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Positive Mentoring Relationships

by Amy Frasu, MA, CI/CT, NIC Advanced, BEI Advanced/strong>

In order to establish a positive mentoring relationship, it is critical that both the mentor and the apprentice strive for professional growth. Accepting and giving constructive criticism is not always easy, but can be the most worthwhile part of your work as an interpreter.

This webpage lists tips for being an optimistic apprentice. For more information about mentorship, please read the RID Mentorship Standard Practice Paper.

Developing trust and rapport:
  • Clearly define what benefits each of you expect to gain from the mentorship relationship
  • Remain open to new ideas and strategies
  • Trust your mentor's experience and ideas about your work
Planning smart goals together:
  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely
Accepting criticism:
  • Enjoy interpreting in front of your mentor
  • Let constructive criticism build up your confidence, not beat it down
Discussing improvement:
  • Every assignment or meeting is an opportunity to learn from the work you have done together and in other settings
  • Evaluate the choices you and your mentor make while interpreting For example:
    • message analysis
    • dynamic equivalence
    • register
    • affect
    • ASL grammar
    • English grammar
    • vocabulary choices
    • sign production
    • fingerspelling
    • numbers
    • expansion and compression strategies
    • ethical decisions
    • cultural mediation
    • processing time
    • transitions
    • discourse markers
    • idiosyncrasies/habitual behaviors
    • conceptual accuracy (form vs meaning)
    • intonation
    • volume
  • Observe, take notes about, and discuss your work (and your mentor's work) every time you work together
  • Notes should include at least two parts (not just criticism about weaknesses)
    • Positive (________________ worked really well)
    • Explain (share more about ________________)
  • Do not label an interpreter's work is "right" or "wrong". Interpreters make choices - you may choose to agree or disagree with each choice
Applying what you learn:
  • Try everything your mentor suggests
  • Give your mentor feedback about how you apply what you have discussed
  • Work on only 1-3 goals very time you interpret
  • Develop positive habits
  • Keep an interpreting journal to keep your focus and document your progress
Citation of this Document:
Frasu, Amy. "Positive Mentoring Relationships." http://www.DeafLinx.com.
This article was written by Amy Frasu. It is intended to be an informational guide. Click here for information about guidelines to copy or distribute this information. Direct quotes may be used if proper citation is given.

Amy Frasu (MA, CI/CT, NIC Advanced, BEI Advanced) earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Deaf Education and Elementary Education from Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida and graduated with honors from Gallaudet University with her Master of Arts degree in Interpretation. Amy has worked as a community interpreter in Texas, Washington DC, Florida, and California.

As an ASL-English interpreter since 1994, Amy has worked in a variety of settings, including medical appointments, business meetings, conferences, video relay service, theater, k-12 schools, undergraduate courses, and graduate courses. She also mentors interpreters, provides diagnostic assessments, and is an interpreter at the San Antonio College in the Department of American Sign Language and Interpreter Training.