College Hires Translators to Help Parents/Students Decipher Orientation Lingo

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"I have no idea what you're talking about,"
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” said one of the parent focus group members. “Can’t anyone speak English around here?”

In anticipation of the freshman orientation (or “First-Year Transitional Development,” as they call it), Huckleberry University has charged its Department of ADA Compliance and its foreign language faculty to collaborate in order to find a solution to the communication breakdown between the presenters at orientation and the audience of students and parents.

“We are unsure what the solution will be, but its essential that we apply a transmodal methodology to the problem,” said transi-development coordinator Penny Garfoyle. “It’s vital that students understand that they are dualistic learners who require agency in order to face a complex pedagogical landscape.”


“We’re cautiously optimistic about the change,” said Arthur Rohrbach, the father of a rising sophomore who was asked to be on a focus group to explore the problem. “Unfortunately, the focus group experience made me skeptical. The invitation to attend a ‘Collaborative Qualitative Data Assessment Modeling T-Shaped Strategies’ had me confused from the start.”


Solutions that have been pitched at the initial brainstorm meeting included:


  • Providing real-time translators at workshops to convert “HigherEd-eze” into standard English
  • Using clicker technology to allow audience members to signal whenever they don’t understand something
  • Adding an extra day to orientation to provide an orientation to the orientation, including an intensive immersive experience in which participants would be inundated with jargon until they are fluent themselves


“Personally, I’m hoping for the clicker option,” said Rohrbach. “It’s the only one I understand. At least I hope so. We practiced using it at the focus group and I clicked in when someone kept saying ‘Title IX.’ All of a sudden, the facilitators started talking about penises and penetration until I almost got sick. Maybe jargon is better after all.”