Project managers: the faces and backbones of our business

There’s a lot that goes into translation. We often hear about translators, but unless we’re really in the business of ordering translations. we don’t hear about the translation project managers behind the scenes. But it’s time for that to change! Translation project managers do one of the most important jobs in the industry. And as we’re partnering with Elia at their Elia ND Focus on project management event this week, we thought we’d dedicate this month to everything PM related.

So, let’s start with the basics. What does a translation project manager do and what skills they need?

  1. Maths skills for quoting

When you send over your translation, the first thing you need is a quote. Although there’s a couple of pieces of software available to do this automatically. More often than not a project manager needs to be involved. Project managers will check your project, and then look for the most suitable translator for you. They’ll check their prices and give you a quote. It’s also their responsibility to make sure that everything stays within budget and margins are met. It’s quite a job, isn’t it!

  1. Linguistic abilities

When a project manager receives a file for translation, they need to analyse it. In order to understand the complex needs of each and every translation, they need a good understanding of how languages work. Sometimes they even get projects in something like Korean and are asked if it’s Chinese or not! All project managers do linguistic checks before delivering the texts back to the client. So these linguistic skills are paramount.

  1. Timekeeping and organization – for managing projects

Projects have more than 1 deadline. In order to make sure that projects are back from the translator, then sent to the proofreader, and then back to them before the client’s deadline, project managers need to be super organized. If they’re dealing with a big project, they need to make sure that teams of translators are all on-time to make sure that the project is put together properly.

  1. Eye for detail to ensure quality

Translations are more than just translating word by word into another language. They need an excellent eye for detail for noticing things like double spaces, tiny typos, and problems when numbers are dealt with.

  1. Excellent customer service

Project managers are the face of our company. They deal with clients on a day to day basis. And they are the ones who are there to pick up the pieces if things do happen to go wrong. They need excellent customer service skills to keep our clients happy, and they need a bit of sales power to, to make sure that customers order more services.


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