Alabaster adds translation devices to all schools

The Alabaster School System is adding translation devices to all school campuses. (File)

The Alabaster School System is adding translation devices to all school campuses. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Translators in Alabaster’s schools soon will have some much-needed relief, members of the Alabaster Board of Education said during a Sept. 19 meeting.

During the meeting, the School Board voted unanimously to approve the installation of RTT Mobile Interpretation Services devices at each city school campus.

Alabaster City Schools will pay about $4,000 up front for the devices, and will pay for the translation services on a per-use basis each month, said Alabaster School Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers.

The devices will allow city school personnel to connect “within minutes” with an RTT translator fluent in more than 100 languages, Vickers said. Once the device is connected, the translator will serve as a real-time intermediary between school personnel and non-English speaking individuals.

As a result of Alabaster City Schools’ contract with RTT, translation devices will be installed at each school campus and at the ACS central office on the second floor of the new Alabaster City Hall.

Vickers said without the devices, school personnel had to rely on a limited number of interpreters spread across the city’s schools. The devices will not replace the city’s translation personnel, but will free them up to do more work in the classrooms, Vickers said.

“If you have an interpreter working in a classroom, if you pull them out of the classroom to register a child, they may be out of the classroom for a few hours,” Vickers said. “This will allow us to solve something in minutes that may have taken days before.”

Vickers said ACS personnel have already tested the RTT translation services with a Spanish-speaking parent to ensure accuracy.

“The parent said everything was 99 percent correct with recognizing the different dialects,” Vickers said.