One of the great gifts we’ve received at Prince Street School this year is a large community of Bhutanese and Chinese students whose parents are becoming very involved in Home and School activities. For our last two Home and School meetings this participation has been greatly aided by the presence of simultaneous translation into Nepali and Mandarin; our next step is to work on getting printed materials for our meetings – agenda, minutes, financial reports, etc. – translated into both Nepali and Chinese.
At last night’s meeting one of the items of the agenda was Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week in February, a week when the Home and School traditionally works to show our gratitude to teachers and staff by doing things like bringing in snacks and providing lunch. After this information was translated into Nepali last night there was a lot of discussion among the Bhutanese parents, at the end of which came an offer to provide a Bhutanese lunch on the Friday of that week.
This was an important breakthrough both because it wouldn’t have been possible without a translator present, and because it means that our Bhutanese parents are taking on a more active role in the work of the Home and School.
All the parents present agreed this would be an excellent idea, with many angling for an opportunity to “help out” on that day so as to be able to dip into the reportedly-spicy Bhutanese food.
My current project in this regard is working to make the Home and School’s website multilingual. I’m working with the nascent Drupal 7 to do this, along with the Translation Management and Internationalization modules to translate content and the Locale module and the related Nepali and Simplified Chinese projects to translate the Drupal interface. What with Drupal 7 being nascent and all, this solution isn’t quite ready for prime time yet – the various modules throw the occasional error messages, and make Drupal a little funky – but it’s working enough that it makes sense to work with Drupal 7 instead of Drupal 6.
If you happen to have English-Nepali or English-Chinese translation skills and want to help out with this effort (or if you happen to have money and want to help out with this effort), we could certainly use the support: the Nepali and Simplified Chinese localizations of Drupal 7 are only partially complete, and there’s a lot of work to be done translating the daily business of the Home and School.