Mentoring for Translators and Interpreters
SURVEY RESULTS - Analysis of the answers
PART III: MENTEE
Future or Continuing Mentoring (Mentee)
This section targeted all people having already been mentees (continuing the survey after Question 39) or willing to be in the future (having answered positively to Question 31). The first group counted 125 participants and the second 131. However, the questions below were answered by fewer people. Indeed, 238 participants answered Question 40 up to Question 47,indicating that 18 people skipped this section of the survey.
A little over a half of the respondents to this question wanted to be part of a controlled mentoring program (121), closely followed by 116 respondents (49%) wishing for a program and standard to follow. Considerably less, yet almost a quarter of respondents (57), wish to have support from other mentees. An almost equal number of respondents wish to either receive mentoring only on linguistic matters (55 people representing 23%) or only on business matters (56 people representing 24%). At the very end of the list 38 respondents (16%) answered they want to be paid or get some other sort of benefit.
Question 41: If one day you decide to apply as a mentee, would you rather:
Contacting freelance colleagues the mentees would already know was amongst the most chosen answers to this question with 87 respondents (36%). 32 people (13%) would rather contact translation schools or universities. Only a minority would either look for a coach on the internet (18) or contact translation agencies (16). It is worth noting that a large number of respondents indicated that they would try all of the proposed options (85 representing 36%).
Question 42: What do you feel will be the most difficult as a mentee?
Of a total of 238 potential mentees, the largest group considers finding someone willing to supervise them the most difficult aspect (83 respondents or 35%), followed by the second largest group with 60 people (25%) who think it is knowing exactly which skills they need to develop. For 17%, finding the necessary time is an issue (39), quite closely followed by34 respondents doubting their ability to evaluate the value of the mentor. Only 22 respondents (9%) do not think it is difficult to be a mentee.
Question 43: Regarding future mentors, which of the following are important prerequisites for you?
137 potential mentees wanting to mentor under someone who specializes in their chosen areas (58%) and 135 potential mentees wanting to mentor under someone of the same language combinations (57%), almost balanced one another out. The third largest group with99 respondents (42%) wants to mentor under someone they already know or has been referred to them by someone they know well. With a noticeable gap, the next groups with64 respondents each (27%), either wished for the option to choose a mentor from a pool of candidates, or to work with mentors from existing controlled programs. Only 41 respondents (17%) will work with mentors who choose them over other mentees.
Question 44: Do you prefer to be mentored and work at the same time?
More than a quarter of the respondents (63) want to have their own work checked by the mentor, whereas only 28 of the potential mentees (12%) want to work for their mentors projects and get paid for it. A slight majority of more than 50% (120) chose both options mentioned before. At the end of the list, 27 potential mentees want to be mentored without having to work on real projects.
Question 45: Which methods of mentoring are you happy to be part of?
An overwhelming majority of 76% (181) choose face-to-face meetings and speaking on the phone as their preferred mentoring methods. Nevertheless, a very high number of respondents (166 – almost 70 %) will also go with remote meetings, Skype and exchanging e-mails. A much lower number of respondents (34) voted for e-mails only. The still lower number of20 respondents (8%) choosing shadowing on interpreting assignments only, is consistent with the overall low number of freelance and in-house interpreters participating in this survey. We do not have specific data about the other mentoring methods 14 of the respondents prefer.
Question 46: What is the ideal length of a mentoring period?
The biggest group of respondents (101), although not the majority (42%), think that the mentoring period being an on-going relationship should finish when both parties feel it’s time. Significantly fewer (54) respondents think it should last at least 6 months whereas 30 persons (13%) set the minimum at 2-3 months. 27 think it depends on the mentor, followed by26 respondents (11%) who think it should last around a year.
A significant majority of 194 potential mentees (82%) consider a probation period to be helpful. Only 44 do not think so.
Question 48: How long should it be?
Of the 194 people having answered the previous question positively, 58% think the probation period should last 1-2 initial meetings (113), while 81 respondents (42%) would rather have it last at least 1-2 months.
Question 49: In which of the following areas would you like to be mentored?
111 out of a total of 235 respondents to this question would like to be mentored on how to build a business, invoicing, marketing, etc. (47%). The next largest number of respondents chose proofreading and quality control (101 equalling 43%). Linguistic matters were only chosen94 times, representing 40%. Research techniques, references and resources got 89 positive answers equalling 38%, followed by 85 persons being interested in being coached in CAT tools,80 respondents wishing to be mentored on client and agency communication, and 71 (30%) who wish to be mentees in the field of project management and workflow management. Mentoring in website and software localization was chosen by 29% of the respondents (67) and support in other translation related tasks by 27% of them (63), while coaching in translation portals, support groups and associations totalled 54 respondents (23%). In the very last position was the number of 26 respondents (11%) choosing interpreting only is again consistent with the low number of interpreters participating in this survey. Finally, it is worth noting that more than one quarter of the respondents would like to be mentored in all of the subjects proposed in this list (60).
3 people skipped this question as well as the following one.
Question 50: What benefits are you looking to gain after the mentoring?
An overwhelming majority of 70% (164) hope to establish a working relationship with the mentor as colleagues after the mentoring period, closely followed by 66% (156) who hope to continue being in touch with the mentor once the mentoring period is over. Well over half state that they hoped to connect with their mentors’ network of other linguists (133), followed by 49% (114) stating that they hoped to get referrals to agencies. 43% (100) answered they would like to get small jobs from their mentor. Only 88 people (but still 37%) are looking forward to helping their mentor on a regular and paid basis (especially for proofreading).
Question 51: What would you like to have as a mentee that has not been covered in this questionnaire?
36 people answered this question, but 12 indicated that they could not think of anything else that had not been covered in Part III of the survey. We regrouped the other ideas in the following list, where they explained what they would like to have as a mentee:
- Some expenses covered (transport, lunch, etc.) (1)
- The possibility to shadow an experienced translator for a while (1)
- Support from an experienced translator (1)
- Overall assessment of one’s strengths and weaknesses (1)
- Evaluation of their needs (1)
- Mentoring programs by professional associations (1)
- Not being considered as a threat (1)
- Having a mentor sincerely interested in the mentee (1)
- Having a mentor asking questions the mentee could not think of (1)
- Flexibility in schedule (1)
- Sharing opinions with other mentees (1)
- Be encouraged and motivated (1)
- More time (1)
- Career development advice (3)
- Developing a specialisation in a specific subject (1)
- Get help in real translation situations (1)
- Peace and quietness (1)
- Friendship (1)
- Information on how to work with agencies (1)
- Information on how to get a mentor (1)
- Working with a mentor from a different industry to get new ideas and new experience (1)
- 1 person mentioned that the option of not having a mentor should have been part of the survey