Language Access for Immigrant Students in New York City Schools

When it comes to language learning, NYC schools are infamous for being the best. And why not? New York is one of the most multicultural cities in the US and one of the most linguistically diverse, at that.


New York has an immigrant population of 3.1 million immigrants in 2021, the largest in the city’s history. And only 57.6% of learners in NYC public schools speak English as their primary language, according to this report.


Today, we’ll delve into language access for New York City’s immigrant population, what programs exist in New York City schools currently for language learning, and how language services might help language learners in New York City schools.


Ready to dive in? Let’s go.


 NYC programs for language learning


The pandemic truly changed the way that NYC schools conducted classes. And for many, if the problem with communicating with non-English speakers was difficult with face-to-face classes, it grew more difficult with communication during the pandemic.


According to Chalkbeat: “Communication problems appear to have persisted throughout the pandemic. A survey conducted by the New York Immigration Coalition in summer 2020 found that one-third of 100 parent respondents had not received information or assignments from their child’s school in the language they speak at home. Nearly 30% of families said at the time that their schools had not shared plans for the 2020-2021 school year.”


The necessity of providing translated information to parents, students, and guardians, are becoming more apparent due to the pandemic. Leaving these people in the dark due to the lack of language services is not only extremely disappointing but also could cause problems for the student later on–and to think that all you needed was a good translation of the information.


In order to accommodate the immigrant learners of New York City, large-scale changes in the educational system must be put in place. And it already is being put in place. Many of the best language services have been selected by the education department for implementation, such as over-the-phone services and general language services.


The education department says that over-the-phone services are available 24/7 in 350 languages, but it has not yet been put in practice by the school staff in communicating with families. This means that although these resources are available, the lack of translation practice is becoming hazardous for students and their families, barring them from essential communication with teachers and faculty.

 Translation for language learning in NYC


So, in the previous section, we outlined how language services are not being used in practice in schools in New York City. Now, we’ll see how language services in New York City could be used better, and how it could prove an advantage for city schools.


Translation services would help language learning in NYC for a number of reasons:

    1. All communications would be translated – Translation services would help ease communication trouble when it comes to necessary communication between learners and their teachers, as well as between student families and school staff.
  • Languages would be accommodated for common languages in the immigrant community – Over 600 languages are spoken in New York City alone, according to the US Census Bureau. Translation could offer needed language accommodation for the immigrant community.
  1. Learners would have easy access to materials, correspondence, and instruction – Learning has changed in the pandemic–with the necessity of communication at its heart–and has transferred in New York City from face-to-face to online to modular education. This means that materials, correspondence, and instruction need to be translated for the learner.


 The premiere translation services in NYC


So, we’ve come up with a list of the premiere translation services in NYC in the hopes of serving residents, students, and parents of NYC schools. In the areas of translation services, transcribing, localizing, and interpreting, the all-around quality translation services are listed in this post. Among them are:




One of the newer companies compared to others in the industry, Tomedes is one of the premiere translation services out there, because of its fast delivery and quick turnaround time. Even at a fast rate, they still have quality services that ensure that their translation has undergone quality assurance and linguistic review. They employ around 20,000 linguists that are adept at translating documents in a variety of languages, as well as a variety of industries, including education.


If you’re looking to relay important information for the students, Tomedes is a service that is adept at providing the quickest quality services, with over 120 languages and 950+ language pairs in their repertoire.



Lionbridge seems like one of the first language services for a reason: it has built its brand on supporting businesses to achieve their global goals, as one of the first global providers of language services. A localizer at heart, Lionbridge focuses on the linguistic and cultural aspects of translation, with a global database in 5,000 cities covering 350 languages.


Lionbridge is also ahead of the curve when it comes to AI, data for AI, and AI machine translation. They are one of the best because they pair machine and computer-assisted translation with professional, human translators for most of their projects.




Transperfect is considered the best because they’re set on providing excel when it comes to businesses and language services. They’re also one of the oldest in the scene, with 90 global offices, and over 5,000 employees, which means they can source reliable, relevant expertise anytime, anywhere. They also provide a wide range of services for all translation projects.


 The Wrap-Up

The city will not be offering students a remote-learning option this year, which will change once again the way classes are conducted, with face-to-face learning. Some would hope that language services would be a way of serving students and of teaching that could be understood by all students.


Investing in language learning and language access for immigrant students is crucial for the development of New York City schools. Language services are a key component of this endeavor.


My name is Angela Fabunan, I’m an author of two books, and a writer who has written about business, UX design, travel, SEO and Content. I am also a multi-awarded poet, known in small circles for my work on diasporic literature, women’s literature, and 20th Century Philippine Poetry who has travelled, lived, and worked in various countries, particularly New York and Manila. I often work with marketing teams to create better business strategies. This is my website where you can see my previous work.