Understanding Language Barriers in Mentorship

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92% of mentees report an increase in confidence in one or more business-related skills over time.

MicroMentor believes that we can build successful business practices together. Our mentors envision a world that thrives in a more profound sense of purpose. We believe in overcoming barriers as a community.

We believe in the power of MicroMentor across cultural divides.

Paying attention to your mentee's needs can be more than simply checking in on the progress of their business plan. It goes even deeper than taking note of their emotional state. You must examine the needs of your mentee in more than just a surface-level approach.

Language barriers and the nuance of words often work to complicate communication. Therefore, you will want to be very specific with the language you use to communicate the stages of your business planning with your mentee.

If we do not consider our mentees' experiences in their life before we meet them, we may face a gap in understanding who they are. This could hinder their ability to gain the most out of the programs that MicroMentor has to offer.

The awareness of language barriers in your mentee partnerships ensures a focus on what circumstances drew someone to mentorship in the first place.

92% of mentees report an increase in confidence in one or more business-related skills over time.

Language Inclusivity in Practice

Paring a mentor with a mentee who speaks a different language can not only benefit your partnerships but the larger community.

When this pairing occurs, it is of the utmost importance that translation is taken as a careful and measured task. The last thing you'd want is to offend someone or give a mentor wrongful advice by mistake. Language is slippery and can have double meanings or unintended explication.

Working with mentees who have more of a language barrier with you will encourage a more inclusive and diverse mentorship program. This works to introduce mentees to a larger and more complex voice. In addition, this helps to swing open the doors of their business to a global audience.

You are wondering—how can you change your process when matching with a mentee? How can you make that process better to include many different types of people?

You can help to improve the relationship between you and your mentee with just a few encouraging moments. The power of MicroMentor is in the platform and with the community, we choose to build.

You make it possible to diversify.

Practicing New Language Skills in Everyday Conversation

The simple act of participating in getting to know your mentees is necessary. The mentor/mentee selection process's primary goal is to empower and encourage an open dialogue. Your mentee is excited about innovation and their trajectory that is moving towards ultimate success.

Some business terms you are exceptionally comfortable using in your mentoring may be deemed problematic or difficult to translate if your mentee's first language isn't English.

Cultural factors might sometimes make translation difficult. Words frequently reflect the culture and society in which they are used. As a result, words capable of describing expressions or emotions may not exist in different languages.

The rhetoric of English, for example, makes it difficult for expressions to translate into other languages. Moreover, terms in American English do not contain the same meanings in Spanish and many different languages.

For example, consider the phrase "Plead the Fifth," an essentially American expression that, even for those who grasp its reference to the Bill of Rights, can be confusing.

In conversation, it doesn't signify that someone is refusing to testify in court; it just means that they don't want to discuss a specific topic. This is why cultural considerations are essential when we are communicating in a global context.

Therefore, you’ll want to make sure you are considering differences to be clear and concise in your communication.

When providing mentorship to someone whose first language is different than yours, mentors can apply a few tactics if you find yourself in a situation in which it is challenging to communicate.

You'll want to start by examining the language you use regularly. You will want to be asking yourself questions of consideration before you speak or write to your mentee. If you find yourself struggling to communicate, it may be to your advantage to use supporting visuals or other elements of language and translation.

Use Visual Images When Words Fall Short

If you are experiencing inconsistencies in language while providing mentorship due to a translation barrier, try using visual images. Images like photographs, charts, or numbers are often universal. These tools can be expressive and need no explanation.

For example, pointing to a photo of a facial expression or using images to represent experiences can ensure we provide the capacity building we intend.

Think of the pain chart scale in a doctor's office. It is much easier for symbols to explain the amount of pain someone is in than describing an experience that is difficult to put into words.

Tools using a visual language allow for communication across linguistic borders and with little restriction. This will enable us to communicate more deeply in our mentor relationships.

It is best not to make assumptions about gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or any identifying language. It would be best if you never assume anything about anyone you are working with as a mentor. It is always better to inquire about someone's personal preference and make sure you consider every person's life experience that you meet.

Examine Your Communication During New Mentee Onboarding

You'll want the most attention focused on what circumstances drew someone to mentorship in the first place.

The awareness of language differences in your mentee partnerships can foster a sense of diversity and inclusivity. In addition, this can encourage mentees to be expressive about who they are.

As an organization, MicroMentor can use the power of language to build successful businesses together.

As a mentor, you want to be the guide to help your mentees accomplish their dreams. The first step is to understand their journey.