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DHHAP Information and Technical Assistance Series

About Mentoring
In the context of the interpreting profession, mentoring is a goal-oriented relationship between two interpreters: a mentor and a second individual, referred to here as an intern, who seeks to learn and grow through association with that mentor. Whether a novice or an experienced professional, within the mentorship the intern is the learner. The mentor has more experience, skill or knowledge, either of interpreting in general, or of some specific aspect of interpreting. Mentoring is not a substitute for comprehensive interpreter education or for the internships and practicums associated with such formal training. Mentoring can augment the training received in academic settings.
Benefits of Mentoring
Mentoring can benefit the intern, mentor, consumers, and the interpreting profession. The intern may experience
  • a reduced sense of isolation
  • a smoother entry into the interpreting field
  • a look at interpreting from another's perspective
  • a challenge to continue developing professionally
  • strengthening of specific skills or knowledge areas
  • real-life interpreting experience with immediate feedback and guidance
  • expert modeling to observe and emulate.
The mentor may feel a sense of satisfaction for having:
  • helped another interpreter grow professionally
  • strengthened the field of interpreting
  • had one's experience and skills recognized.
Some benefits to consumers are:
  • an increase in the number of interpreters skilled in a variety of settings
  • direct involvement in the professional growth of interpreters.
Some benefits to the interpreting profession are
  • evidence that becoming an interpreter requires commitment and training
  • more well-rounded professionals in the field.
The Association believes that mentoring is of benefit to the interpreting profession. Each mentoring situation is unique, depending on the individuals involved and the goals of the relationship. Some mentoring relationships are formal arrangements set up and overseen by an agency, RID Affiliate Chapter, or interpreter education program. Others are private commitments between two individuals. Common to all successful mentorships is mutual commitment to professional growth.