Hello, my name is Wayne Shimizu, and I will be providing you some information about the Clearinghouse for Multilingual Documents or CMD as we call it. The CMD is a place on the Internet that stores information about documents that have been translated into non-English languages by school districts and county offices of education. Imagine school districts having a central place where they can find out who has translated what parental document into what language and how to find it. That is what we're talking about when we say the Clearinghouse for Multilingual Documents.
So, what does the environment look like out there in the school districts? We know that the No Child Left Behind Act requires educational agencies to provide parental notifications in a format and language that parents can understand and the Education Code requires schools to send translated documents to the home. These requirements represent a significant workload for local educational agencies (LEAs). We also know that the same documents are translated into the same languages by different school districts. Both large and small school districts have limited resources that can be allocated to document translation work. What we are trying to accomplish with the CMD is to reduce the redundant translation work. School districts use a wide range of methods for translating documents. Some use volunteer language speakers, some use bilingual staff, and others use translation services. No wonder we get a variety and a mix of document translations in school districts.
We have a picture of what the CMD will look like. For you left brain thinkers, there will be a Web accessible database that resides on the California Department of Education (CDE) website. The Web pages will have secure access, which will provide for different levels of read and write access to the CMD data. LEAs will put data into the database via the web and search for data via the Web. Then, for you right brain thinkers imagine a free service that connects those who need translated documents with those who have translated documents.
The CMD data flow is really quite simple. LEAs and CDE staff will submit information about translated documents to the database via the Internet, the data are stored in the database, and then users can search for records about translated data by program or topic or language. And once they find the desired record, they can make contact with the owners of the documents either via the contact information that is in the database or via a Web link referenced in the database.
Efficiency, availability, and quality are admirable goals, and what we really mean is that we want school districts to be able to reduce the amount of redundant translation work and to make it easier. We want to make translated documents more available and want to improve the quality of translated documents, up and down the state.
Like the goal statements, we believe that the Clearinghouse for Multilingual Documents can help with document translations. Certainly, it's much easier to review a document that's already been translated than to translate one from scratch. Also, being able to communicate with others who are doing document translation work will help create a statewide document translation support group. The CMD is a matter of collaboration, sharing, and working together.
The key to this project is the participation of local educational agencies. School districts, county offices of education, and charter schools must contribute and maintain translated document information to the CMD database. Imagine a food bank with no food on the shelves; it would not be able to serve its clients. Similarly, the CMD needs to have participation, sharing, and collaboration to make the service work. LEAs have and will continue to have input into the design and the development of the database. After all, it is the service intended for the LEAs. Additionally, LEAs can be both contributors of data to the database and clients of the database depending on their needs.
One way to describe something is to contrast it with what it is not. The CMD is not a database that stores the actual translated documents. It's a database that will store contact information with Web links, if available, so a person needing translated documents can get on the phone or get on the Web to make contact with those who have the documents. The CMD is not the complete solution, but it is a start. So, while we understand that this is not a complete solution, we do believe that the CMD does provide advantages in terms of collaboration and finding out where translated documents are, who has them, and how access them. CMD is not a mandate, and there is no cost to use the CMD.
So where are we now? The CMD system is being designed and developed by the CDE. We hope to have a prototype for review and feedback sometime during the summer of 2005 and after that, release the CMD to school districts and county offices. Also, the good news is that the 2005 California's budget proposes additional funding for CMD.
Here is the contact information: Clearinghouse for Multilingual Documents, California Department of Education, 916-445-6109, firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to call or e-mail us with questions. Thank you.