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When people ask me what I do for a living, my answer is simple: Translation Project Management. It is quite common for people to think that Project Management is mainly for the Engineering or Construction fields, so people are always curious about how it can apply to Translation.
People tend to believe that the role of the Project Manager is a simple routine office job: receive requests, give quotes, negotiate deadlines, create projects, and assign tasks to the translation team. Not many know, however, what happens behind the scenes. Each project and client have their unique specifications - things that can be only learned with time and experience.
Here is how it works: the team of project managers collaborate directly with a group of translation resources, and priority is always given to internal employees because they work on site. Once we receive the request, a job is opened, and the file to be translated is assessed.
Every single document is assessed thoroughly to see if:
- Desktop publishing (DTP) is required before translation can start,
- formatting will be required at the end of the project,
- the bibliography has to the translated,
- or if reference material is suitable for alignment into the translation memory?
Once the files are evaluated, the quotes are sent to the client and approved, the deadlines are negotiated, and the following course of action takes place: the project is created using the translation tool and assigned to the best available in-house resource or Freelancer.
After having asked the client the right questions and put the relevant instructions and client-specific requests in the job description, the work is assigned.
Attention to detail is primordial in Project Management, since the project steps and deliverables have to follow the correct order:
1) Project Management
If any of the deliverables is late, even by a few minutes, it would impact the next task, having a snowball effect that could impact the deadline.
Once the project has passed all the steps, there is a final check to make sure the target document is true to the source, and ready to be delivered to the client.
But the Project Management does not end here. There are other steps such as sending terminological queries to the client and awaiting answers; closing and approving projects, having them ready for invoicing, checking contacts and keeping them up-to-date.
One thing is certain – being a Project Manager is a real challenge and requires concentration and technical expertise. It is a fast-paced job where one can never be bored, as it is a continuous learning curve and you have the opportunity to work with interesting people.