Words from a Translations Project Manager
Friday, 4:45pm. Ordinary close-of-business meeting. Every day, before we shut off, we have a team meeting to plan the next day. I confess, rigorous planning is a key skill for a good project manager. But there is something more important than that.
Monday, 9am. Walking into the office, a coffee in my hand, excited for the day. I feel a sense of having everything under control. And here comes a smile when I see my to-do list. I can’t start my day without one. Not too short, not too long. The best to-do list needs to be just one thing: realistic.
But I am getting ahead of myself.
Lists, project plans, meetings… What does a Translations Project Manager actually do?
Objectives become outcomes. We take the time to understand the why and the what. And we become the how. We are the bridge between the client and the team of translators
In essence, we make sure objectives become outcomes. We take the time to understand the why and the what. And we become the how. We are the bridge between the client and the team of translators. We plan, discuss, negotiate, brief and manage. Deadlines, budgets, linguists…
Our number one priority is our community, the end user of the content we produce. Delivering translations that are culturally appropriate, respectful of their culture and beliefs, but above all, we want our translations to be useful.
And how do we actually do that?
1. We plan projects down to every detail
Literally. We have tools that help us plan every little detail. Translation strategies, style guides, community checking guidelines… everything gets customised based on the project objectives and the target audience.
We document everything. Keeping good records of who does what and when is essential for when we manage several projects at the same time.
2. We maintain good relationships with translators
Translators are our business and community partners. They have linguistic expertise. but they also understand the audience. They are the bridge between cultures and a translation company's most valuable asset.
With every project comes extensive briefing, which is topped up by keeping open communication channels with all of our translators. We support them so that they have all the information they need to make the best linguistic decisions so that our translations are as effective as they can be.
3. We follow a meticulous quality control process
If I was to describe our daily work in three words, they would be “check, check and check”, and then some more! Yes, that’s right! For us, it is not just merely proofreading but following up on different levels of touch points that need to be reviewed across all the languages of a project.
No two days are the same. We wouldn’t change that for the world.
Author Biography: Sonia Sánchez Moreno is a NAATI certified Spanish translator. She is also a Director at Sylaba Translations, a small translations provider based in Melbourne. Sonia has been a translations project manager for the last 5 years. Her approach to translation management reflects her 7 years of education in translation and interpreting studies and her 5 years of experience working with Australian clients. Sonia is very passionate about plain language and accessibility and the role that translators play in the mix.