What makes a perfect translation project manager?

translator glasses and books_ARTICLE_What makes a perfect translation PM

 

When we think about translation, it often seems like a straightforward concept: Take a document of some kind, and translate into another language or languages.  But it’s more complex than that, of course: a great translator needs to also understand the culture a document comes from, and the one it’s going to.  That’s a challenge unto itself–  and sometimes, a translation job can get even harder.  For example, maybe a client has a lot of documents that need to be translated or formatted into different versions (webpage, white paper, FAQ…). This is called a translation project.

Translation projects can involve multiple translators and possibly other specialists.  In order to make sure the job gets done and the project is on budget, and turned in on time, someone needs to take the lead.  That’s where a translation project manager comes in.

Project managers keep everyone focused, are up-to-date with what’s happening in each aspect of a project, and are sure the end result will be what the client wants. A translation project manager should also understand any languages involved, and be able to communicate in a bilingual or multi-lingual environment.  Sound challenging?  It absolutely is.  Still, there are some great project managers out there – and aiaTranslations is proud to have many of on our staff.

How do you know if someone is a good translation project manager?  Here are some key qualities we, as well as our clients, look for:

– They stay on their toes and always know how to solve a problem.  Translation project managers have to make sure each team member is doing their best work, and that the whole project is running smoothly, from budget issues, to communicating regularly with the client, to dealing with any other concerns (for example, unexpected problems like software crashing, or a change in the client’s order).  A lot of us would get frazzled by all this, but the perfect project manager has got it together.

– They’re excellent communicators.  A translation project manager has to be available to communicate with clients and to clearly explain what’s going on with their project. And they also have to be able to communicate a client’s needs to the rest of the translation team.  But wait – it’s not over yet; they have to be able to facilitate communication between team members. This means anything from dealing with potential language barriers, to smoothing ruffled feathers.

– They have a positive attitude.  When you’re leading a team, positivity is essential.  Countless studies show that when people feel good about coming to work, and feel like a valued member of their organization, they’re more productive and better off in general.  When the person at the head of a team promotes positive attitudes and outlooks, a project is much more likely to be completed successfully.

– They know their field.  A translation project manager doesn’t just have to know the languages involved in the project; they need to understand things like the translation and localization process, budgeting, and the market in general.  All of that will help them guide their team in the right direction.

– They love their job.  Otherwise, why would they put themselves through the complex juggling and negotiation act that is project management?  Not only does their enthusiasm mean they love their job and will continue to give their all; it means you’ll get your project turned in on time and on budget.

If you’re looking for an amazing translation project manager, just click here, and we’ll get you connected with one of ours!

by Alysa Salzberg

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