In 2020, the French Network launched the Business Mentoring Scheme. The Business Scheme is specifically aimed at language professionals with two or more years of experience. The scheme is not intended to be used to develop translation / interpreting / language skills, but rather to provide support and advice about how to run a business, covering areas such as pricing, identifying new clients and raising your online profile.
Over the first round of mentoring, our mentees have successfully:
• updated their CVs and online profiles to be more reader and SEO friendly
• created their own contractual terms
• developed marketing strategies, including launching their own websites
• implemented strategies to increase prices
Feedback from mentors and mentees
Many of our mentor pairs have focused on business principles and marketing activities.
“Many colleagues don’t have a business background and this is where an experienced mentor can step in to help mentees set up their business by means of advice on terms and conditions, invoicing, direct clients, website content and colleague and customer relations.” – Sue Leschen, mentor.
“I find it hugely rewarding and it makes me more mindful of my own business management.” – Gillian Shaw, mentor.
“I found the mentoring scheme extremely beneficial and worthwhile, and I was able to improve on my marketing and business skills as a result. Having discussions with my mentor on how to express my experience and skills on my CV and LinkedIn profile helped me to better see my own value as a translator.” – Rachel Ferguson, mentee.
“It has been time and money well spent. The single most important insight I got was on rates. Working with my mentor helped me to work out what my average hourly rate was and the minimum I should be charging. I’ve found a couple of relatively high paying agencies since our first meeting and I’m about to raise my prices for the agencies at the bottom end of my rates scale, because I have a much better idea of what I’m worth now. This is crucial information they don’t give you on translation courses.” – Dan Williams, mentee.
Mentors and mentees are matched based on the goals that mentees want to achieve and mentors’ areas of expertise.
“I’m finding it a really great experience so far. My mentee and I get on well and she’s putting so much work into all the activities. I’m really impressed.” – Holly-Anne Whyte, mentor.
“Sarah made it very easy to get started as a mentor and made sure that we both felt comfortable with the pairing. She gave me a summary of what my mentee was looking to achieve and I could immediately see it was a great match! It has been very fulfilling to share the hard-won advice that I have received over the years.” – Richard Lackey, mentor.
“I found the mentoring very useful, particularly the advice my mentor gave me on strengthening my CV and online presence through LinkedIn and proz.com, and making sure they were all aligned. It was good to have a sympathetic ear to talk about how things were going, especially in terms of translation work being on the quiet side due to covid, and lockdowns, and juggling family life etc. I felt we were a good match as we both do tourism-type translations and have kids. Having kids in common was very important for her to understand where I was coming from!” – Judith Zerdin, mentee.
For some, the scheme has had a huge impact
“The French Network’s Business Mentoring scheme has been absolutely amazing and I am so glad to have taken part in it. I would even go as far as saying that the experience has been life-changing as it has had such a big impact on the way I view my career and myself as a translator. My mentor immediately understood what I was hoping to achieve through the scheme and set tasks to help me understand my ambitions, explore how I feel about my profession and look at how to develop my career. I would recommend the scheme and my mentor to everyone!” – Katherine Capaldi, mentee.