Are you looking for a mentor to help hone your translation skills? Do you need general advice for your business? Start by joining an association since many run mentoring schemes for their members.
Mentoring is especially useful if you’ve completed your training and need support at the beginning of your career. It’s also helpful if you’ve previously pursued a different profession and now want to provide translation services in your field.
But mentoring isn’t just for newbies. If you want to change or improve a specialism or add a language pair, you can benefit from mentoring too.
Volunteering to be a mentor is a rewarding experience. Besides the feel-good factor from giving back to the profession, you can pick up knowledge and ideas from your mentees. You may even find a trusted partner you can share projects with or pass on work to.
Not all mentoring schemes involve the same content or outlay. That’s why you should carefully consider what you want to gain as a mentee. Some programmes focus more on translation, some more on business and others offer a balance between the two.
Similarly, the payment you receive as a mentor differs from scheme to scheme. In some cases it’s an unpaid volunteer role.
Before embarking on a mentoring venture, I recommend you read the Mentoring Guidelines for Translators and Interpreters. This comprehensive guide by the Translation Commons Mentoring Group aims to help future mentors and mentees by covering all aspects involved in a mentoring relationship.
You might also like to read some other posts on this subject, which I’ve collated in the Mentoring section of the Interesting Articles for Translators & Interpreters page.
Below is a list of some of the mentoring schemes available for translators. Click on the links for further details as I have given only the briefest of outlines. In some cases, there is hardly any information about the programmes on the websites as you need to contact the relevant person if interested.
I have listed translators providing business advice only on a separate Coaching & Consulting page.
Please read A Word of Caution about Using the Resource Pages before you start exploring the links.
Last updated April 2021
The American Translators Association (ATA) program provides support for the business-side of translation and interpreting and is for ATA members only. It lasts for six months but can be extended.
The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) offers mentoring in proofreading and copyediting. The schemes are for members and non-members, although the latter have to pay a higher price, and last around six months.
The Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) mentoring scheme is for members only. The programme usually lasts from six months to a year with the suggestion of one meeting per month lasting an hour.
The program is for members of the Colorado Translators Association (CTA), although you do not have to live in Colorado to participate. Mentors and mentees are matched based on their interests. The program lasts for one year from January to December.
Emerging Translator Mentorships
Run by the National Centre for Writing, and founded by Daniel Hahn in 2010, this scheme targets budding literary translators. Mentors and mentees (not necessarily the same language pair) work together over a six-month period with a minimum of four meetings. Mentors advise on the professional side of translation and act as an advocate for their mentees with publishers.
The EMRG runs an informal scheme.
The ITI French Network runs two separate mentoring schemes, one focusing on translation skills and the other on business knowledge.
The translation scheme lasts six months and the mentee is asked to translate three texts of around 500 words each. It is part funded by the network.
The business scheme is for members with over two years’ experience and the aim is to give support and advice for the business-side of our profession.
This is only available for GerNet members. The mentor gives the mentee three 500-word texts to translate and then revises them and provides feedback.
The WMG scheme is run in collaboration with Aston University. Its goal is to give students, recent graduates and other newcomers some insight into how to run a translation business.
SENSE subsidises their scheme for mentees seeking business advice and training (translation, editing, use of software, etc.). The programme includes up to six hours of mentoring.
ITI SpanNet offers a subsidised programme with mentees asked to translate six texts (around 400–500 words) for feedback.
This program is for ProZ.com members only. The mentors must also be members of the ProZ.com certified PRO network.
Lasting three months, the TED program matches new with experienced volunteers and the outcome is one set of published subtitles. Participants also receive a certificate.
This mentorship program pairs experienced localization professionals with those starting out their career. Previous involvement with Women in Localization is preferred for mentors. Women in Localization was founded in California in 2008 for the advancement of women in the localization industry.
Links are generally listed in alphabetical order in the sections and they are provided for information purposes only. Under no circumstances should they be understood as a personal recommendation.
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