02 Jun 2021

Being mentored - an enriching experience

Finding a mentor to help you as you start out or move into a new specialism can be hugely rewarding. Clara Avrillier explains how she has benefitted.

In June last year, I finally joined ITI as an Affiliate member, as well as the French and Italian Networks. Both Networks offer mentoring programmes; however, the French Network programme was open and looking for mentees, so I jumped at the chance. I had been freelancing since 2018 but mostly for agencies, where I translated a variety of different topics. I had decided in 2020 to finally specialise in property (and travel/ tourism), so the opportunity to work with a more experienced translator in my specialisation was very interesting.

I was quickly matched with Sue Leschen, a lawyer-linguist who works in the property field. I was really happy to be matched with Sue, as she has a lot of experience working in property and with foreigners buying in France. Furthermore, she is a trained lawyer, and therefore she would be able to offer advice from a legal perspective. I had come across her website previously in my search for translators in my specialisation, so it was exciting to be given the opportunity to work together.

Our first session took place on Skype and after a discussion about what I was looking for, we decided to work through the translation of a Compromis de Vente (provisional sales contract when buying a house). The format of the mentoring programme, as recommended by the French network, was to work on several translations over the period of six months. However, Sue and I both felt it would be more beneficial to work on the Compromis de Vente, as there was a lot to learn and much of the legal terminology would be similar in other property contracts.

Over several Skype sessions, we explored the document and terminology, discussing how and why we would translate each section. It was very interesting to receive Sue’s feedback, as well as how she would tackle the translation herself.

Throughout these sessions, we also discussed how to find clients, ways in which I could expand my services, and Sue also had quite a few interesting stories about her own experiences! It was very enriching working with an expert in the field and I learned a lot through our sessions.

I would definitely recommend signing up to a mentoring programme if you are fairly new in the field or are working on a new specialisation – it’s very helpful working with an experienced translator, as you can benefit from their wealth of knowledge and experience.

This article first appeared in the Spring 2021 edition of Ignition - our online magazine for Students and those starting out.

About the writer
Clara Avrillier.jpg

Clara Avrillier is a freelance translator and interpreter working from French and Italian into English. She specialises in property and works with estate agencies and expats in the South of France. 

Outside of work, she loves to go running and hiking, while also enjoying the Provencal sun.

For more information, visit her website On It Translations  or follow her on Twitter.


Learn more about mentoring in our webinar where you will discover what is involved from both a mentor and mentee's perspective.