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Mentoring for Sign Language Interpreters

Becoming a sign language interpreter takes years of education and training. Once you become a sign language interpreter you start to realize just how complex the role is. One of the ways to grow as a sign language interpreter is to work with a mentor.

Sign language interpreters work with mentors for many reasons. Interpreters have the opportunity to work with Deaf and/or hearing mentors in order to continue their growth. Mentoring is a valuable asset for sign language interpreters at any stage in their career.

There are many great options for sign language interpreters to find a mentor. This is a change from even just a few years ago. There are options for both in-person and online mentoring. When looking for a mentor, here are some things to keep in mind.

When Working Directly With A Mentor

Ask for references from people they have mentored in the past. Also, research the person you are interested in hiring as your mentor. Look at their LinkedIn page, do a Google search, verify their certification and education. While the majority of people are honest, you don’t want to work with someone who is not who they say they are.

When Hiring A Mentor Through An Organization Or Agency

Check the organization's website to see if they allow mentors to sign up with their service. This is something to watch out for. If a company allows people to 'sign up' with their organization, it is an indication that they are looking to grow their profits by adding more people. You want to look for an organization that focuses on the quality of the mentors they work with and not the quantity of mentors they have.

Some Questions To Ask Your Potential Mentor

What is your approach to mentoring?

How often do you recommend we meet?

What is your own experience with having a mentor?

Why did you become a mentor?

What was your best mentoring experience? Your worst? What did you learn from both?

What qualities are you looking for from someone you mentor?

Can I have a colleague (or a few) join me and set-up group mentoring sessions?

Are there any additional fees above the hourly rate?

Do I need to sign a contract? Is there a minimum or maximum number of hours I am allowed to work with the mentor?

Some Questions To Avoid When Working With A Mentor

What was wrong with my interpretation?

Can you just interpret and let me record you so I can copy what you do?

What can I do so I can just pass my certification test?

Working with a mentor is one of the best ways to grow as a sign language interpreter. Think about having a mentor as an ongoing part of your professional development.

Resources To Learn More:

S.I.G.N. Academy Mentoring Services

Mentoring for sign language interpreters

S.I.G.N. Academy

Signing, Interpreting, Growing, & Networking