Thread poster: Lagom

Lagom  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:48
Swedish to English
Aug 16, 2005

I would like to propose a new forum where those new to the translation agency can meet seasoned veterans offering their services as mentors?

Perhaps members offering their services as mentors could be earn Browniz for the service?

Ben Love


United States
Local time: 00:48
French to English
The ATA has a good mentoring program Aug 17, 2005

The only thing is that I think you have to attend their conference, in order to participate.

But if you are not in the U.S. (which, I think you might not be), then perhaps you can look for a similar program through a translator organization more locally.

However, if you can't find one "IRL", then that would be a good idea here, as well, if the staff is amenable to that.


Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:48
my 2 cents Aug 17, 2005

I act as a translation mentor in a partnership programme with one of the Dublin universities. I do enjoy doing it, but it can be very time-consuming!

When I organised a couple of Proz pow-wows in Dublin, we had a number of people coming along to them who wanted to get into translation and wanted some tips and guidance etc, but at the end of the day, they just wanted to take, take, and take! (and moer often than not, they still did not have the guts to really pursue translation properly anyway). That's just my experience anyway.

I do not want that kind of thing to happen in a Proz mentoring forum. It has got to be a balanced exchange between the newbie and the more experienced translator. I cannot stress that strongly enough!! I enjoy helping people, but I don't want my time, advice etc being used and abused.

While I fully support the idea, I simply would not have the time to act as a mentor to someone from Proz on top of my other professional committments.

I do think, owever, there might be an overlap between a mentor forum and the "Getting established" forum - I would imagine that similar questions would crop up in both forums?

How about setting a time-limit? Say, you get mentored for the first 6 months (3 months, a year, whatever) and then stop the "hand-holding", although you can still touch base with your mentor after the mentoring period if you want.

I was thinking about writing an article about translation mentoring for the Proz knowledge base anyway. I'm up to my eyes these days with projects etc, so I have not actually got around to it. But I will do it in the next month after my holidays, hopefully!

[Edited at 2005-08-17 09:22]


Clare Barnes  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:48
Swedish to English
+ ...
SFÖ Aug 17, 2005

Get in touch with SFÖ. They have a mentor system, though I don't know if/how it works or not.


Lagom  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:48
Swedish to English
Not for me... Aug 17, 2005

Clare Barnes wrote:

Get in touch with SFÖ. They have a mentor system, though I don't know if/how it works or not.

Thanks Clare, I actually was not looking for a mentor for myself! I have been following a number of threads in some of the forums and thought that it may be something useful to many visitors to this site! I am very easily distracted from my work...



Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:48
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Good idea, but... Aug 17, 2005

Hi Ben

I think that it's a good idea but I don't see how it could work in a good way.

The problem I see is that the relationship between a mentor and the beginner or unexperienced translator is private, it doesn't happen in the forums. They can meet in the forums, but as soon as they agree on a way of working they communicate privately, so, it would be a "meeting forum".
Mentors must be chosen in the same pairs of working languages, so, instead of searching in an English forum for a Spanish-Russian mentor, I'd better go to the Russian forum. And finally, all the potential mentors don't read the forums.
I have always seen more requests for mentors than offers. Maybe these public requests receive dozens of private offers, but I don't think so.

I had a mentor into French, and I found him after writing privately to several ex-KudoZ leaders. My reasonning was that they had been leaders and were not any more because they had more work. I don't know whether this assumption was right but it worked. I don't think a freelance translator has time to take more than one or two translators for mentoring them, it is time consuming and it must be interesting and not represent a loss of income. It's a very private relationship because the terms of agreement are discussed on a case basis, depending on the needs. I's also private because there must be "something" between both persons if they didn't know each other before that. I know that my mentor accepted to try to help me without knowing me just because I was Chilean and I had lived in Venezuela. As he was married to a Venezuelan lady we could discuss about that too.

I'd like to comment on what Orla says too.
My story with could sound like a fairy tale, because I wasn't a translator yet when I discovered it.
Maybe I made it sound too easy and that's why I received many requests, locally or by e-mail, for help. Every time I gave lots of advice explaining what I had done and how, but people didn't want that, they wanted me to give them a package with everything ready to use. Sometimes I invited those who were interested to Powwows and they didn't come, but after that they wanted me to repeat everything that had been said in the PW, privately to them.
So, I have also seen those who only want to take and to use and don't know how to conjugate the verb "to give".



I forgot to mention another important point about the relationship between mentor and mentored translators.
Maybe you can use my comments for your article, Orla, if you want more details on my experience just contact me.

There must exist a kind of admiration towards the mentor. He or she must really have many things to teach the mentored translator. It's not necessary to be the best translator in the world, but the more difference there is between both levels, the more the relationship is likely to last.
If someone asks in a forum for a mentor, it sounds risky for everybody. For the potential mentor who doesn't know the person (who can be a really bad translator, not a nice person...) and for the demanding person who doesn't know whether the mentor is fine.
Forums can be useful for limiting these risks, as we happen to know more about the person via his/her postings, but both should be frequent posters...

[Edited at 2005-08-17 14:14]


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