What does project management in the translation industry involve, and why is it important?
People sometimes ask what the benefits are of working with a translation agency compared to working directly with freelancers. One major benefit and difference relates to project management. But what exactly does project management in the translation industry involve, and why is it so important?
From initial customer contact to translation delivery
Project managers organise, monitor, and deliver projects. When a client has a query, the project manager is generally their first point of contact. A project manager issues quotes, sets up the project, uses dedicated translation management software to record all the key details, such as source and target language, deadlines, and specific client requirements.
Once a project has been given the green light, the right translator has to be found. Translation agencies work with numerous translators, whether in-house or freelance. A good project manager needs to be familiar with all the translators an agency works with, their individual strengths, and their availability for a particular project. Once a translator has been selected, the project manager sends everything required for the project: correctly formatted files, terminology and glossaries, information on deadlines. If questions arise during the translation, or client’s needs change, the project manager can also act as an intermediary, or, if necessary, put client and translator in direct contact.
A project manager also makes sure that translations are thoroughly proofread and conform to the client’s expectations. Finally, they deliver the translation and deal with invoices.
In a word, a project manager takes care of every step of a project, from small jobs job with a rapid turnaround to large and complex translations into multiple languages over a longer time frame.
Why project management matters in the translation industry
Project management is important for two major reasons: it ensures that projects run smoothly on an organisational and administrative level, and it plays a vital role in quality control.
Translation is a complex and dynamic business. Urgent projects can arise overnight, and deadlines can suddenly shift. Occasionally a client might wish to cancel a project, or suddenly needs a text translated into an additional language. Project managers are responsible for dealing with these changes and ensuring that projects stay on track even when circumstances alter. A translation needs to be verified or certified and stamped? A project manager ensures it is done properly and delivered on time. They are the client’s go-to person for every aspect of a project.
Equally important is the issue of quality control. Project managers ensure that the best possible translator is chosen for a project. Sometimes a particular translator has worked on many projects for a client and knows their preferences and speciality inside out. However, if a scientific or corporate client suddenly needs a complex legal document translated, a very different skill set may be required. A project manager ensures that the right candidate is chosen. Occasionally, a particularly large project with a tight deadline may require more than one translator. A project manager ensures that the translators work closely together so that the final translation is perfectly consistent in tone and terminology. They also ensure that every translation is proofread and checked for correct formatting before delivery.
Streamlining the translation process
Simply put, a project manager relieves both the client and the translator of organisational, administrative, and control work, meaning both parties have less to deal with and can focus on their own areas of expertise. It saves time, safeguards quality and consistency, and is the central contact point between client and agency.
If you’d like to know about the specifics of project management at GlobalSprach Team, click here to read a short interview with our senior project manager Kirsty Dwyer.