Translation Mentoring Scheme – mentor pairs report: Caitlin and Caroline

The Translation Mentoring Scheme was launched by the ITI French Network in 2020. The scheme focuses on developing translation skills and is aimed at both experienced translators and newcomers to the profession. Mentees work on three translations over a period of six months, which mentors provide feedback and guidance on.

In December 2020, the first mentor pair, Clara Avrillier and Sue Leschen reported back. Read on as other mentor-mentee partnerships share their experience of the scheme, below.

Caitlin Job and Caroline Durant: specialising in sustainability

The mentee: Caitlin Job

I mainly work with agencies that rarely provide feedback making it hard to judge my own abilities, so I was thrilled when the French network announced its translation mentoring scheme.

At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to focus on my main specialisation of tourism or branch out into a new field: sustainability. I was quickly matched with Caroline, who was happy to mentor me in either area due to her wealth of knowledge and experience. I decided that having support and feedback when breaking into a new field was too good a chance to pass up.

We had an initial Skype to put faces to names and discuss what I wanted to get out of the mentoring before Caroline sent me the first text. Sustainability is such a broad topic with so many interesting applications. We worked on three texts about biobased packaging, skis made from flax, and biogas. I learnt a lot, and my research skills were really put to the test! Caroline provided in-depth comments and feedback for each text, helping me work on my style, register and terminology.

I would definitely recommend signing up for mentoring if you are working on a new specialisation. I’m pleased to say I feel much more confident in my translation abilities. And I now have a glossary of sustainability terms ready for use in future projects.

Caitlin is a French to English translator specialising in tourism, NGOs and sustainability.

The mentor: Caroline Durant

As well as working as a translator, I teach on the Translation and Interpreting MA at the University of Westminster, so when the call went out on the French network for French-to-English mentors, I saw an opportunity to put that experience at the service of the network.

When I was matched with Caitlin, I was able to quickly find some texts I’d previously translated that fitted the area – sustainability – that Caitlin was looking for practice in. In fact, for her final text, I could give her a choice of three texts on three different aspects of sustainability, which lessened the responsibility for me!

Caitlin was a delight to work with: she is an excellent translator, and it was very clear from the accuracy of the terminology she used that she researched each new topic thoroughly. It meant that I was able to concentrate on suggestions for making good translations even better.

I don’t know whether or not it was part of the instructions for mentees, but Caitlin gave me a commentary with each translation, and it was very interesting and instructive to be given this insight into her process.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable experience and one that I would be happy to repeat.

Caroline works with manufacturers for the built environment, translating from Italian, German, French and Dutch into English.