In the ‘good old days’, whenever school leaders were presenting their school stories at conferences, they would always include the proportion of children on Free School Meals – if the number was high, it was shorthand for saying “We’re in a challenging area”. Now, I’ve noticed that people are proudly proclaiming the number of languages their pupils talk at home, and the proportion of pupils for whom English is a second language.

When I saw the new version of the Microsoft Translator tool, I realised this will therefore be really useful to many of you. It’s free, and it translates webpages into 30 languages

Basically, it’s a little web widget that sits on your website or learning platform, and allows visitors to translate your website with a mouse click into one of 30 languages. You don’t have to do anything except add a small piece of code to your website (or Learning Platform or SharePoint etc).

You can try it using the blue widget at the bottom of the page (you will need to view this post on its own page – if you can’t see the widget below, then click here to see it) which will translate this web page for you. Imagine if you can add it to every page on your learning platform – how pleased would your teachers be?

How to use the Microsoft Translator on a website

  1. Go to this page: http://www.microsofttranslator.com/Widget/Default.aspx?ref=MSTWidget

  2. Select the colour you want to match your website
    image

  3. Click “Generate Code”

  4. And then simply copy and paste the code, and pop the resulting short script onto your website page design

It’s really simple, and really easy to use. But most appealing of all, you can make yourself look really good to the rest of the senior leadership team in the school – because it’s something they’d like, but might never have thought to ask for.

The evil approach to this:

  1. Plant the idea of website accessibility and inclusion in a management meeting.
  2. Ask if they’d like you to investigate the possibility of doing something with the school website.
  3. Wait for a sunny day, and take the IT technician down the pub for an afternoon of “EAL Website Planning”
  4. Next morning, do steps 1-4 above.
  5. Bask in the glory