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Effective project management in a translation agency. How to do it well?

The work of a project manager is sometimes disregarded or underestimated. After all, the final result, that is the perfect translation, is what really matters. However, in order to prepare a good quality translation and timely send the documents to the customer, someone in the office must take care of it.

Project management – how to do it well?

A project manager’s tasks include initiating the project, planning it, and picking the right persons to work on it. The person managing an order must assign the individual tasks to contractors and control their work. It is the project manager’s responsibility to motivate the whole team to achieve the set goal, which in the case of a translation agency means timely delivery of the translation.  What’s more, project managers must have both hard skills related to time management and work organisation as well as soft ones like negotiations.

Project manager in the translation industry

The person responsible for managing projects in a translation agency needs all the skills related to planning, assigning and carrying out tasks. In addition, a project manager in a translation agency must know at least two foreign languages (preferably the language pairs in which there are most orders from the customers). They must also be able to use CAT tools and other systems facilitating translators’ work. A project manager in a translation agency must also be familiar with work optimisation tools and be able to use translation management systems (TMS).

What else is expected from a good project manager in the translation industry? A person applying for this position should display excellent budget planning and management skills. They must also be able to seamlessly communicate with the agency’s employees and cooperating translators. Moreover, the project manager must care for details and be able to find inconsistencies or mistakes.

Project manager’s tasks – how to make their work easier

Working as a project manager in a translation agency involves a range of duties. Not only must they engage in cooperation with prospects, handle their enquiries and oversee project delivery, but also prepare documents for translation and seek cooperators. The role of the project manager is to assign translations to the selected freelancers or employees, support them on every stage of the translation, and check their work. After all, ultimately it is the project manager and not the translator who is responsible for delivering the perfect translation to the customer. How to improve project manager’s work to provide customers with even better translations and always on time?

Currently the larger translation agencies use convenient TMS systems, such as Space TMS. With a translation management tool, some part of the project manager’s work is automated. The person responsible for the project no longer has to manually search for translators and assign them to a given order – the system will do it automatically. The same goes for preparing documents for translation. A TMS application will “extract” from the document the text which requires translation and convert it to a convenient format.  And when the ready translation is finally delivered to the customer, the system will automatically generate the invoice. The work of a project manager in a translation agency which uses a TMS system consists most of all in motivating the team, engaging in contacts with customers, and building the company’s image. A modern project manager in a translation agency focuses, among others, on analysing and managing data. The project manager checks the performance of the TMS in the agency and whether the translators use it effectively.