Special Education and ELLs: The Role of the Interpreter

three adults with laptops talking at a table. the woman wears a hijab.

Interpreters play a key role in communicating with families of English language learners (ELLs), particularly when it comes to questions of special education referral and services. Language and culture can have a significant impact on the success of that communication.  Here is some guidance for making that collaboration as successful as possible.

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Impact: University of Minnesota, 2013

Wisconsin Collaborating Partners

How to Use Interpreters Effectively: Two-Part Series

  • Part I: Clarifies misconceptions about who makes a good interpreter and the difference between an interpreter and a translator 
  • Part II: Discusses the importance of meeting with the interpreter before meeting with parents or caregivers and establishing guidelines for the interpretation process


This resource section was made possible through our partnership with the National Education Association. Additional support was provided by the American Federation of Teachers.