Being a Project Manager (PM) can give you its fair share of headaches. Behind a translation that is requested, there is a lot of demanding management work that needs rigour, discipline and organization. In this sense, there are some aspects that can help you, as a translator, to simplify the life of your PM and, consequently, to make project execution faster, more efficient and more fluid. When you receive a SMARTIDIOM project, we ask you to consider the following points:
In the project’s assignment phase to the translator:
- It is essential that, when receiving a translation proposal, the translator thoroughly analyses the details of the task that is asked of them. It is important to analyse the source text and understand if it is within your field of knowledge and if you can actually do a good job. At the beginning of your career, you may be tempted to accept all kinds of jobs. However, although it is good to take up a challenge, it is essential to have in mind your own limitations and, above all, the specifics of each text type.
- It’s important to pay attention to the delivery date and to comply with it, taking into consideration the technical nature and word volume of the source text, so there is no risk of delivering a project after its deadline. If you think the deadline is too short, you can always opt to ask for an extension.
- It is essential to carefully read the details regarding the amounts paid . From the moment you confirm your availability for a task, it is assumed that all the details of the Purchase Order/request are correct, and that you will not be able to request changes later. If you do not agree with the proposed amounts or if you detect any flaws in the calculations that produced the budget for the project, you should immediately inform your PM. At SMARTIDIOM, all negotiations regarding rates are carried out with the Global Vendor Manager and never by the Project Manager, who is not authorized to do so. In any case, when informing the PM, he/she will direct you to the correct person within the organization and act as the due point of contact.
- Even at this stage, it is important to always ask questions about the project and to have them clarified before delivery – the PM is the person who knows all the details of your project. Whether it is deadlines, problems or questions regarding the document, he/she is always the person who you should contact. Therefore, it is crucial that the translator clarifies, if possible, all the details before the start of a project or, at most, during the project, so that there are no unpleasant surprises for all parties involved. Only then will it be possible to ensure that the project comes to fruition.
In the project execution phase:
- It is important to always ask questions about the translation in a straightforward way, without any inhibitions – however absurd they may sound: translators often tend to avoid asking those questions to Project Managers. During the course of the project, numerous questions and doubts arise, depending on many factors such as the level of mastery of the languages that form the language combination, the degree of difficulty and specificity of the text, the quality of the original text, among many others. The Project Manager is the link between translator and client. As such, it is more effective to raise any doubts directly with the Project Manager, so he/she can send them to the client and get a reply with a clarification for both the translator and the reviser.
- It is very useful (and even thoughtful on your part), especially in projects that are bigger and longer than usual, to continually give your PM feedback about the progress of your project. As a Project Manager, one of the worst things that can happen to me is to send a translator all the materials and details of a particular project, ask him/her to confirm the receipt of the files, be (almost) confident about the timely delivery of the project and receive an e-mail on the day of delivery saying that the project is late or, the worst case scenario, that it cannot be delivered because the deadline is short and that 20-page translation did not flow as expected. Remember: the sooner you alert your PM that something is not going according to plan, the better.
- It is mandatory to follow the instructions your PM has given you for any project. I know that you have the best of intentions when, seeing a serious mistake in a 100% fuzzy match, you decide to correct that mistake in the file you are translating. You should always do this, EXCEPT when your PM has specifically asked you that the translation memory must be scrupulously followed and that if you find errors in the file, you should only report them in an error report sent separately so that it can be presented to the client.
During pre-delivery of the translation:
- Before submitting a project, it is very important to carry out a complete and extensive verification of the final product, in order to make sure that the text does not contain any spelling, typographical or translation errors, thus guaranteeing the quality of the translation.
- It is absolutely crucial that you send your files in the same format requested by the PM. If no particular format has been specified, the translated files must be delivered by the translator in the original format.
- It is good manners (and if you want to really stand out), that if there is any doubt or need to specify or emphasize some aspect related to the translation (such as a spelling error or an inconsistency in the source text), to send a note with this information in the Project delivery email. This note should be addressed to the PM so that he/she can subsequently act accordingly and address these issues with the client.
- Once again, it is imperative to deliver quality work. No PM wants to receive a project that forces them to waste a lot of time on final quality checks before delivery to the customer. When a translator delivers a job of unsatisfactory quality, it brings consequences for the PM and for the company, the client and, inevitably, for the translator who performed the task. Sure enough, poor quality work often results in the search for new professionals to work on the project, unnecessary additional costs, increased efforts by the PM in quality controls, and all of this in a great race against time. It is no surprise, then, that a PM prefers to work with a reliable professional rather than to knowingly plunge into the arid desert that is working with someone that shows no signs of being able to deliver well executed projects.
I am truly convinced that if your PM contacts you often, this is, in itself, a sign that they are satisfied with your work. I have no doubt that a job with quality and collaboration that has borne fruit without any setback guarantees, without a doubt, that a translator remains a trusted choice for a future project… And this is what both the PM and the translator certainly want.