Poll: Have you ever mentored a less experienced translator or interpreter?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 00:33
Oct 8, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you ever mentored a less experienced translator or interpreter?".

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Teresa Borges
Local time: 08:33
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes Oct 8, 2015

As I said before (a very similar poll) I mentored several colleagues in the past when I worked in-house…


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:33
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes Oct 8, 2015

It's nice to be nice.


Noni Gilbert  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:33
Spanish to English
+ ...
Have been asked Oct 8, 2015

... which was of course flattering, but I simply don't have the time, especially because it would mean a consistent line of support, rather than very occasional short bursts.

I hope, however, that something of what I write, in posts and in Kudoz contributions, may serve as useful comments and examples.


DorothyX (X)
Local time: 09:33
Yes. Oct 8, 2015

Several times. Working on real stuff, against decent payment (nearly the same as mine).
The last time it was a disaster. This lady had certain potentialities, and could have been really good after some months, but in the meantime I had to correct everything, sometimes even redo things.
Her translation school (BA-level) had not learned her how to do terminology searches.
She translated "in the way she thought that it would sound nice".
The invoicing part also appeared to be complicated. She emitted a quote for every small translation and I had to return it signed by snail mail.
If not, she would not start translation (instructed to do so by proz forums).

In short, I did invest, she didn't.

[Edited at 2015-10-08 13:47 GMT]


Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:33
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, in two different manners, Oct 8, 2015

I worked in-house managing translation teams in two companies, for a total of 4.5 years. During that time, I mentored 6 translators practically every day, but they were not beginners, only less experienced.

Now, as a ProZ Pro, I regularly mentor beginners who ask for help, but in a different manner, and for shorter periods.


Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:33
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes, for exactly 3 emails Oct 8, 2015

A former client of mine asked me if I could help her out by mentoring a physician who wanted to translate. The client was a hospital and this physician worked for this hospital. Sure, I replied, let me see a sample of your writing.

Three emails later, I stopped mentoring this person, who didn't know a lick about proper writing, let alone translation.

I lost the client shortly afterwards.

And before you say the words “big ego,” consider this: writing is a big part of what we do. I was asked to do a favor and I agreed on condition of the quality of this apprentice's writing.

There is a point in the life of anybody who has been writing poorly that her writing habits are too ingrained to be corrected. You risk alienating her, even offending her.

Mentoring is a byword, a buzzword really, that is supposed to stand for masters teaching apprentices the ropes. It's a very old learning model for professions and crafts.


Kay Denney  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:33
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
yes Oct 9, 2015

like neilmac, I say it's nice to be nice.

I've mostly mentored as an employee but I consider that bright young translators deserve a helping hand, after all I got plenty of help when I was young.

There was one who did test my patience to the absolute limit and very wisely decided that translation was not for her, but there have been others who are now well established and who sometimes send work my way when they can't handle it allicon_wink.gif


Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:33
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes Oct 9, 2015

I taught translation at Georgetown University for many years and supervised a large team of in-house and freelance translators as head of a translation service.

Today I still give basic advice to beginning translators when they contact me. But I don't attempt to teach them the craft per se. I just give them advice about how to get started in their career.


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Poll: Have you ever mentored a less experienced translator or interpreter?

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