Benefit for Translators

Presenting the work of a project manager to future translators

As we have said before, a large portion of independent professional translators work for translation agencies. They are generally in contact with one or several project managers. In some cases, they are the only translator assigned to a project; in other cases, they work within a larger team. These teams are typically "virtual" teams, meaning that their different members never physically meet and that they are even unaware of the number, names, and details of other people working on a project.

Within such projects, the translator's position can quickly become relatively unclear. Mainly for the translator himself, who can experience some difficulties in positioning himself within the process toward completing the overall project.

Typically working from home, the translator remains mainly "isolated" from the overall process. It is often difficult, or even impossible, for the translator to get a sense of his exact role and to understand the impact of some instructions or requirements imposed by the project manager. Why is the use and compliance with this or that file format so important? What specific machine setup is required to carry out a given piece of translation? Is it truly necessary to respect deadlines, which are sometimes defined to the hour? Primarily assigned a linguistic role, the translator can from time to time ask such questions without so much as grasping the importance of specific points in the success of the project as a whole.

An introduction to project management within targeted courses in translation schools allows future translators to understand the professional world they are entering and the importance of their involvement in large-scale projects.

Besides, understanding the many reasons for a project manager is far from useless for an freelance translator. Demonstrating precision and professionalism, especially in preparing an estimate or in establishing a rate schedule, can easily play in favour of a freelancer. Understanding how project management works can also persuade future translators to broaden their professional activities, networking for example with other translators, and even technical consultants, with the intention of closely collaborating on large projects that they would not be able to complete alone. And why not, in such cases, acquire "as a team" some juicy contracts with direct clients...