There are many benefits to being a mentor, and these are just a few:
- Develop your empathy and listening skills
- Become a better leader by working with people you may not know well, and guiding them with patience and understanding
- Shape the next generation of translators and localizers
- Gain new perspectives by engaging with your mentee
- Pass on confidence and experiences
- Advise on matters related to the industry, education, or maybe life
- A warm fuzzy feeling from making a positive difference for someone
- Maybe even make a new, long-lasting connection!
How to be a good mentor
Three keys to being a good mentor are patience, empathy, and listening. The mentee is bound to make mistakes, and as a mentor, your role is to guide them without judgment. Mentoring is as much about counseling as it is passing on knowledge and leadership skills. Establish early on what your mentee would like to accomplish, and set appropriate goals to reach that. Let them know your limits as a mentor as well, such as that you are not there to give them a job.
In addition, it’s imperative to let the mentee make their own decisions. You are there to offer advice and experience, not to do things for them. Mentees should learn to show initiative, but if someone is always telling them what to do, they will not pick up this important ability. However, make sure to be inviting, and keep communication open – if your mentee doesn’t feel comfortable asking questions or reaching out to you, you can’t do your job effectively!
How to meet
You will be mutually responsible for establishing the method(s) of communication and maintaining the relationship. We recommend bi-weekly 30 minute meetings, but you should customize it based on your schedules. There are many other ways that don’t necessarily involve meeting in person or via video – you can message each other via email, Teams, another messaging service, or a combination of any of these. Work with your mentee to establish communication channels and boundaries early on.
- Share stories of your internship/job experience(s)
- Talk about skills you learned, what you are working on now, what you found important, what you wish you learned, etc.
- Talk about how you arrived at MIIS or the L10N industry
- Give advice on resumes, digital profile building, networking, and event etiquette
- Recommend skill-building sites or videos, or do a learning activity together
- Have discussions about webinars or events you attended
- Connect your mentee to others at MIIS or in the industry
- Help your mentee develop and track goals for personal growth
- If you share a non-English language, practice your speaking and writing with your mentee
- If you have multiple mentees, try group mentoring!
Of course, mentoring isn’t all about career or education advice. You should do fun things together as well! A strong mentor-mentee relationship is built on trust and personal connection, much like friendship. Some things you can do for fun include:
- Play a game or watch a movie together online
- Meet up for a socially-distanced coffee
- Go for a walk together (taking the appropriate health and safety precautions)
- Talk about pets, hobbies, music, travel, etc.
- Make a playlist together
- Recommend or discuss books
- Do a workshop/class you’re both interested in
- Do arts and crafts, such as origami or painting
To learn more, here are some great places to start!
Maurits Bausenhart on Unsplash
Eelco Böhtlingk on Unsplash