Accessible Content for All: Building Equity & Engagement with Tech Tools

Translation Tools to Remove Language Barriers

Do you wish there was an easy way to communicate with your students and parents directly in their native language? Translation technology and artificial intelligence (AI) are improving everyday and now you can easily translate live conversations, save transcripts as well as translate text in documents and slides.  When you implement the use of these amazing tools, you are helping all learners access and engage in educational activities. 

Section Objective: 

  • Explore and choose the appropriate translation tool for your students to increase their access to educational content.

Review Tip 7 in the document 8 Tips to Make Curriculum Content Accessible.

Translation Tools

Microsoft Translator

MIcrosoft Translator for Education can be used to help teachers better communicate with students who are learning English, are deaf or hard of hearing, have learning differences or have trouble taking notes.   Watch this video to see how Translator can be used in the classroom.

Microsoft Translator for Education: Communicate with Students (2:53 min..)

Try out Microsoft Translator online and start a conversation now.

Google Translate

If you are in a school district where Google Classroom and Chromebooks are the standard tools, there are tools for you to reach all of your diverse students too! There is an easy way to translate conversations directly using Google Translate online or using the Google Translate app on a phone or tablet.  Try it out!

Do you want to see Google Translate in action in the classroom?  Check out this video!

Using Google Translate in Language Teaching and Learning (11:05 min.)

If you want to explore setting up Google Translate in Google Slides for your next Slideshow,  you can either:

1. Read about it: How to Translate in Google Slides

2. Watch this video: Translate in Google Slides (2:48 min.)

3. Watch this video Must-Have Google Resources for Supporting EL Students (4 min video)

Take the time to try out these translator tools with a colleague or student on both Microsoft and Google platforms to see which one you like best. It takes practice to get more proficient.  Your next step is to take these translator tools to the classroom! 

For more info, explore our SETC webpage: Learn more about captioning and translation tools

What does this look like in the classroom?

To see an example of how to use Microsoft Translator to communicate with a deaf and hard-of-hearing person, watch this video:

Teacher at Rochester Institute of Technology uses Translator to Break Communication Barriers with a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Student on Campus (2:00 min.)



1. How could using translation tools with students and parents change the level of engagement in your classroom? 

2. Reflect on the Self Assessment Rubric below as you think about applying your learning to your instructional practice. Where are you on the continuum?

level 1

level 2

level 3

I have a general understanding of translation tools available to support my students in the classroom.I watched a video and explored a translation tool in my preferred platform.I implemented use of a translation tool for at least one lesson I presented in my classroom, and shared this resource with my colleagues.


  • Translation - The process of reworking text from one language into another to maintain the original message and communication. 
  • AI - Artificial Intelligence simulates human intelligence through the programming of a computer or machine to perform complex tasks.