České překlady? Challenge Accepted.

Last March, I got an offer for a temporary job, substituting as a project manager for four months for a member of the České překlady team who was taking an extended unpaid leave.

As I am doing translation studies at Palacký University in Olomouc (with German as my primary language), I saw this as an excellent opportunity to become acquainted with the translation industry. I have to admit I knew very little about the work of translation project managers, and it was not long before I realized how important and demanding it really is.


Originally, I pictured it as an easy job – you accept a translation order, find a suitable translator, check the output, send the completed work back to the client, and that’s that. The reality is of course much more complex and complicated, but also much more interesting.

 

A three-week onboarding training resulted in a stack of notes which I went through every night before going to bed, so I was under the impression that nothing could surprise me.

One of the first things I had to master was the company’s internal job management system. Those who work with internal systems will know that it always takes some time before you become comfortable enough to use them with ease. Moreover, there is not only the company’s own job management system; I soon realized I also needed to start using a handful of other job management systems run by our clients to which we have access for processing their tasks!

In the meantime, I found out I needed to learn to use at least three CAT tools at the speed of lightning and at a fairly advanced level, since project managers often need to act as tech support contact points and assist their translators in various technologies, in order to help them deliver quality translations on time.

Last but not least, you need to learn to master email communication in both English and German, including all details of translation jobs from the perspective of both the customer and the vendor. Communication can be a critical aspect, especially in situations where time is crucial, everyone involved is working under stress, and there is a significant risk of miscommunication. As I always make sure to look for something positive, I can say without a doubt that my business writing skills in English and German have definitely improved thanks to this experience.

 

Before I knew it, the colleague for whom I was substituting returned from her leave. I believe that thanks to my onboarding and the help of my great colleagues, who offered their support and helping hands in every situation, I did my job well and our customers did not even know they were interacting with a total “novice”.

I gradually realized what an invaluable experience this was for me, one that gave me a whole new motivation for my studies. I definitely needed this to reassure myself that the translation and language industry was an area I wanted to pursue as a career.

 

I am very grateful that České překlady opened the door to the translation business for me,
and I couldn’t have wished for a better way to enter the world of translations.

 

Author: Alena Bělešová & Kristýna Lakomá

 



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