The Linguist

The Linguist 57-6 - Dec/Jan 2019

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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12 The Linguist Vol/57 No/6 2018 FEATURES experienced who is looking to develop those skills and improve their performance." 1 Although this occupies the same developmental space as coaching, it differs in the sense that it is up to the mentee to set the pace and to establish the desired outcome. The mentor then offers their perspective, and provides support and guidance. Coaching, on the other hand, is more task-orientated and performance-driven, and is a learning process in which the coach often will take charge and set the goals for the learner. 2 Defining the roles Having someone to whom you can pour out all the wisdom you have accumulated over the years can do wonders for a mentor's self-confidence, but it is essential to realise that the mentee is the most important person in the relationship. The role carries great responsibility, and when we contribute our knowledge and experience, we also tend to share our values and beliefs. When approached with caution, mentoring is a great opportunity to promote high standards in the profession. Speed and targets should be set by the mentee, and it is crucial that a mentor listens and asks questions before offering advice. A good mentor will challenge their mentee by offering a different perspective, but will not be a problem-solver, become too involved, or take the role of manager and decision-maker. Learning and development are to be stimulated through advice and encouragement. As a mentee, it is important to realise that your mentor is not someone who will tell you what to do, take charge of your career, or do the work for you. He or she is there to act as a sounding board in the process of finding a solution, to provide support, and to point you in the right direction. You have to be clear what you expect from the relationship and set your own objectives. A good fit For this to work, there needs to be a good fit between mentor and mentee. Although everyone has something to contribute – be it specialist knowledge, career development, technical skills, behavioural competencies, business management, confidence-building or general advice – it is important to be open and honest in terms of the support you are able to provide and the amount of time that you are willing to offer. My first mentee was in the process of establishing herself as a freelance translator As CIOL launches a new mentoring platform, translator mentor Helle Gulowsen considers why people mentor and how it benefits them W hen CIOL launched its mentoring platform earlier this year, the decision to sign up was an easy one. Partly, of course, in the hope that the knowledge and experience I have built up over many years working as a freelance translator could be of some benefit to others, but also in support of a programme that I wish had been available when I started out in the industry. Becoming a translator was, for me, a career change after a number of years working in hotel management. It was a carefully planned move, but I had not anticipated what a very lonely undertaking it would be. Although I had acquired business skills that were useful in terms of the practical aspects of setting up as a freelancer, the work-related challenges of those early days were many. I found myself in a situation where I had a lot of questions but no one to ask. I was reluctant to contact fellow translators for fear of being perceived as incompetent. Thankfully I was, and still am, lucky enough to have great colleagues who have been very kind and generous with their advice and support over the years, but I strongly believe that a mentoring scheme through which I could have sought advice and support in a structured setting would have made the process far easier. Mentoring vs coaching There are many forms of mentoring, and on the CIOL platform it is defined as a process "where a more experienced person passes their skills and advice to someone less Imparting wisdom PROVIDING SUPPORT Helle talks with her mentee via Skype © SHUTTERSTOCK

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