What You Need to Know About Managing Translation Projects

If you have ever worked for a design, advertisement, or marketing agency, for instance, you are probably familiar with the concept of a project – a coalition of temporary activities often done in a group with the focus to develop a service, product, or a unique result of some kind.

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Thereby, the concept of project management entails the application of specific knowledge and a directed set of skills and techniques that allow for the effective execution of a given project. Hence, when implemented correctly this strategy combines project results with business objectives, as a means to enhance the client’s reach in their markets.

Project Manager Translation

There is no doubt that project management is a key part of today's translation world. Even a freelance translator working independently must be familiar with techniques and tools of project management in order to organize their projects effectively so to be able to meet deadlines, guarantee quality, and take advantage of the resources at their disposal.

In the context of a translation company, project management is even more necessary and there is usually a professional (someone who may have undertaken a translation project management training) in charge of this role. The project manager is the face of the company during communications with the client, while also being the one who guarantees that a given translation project is done with the quality and the speed required.

In other words, he or she must manage the resources available to the company so to complete each project quickly, effectively, and according to what the client wants – without ever losing sight of the requirements of linguistic quality and translation. Thus, translation companies often pay great attention to trained (applicants with a certificate in translation project management course) or experienced project managers when forming their teams.

But what does a translation project manager do?

The Role of a Translation Project Manager

Essentially, a translation project manager is the main contact for all language requirements a translator may have. This factor alone makes them one of the underlying components of a translation company since they are the ones to lead the way through a project as well as make the final translation-related decision, whether in translation of legal documents, technical, literary or medical translations.

An experienced translation project manager has an advanced level of technical knowledge about translation plus great ability to create and develop all stages of a project. It is the job of a project manager to analyze every piece of content, checking factors such as size, the translation service area, language complexity and even deal with formatting. At times, they will touch base directly with the designated formatting team to ensure that all documents return in the same format as they were submitted.

That being said, not all translation companies have a formatting team since nowadays there are an array of translation tools for organizing formatting according to Word or PDF, for example. Still, if a given project should be delivered in more specific extensions, like InDesign, the company may have to consider a formatting job – in which case the project manager comes in to oversee the processes.

One can argue, though, that the most important task of the project manager is to find and establish the best translation team possible. In order to do that, he or she has to analyze the specific field of the translation service according to the scope of the project and choose specialized translators to work with. Depending on the project or task at hand, they may even consider where the translator grew up or lives since such factors may influence in the process of localization.

Read also: How to find technical document translation services to help you with engineering and scientific documents?

As the project manager is the bridge between clients and translators, it is up to him or her to organize files, filter requests from clients, reinforce deadlines, etc. In other words, maintain both the harmony between all those involved and keep the project moving forward. Ultimately, the job of a project manager is to ensure that everything runs smoothly for the client as well as for the translators, guaranteeing that the project is at its highest quality and delivered on time.