ProZ Mentoring Program Discussion
Thread poster: Elizabeth Tamblin

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:05
Member (2012)
French to English
Jun 22, 2014

I thought it would be useful to have a thread for people to discuss their experiences of the ProZ mentoring program. I know several people who are interested in finding a mentor via this scheme, so perhaps this would be a good way of sharing information that we may have gained through participating in it.

 

Paul Brown  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:05
Member
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Didn't work out for me unfortunately Jun 22, 2014

I tried the mentoring program but I didn't get a successful response. I have a feeling that there are many more people wanting to be mentored than people willing and available to mentor.

 

Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:05
Member
French to English
+ ...
Too demanding Jun 22, 2014

I too was very interested in becoming a mentor, but was put off by some of the conditions imposed by the ProZ.com system.

In the end, I chose to eschew the formalized system and instead become an 'unofficial' mentor, which I and my 'mentees' have found mutually enriching.

I would strongly recommend the idea, but for the formalized system to work, I think it needs to be simplified and less constraining -- surely the object ought to be empowering rather than restricting.


 

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:05
Member (2012)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
. Jun 22, 2014

I think it can work, as long as translators guard against being exploited by outsourcers just out to make money.

 

Tom Gale  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:05
French to English
+ ...
Exactly Jun 22, 2014

Paul Brown wrote:

I tried the mentoring program but I didn't get a successful response. I have a feeling that there are many more people wanting to be mentored than people willing and available to mentor.


I've had the same experience as you, Paul. The list of mentors on the official page is rather small considering the sheer size of Proz.com. I contacted each mentor listed for my language pairs individually and only received one response from a translator who very kindly offered to answer any questions I may have, despite not being able to offer any work/feedback as she already had a large number of mentees in my pair and our specialisms didn't match up. I then put out a Proz exchange request (and I've seen a few similar requests from other members since then) but have not received a response.

Perhaps having the requirement of being a Certified Pro to be a mentor just cuts out a large number of potential mentors. A quick search shows that out of 32,000 registered French to English translators, only about 170 are Certified Pro...

Thanks for starting the thread, though, Elizabeth. I would be very interested to hear the experiences of people who have been mentored, either through the scheme or via some other means.


 

ZAINAB FATIMAH
Indonesia
Local time: 15:05
English to Indonesian
pls be specific Jun 23, 2014

Elizabeth,
could you please be more specific on what kind of mentoring program do you think? I am very interested to be a mentee in this translation business. what activities are included in the mentoring program? how is the system?

thank you.


 

writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
Why not move the mentoring requests to the P only site?? Jun 23, 2014

I once tried to look at a mentoring request -I am eminently qualified to mentor- and when I clicked on it, I was denied access to the request and informed that according to Proz, only those holding the site's Proz Certified Pro badge are deemed good enough to mentor others.

Admittedly I don't understand the logic other than making those people feel 'special'. I am watching a P member today posting an entire (easy) text because it's into a target language not even listed on his/her profile page. But that person is allowed to mentor.

There is a special site that is only visible/accessible to P holders. Why not just remove mentoring requests from the site for everyone and restrict that too to the special P site, since P members are the only ones officially 'allowed' to mentor.


 

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:05
Member (2012)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Personally Jun 23, 2014

I have some concerns about the mentoring scheme. I can't voice them all here, as my post would be removed by the powers that be.

 

Rachel Waddington  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:05
Member (2014)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Certified Pro Jun 23, 2014

I was interested in acting as a mentor but as I am not a Certified Pro I am not eligible (though I have 20 years' experience in the translation industry and am a full member of a professional association). I also note that there seems to be an assumption that your mentee would be a sort of "apprentice" that you provide paid work for, which I would not be able (or willing) to do in any case - I could only ever provide advice and support.

 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:05
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
Free electrons can't work within a rigid system Jun 23, 2014

I act as mentor for a couple of translators but not via Proz.

This basically involves answering any questions while they translate, and proofreading their work prior to delivery.

I suppose I could sometimes outsource work to them rather than refuse interesting projects but I don't want my clients to think I'm offloading their stuff on a student because it's less important than other projects. I try hard to make sure my clients all feel like they're very special to me!

It can be a very enriching experience, I love watching young translators learning from what I tell them, and if they're good (which they have to be if they want the mentoring relationship to last) I can also learn from them, their fresh approach and "youngsterspeak" can liven my own style up.

It would never have occurred to me to go through Proz, but that's probably a facet of my "free electron" side. Judging from what I have read in this thread, it's not for me.


 

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:05
Member (2012)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
. Jun 23, 2014

ZAINAB FATIMAH wrote:

Elizabeth,
could you please be more specific on what kind of mentoring program do you think? I am very interested to be a mentee in this translation business. what activities are included in the mentoring program? how is the system?

thank you.


Are you looking for more information about the ProZ mentoring scheme?

There are some FAQs here: http://www.proz.com/faq/4376#4376


 

Tom Gale  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:05
French to English
+ ...
It's a thin line... Jun 24, 2014

Rachel Waddington wrote:

I was interested in acting as a mentor but as I am not a Certified Pro I am not eligible (though I have 20 years' experience in the translation industry and am a full member of a professional association). I also note that there seems to be an assumption that your mentee would be a sort of "apprentice" that you provide paid work for, which I would not be able (or willing) to do in any case - I could only ever provide advice and support.



The problem us newbies have is that we're caught in an experience catch 22 as the number of in-house positions seems to decrease year on year. To be perfectly honest, I would feel uncomfortable relying solely on a mentor to provide me with paid work, but aren't apprenticeships in other industries usually paid? Not "full price", sure, but usually paid a bit. The main advantage to receiving outsourced work from a mentor is surely that you can try your hand at a real translation which has a real end client with real consequences, but that you also get to receive constructive feedback from an experienced professional to help you gain confidence in your abilities. The fact that the work would be part of a real job should dictate that there should be some remuneration for the apprentice, but clearly this can be negotiated, as a lower rate + feedback combination can surely be agreed between mentor and apprentice.

Doing volunteer translations is all well and good, but I don't think agencies really care if you have volunteer experience - they want to see paid, professional experience.

Completely agree with the Certified Pro thing though. It's ludicrous.


 

Tom Gale  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:05
French to English
+ ...
Interested in your concerns... Jun 24, 2014

Elizabeth Tamblin wrote:

I have some concerns about the mentoring scheme. I can't voice them all here, as my post would be removed by the powers that be.


If you're unsure about posting them here, perhaps you could message them to me? I am interested to find out what your concerns are...


 

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:05
Member (2012)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Good Jun 24, 2014

Tom Gale wrote:

Elizabeth Tamblin wrote:

I have some concerns about the mentoring scheme. I can't voice them all here, as my post would be removed by the powers that be.


If you're unsure about posting them here, perhaps you could message them to me? I am interested to find out what your concerns are...


I have sent you a message, Tom. I hope it arrives safelyicon_wink.gif

[Edited at 2014-06-24 19:29 GMT]

[Edited at 2014-06-24 19:29 GMT]


 


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