Preparing the Estimate & Project Plan

Responsibility for preparing an estimate and project plan may belong to a number of people, particularly the project manager.

Identifying the components and tasks to be performed should make it possible to size and price the project. It is not uncommon for a single task to be assigned a price that varies according to the component. For example, the price for translating words in a user manual will, in theory, be less than the price of translating words in a software interface. Most translation agencies make price schedules available to their project managers, showing the different unit rates considered for each project type, its components, and its billable tasks (rate per word, per page, per hour, etc.). In some cases, "measurement" indicators are also available to help estimate average hourly productivity for the assorted tasks. They may consequently serve as reference points for the project manager when calculating hours to budget for specific tasks, such as the compilation and testing of online help.

These guidelines will also help the project manager to determine the number of hours needed to complete each task and, therefore, to establish a project plan.

Besides the time scale allocated to each task, it is also recommended that teams are set up and tasks are made to possibly overlap. So, for a project with a million words to be translated, it would be absurd to assign a single translator to the project for roughly 10 months and then a reviewer for 5 months after that. The project manager therefore will calculate the number of people required for each task so as to optimise the project plan. They will then analyse the possiblities for overlap among various tasks so that the project may be completed as efficiently as possible. For example, if 10 translators are assigned to the project for 3 months, it is not necessary to wait until the end of this period before beginning the review phase. This phase may begin a few weeks after the start of the translation phase, but only a well organised project manager will allow the various phases to link together so well. To accommodate any problems or surprises during a project, extra time must be built into the project plan.