital
information because you forgot to ask.
Problems with Structured
Rapport is slow to develop if you stick to
only the scripted questions.
 Important questions may not be asked
because “they aren’t on the form.”
 Some questions may not be appropriate
for certain problems or dx questions, thus
you may be taking up valuable time
asking meaningless questions.
What are the most important
Those related to the referral concern.
 Those that assist in the identification of a
disability, area in need of intervention, or
better understanding of the system in
which the child lives.
 Questions that help rule out (or in)
exclusionary factors as the main problem.
Phone interviews?
Interviewing by phones is hard to do, but
especially difficult when the parent does not
speak English.
Rapport is slow to build
Body language cannot be seen
Parent may not be able to give full attention to a
phone call.
Sometimes, phone interviews are the only way
to get any information; however, if a parent
cannot get to a school, maybe a home visit is
the best way to handle the situation.
Acculturational Factors
Chapter 8
2004 IDEA Regs.
Eligibility team should…
“Draw upon information from a variety of
sources, including aptitude and achievement
tests, parent input, and teacher
recommendations, as well as information
about the child's physical condition, social or
cultural background, and adaptive behavior”
2004 IDEA regs. . .
Assessments should be …
“selected and administered so as not to be
discriminatory on a racial or cultural basis
provided and administered in the child's native
language or other mode of communication and in the
form most likely to yield
used for the purposes for which the assessments or
measures are valid and reliable
administered by trained and knowledgeable
Test bias . . .
Test bias: when one group systematically
performs differently from another group on an
Early test developers felt that the reason that
certain culturally groups did worse on certain
tests was due to deficits in the cultural group
and not problems with the tests.
Test bias relates more to the validity of a test’s
scores and not the reliability of the scores.
Test is “culturally loaded” test contains culturally
specific elements and expects a certain level of
acculturation to do well.
Validity and Tests
“When a child’s general background
experiences differ from those of the
children on whom a test was
standardized, then the use of the norms
of that test as an index for evaluation that
child’s current performance or for
predicting future performances may be
inappropriate” (Salvia and Ysseldke,
IQ and culture
Scarr (1978): “intelligence tests are not
tests of intelligence in some abstract,
culture-free way. They are measures of
the ability to function intellectually by
virtue of knowledge and skills in the
culture of which they sample.”
 Sample here may be the normative
sample; however it may also be the items
chosen to be administered as well.
Acculturation: an individual’s process of
acquiring cultural knowledge for a new culture.
Acculturation is a spectrum not a dichotomy.
Acculturation is developmental. A person new
to a culture is going to take time to learn and
familiarize him/herself with that culture.
When comparing scores on a test, one needs to
make sure that Ss are matched by age,
language, and acculturation NOT just by age
and language.
Typical Generations
First generation
(foreign born)
Newly arrived: little
acculturation or L2
Type 1: several years,
BICS only
Type 2: speaks L1
outside of work
situations, gets by in
L2 in work situations
2nd Generation (U.S.
Preschool: L1= parent’s
language. L2 for some
School Age: L2 for BICS,
L2 for most T.V., literate in
L2 only
Adult Type I: @ work
speaks L2 @ home L1
Adult Type 2: L2 most of
the time, knows L2 better
than L1
Typical Generations, Cont.
Third Generation (U.S.
Preschool: Other language
and English
School age: Uses English
most of the time (only uses
other language when
Adult: Uses English most
of the time, can
understand other language
better than speaking it.
Fourth Generation (U.S.
Preschool: Does not
understand any language
other than English.
School age: limited
receptive competence to
other language than
Adult: Very little receptive
language in any language
other than English. Almost
completely English
Domains of Acculturation
Language use/ preference
Social affiliation
Daily living habits
Cultural traditions
Communication style
Cultural identity/ pride
Perceived prejudice/ discrimination
Generation status
Family socialization
Cultural values
Goals of Measuring
Establish the degree to which the individual has
(or has not) acquired the level of acculturation
that might otherwise be expected for his or her
age or grade.
Determine the impact that this difference may
have on formal, standardized testing.
Determine the impact that this difference may
have on academic and social/emotional/
behavioral issues for the child.
Evaluating Acculturation
Table 8.2 in your book has a list of sample interview
Interviews may need to be with the parents of young
children, but you may be able to interview an
adolescent directly.
Interviewers need to be culturally sensitive.
Patterns of preference, identification, participation,
and afilliation, language use, dress, holidays
celebrated, etc.
Done across settings and times
Evaluating Acculturation:
There are formal questionnaires (e.g., BAS and
SOMPA) as well as informal questions you write
to a parent.
Culture on the questionnaire needs to match
the culture of the individual.
Needs to address acculturation constructs that
you want to know about.
Need to be reliable and valid
Note that acculturation-related terms used by
one scale may not be defined the same way on
a different scale.
Group Project
How might you approach choosing an
assessment battery (including questions
in interviews, questionnaires, etc.)
differently for a child who was 2nd
generation from Brazil and a child who
just arrived from Brazil during that school

Use of Interpreters - University of Nevada, Las Vegas