Project Components

The various project types are defined around their "components," whose size and complexity will also influence overall project management.

A. "Documentation" Projects

Documentation projects most often consist of pages of text presented in a word processing or desktop publishing application. The programs used for it offer assorted features and functionalities, sometimes specific to the operating system (for example, MS Word, Adobe FrameMaker, QuarkXPress, PageMaker, etc. on PC or MAC).

Moreover, these pages may contain graphics (for examples, diagrams with captions, images, photos, or dialog boxes) to be translated or altered within specific applications (Adobe Illustrator, PaintShop Pro, etc.).

Finally, the client may request PostScript files (PDF or PS formats) to be delivered according to the final format of the translated documents (a PDF file accessible via the Internet or printer-ready documents).

B. "Software" Projects

The heart of a software project is typically the software application itself. A collection of associated components may accompany it as well (wizards, installation script, etc.).

Documentation related to the software would be classified as a "Documentation" project, as described above. It often constitutes a major component and may span several documents, including user manuals, installation guides, quick reference cards, etc.

Another component is almost always built into the software: online help. This mainly describes the software's functionalities or interface elements, and it may also include some specific procedures to follow while using the program. Help files are most often HTML files compiled into CHM format; they may or may not involve graphics or screenshots showing interface elements.

Besides these three principal components, a software project may also include legal, sales, informational, etc. files (licences, brochures, "Read me" files, etc.)

C. "Multimedia" Projects

As in practically any translation project, the foundation of multimedia projects will be text.

But other components, such as graphics, video files with or without animations, audio files, and sometimes software files will generally round out the multimedia project.

This may consequently require a special translation process, such as subtitling or voice over, and likewise involve translators trained in this area. Depending upon the client's request, they must have software to allow them to handle the different stages of audiovisual translation (indexing, spotting, adaptation, simulation, etc.).

D. "Web" Projects

The collection of components we have discussed may integrate together into a "Web" project (PDF or other document, software components, multimedia applications, etc.).

However, these projects will rest, above all, upon Web-specific components, like "simple" HTML files or scripts (asp, php, etc.) connected to databases.


This quick overview of the various project types and their components illustrates the diversity and multiplicity of tasks with which a project manager is faced. The more a project relies upon varied and complex components, the greater the level of knowledge required to manage it.

Of course, by no means must the project manager be required to singlehandedly perform each of the tasks within a project.

However, it is fundamental that the project manager understands and grasps its size in order to determine not only the various steps necessary to accomplish the project, but also the human and material resources necessary for completing it.

Publication: Matis, Nancy. 2005. La gestion de projets de traduction et sa place dans la formation de traducteurs, Équivalences, number 32/1 2005 - "La traduction à l'heure de la localisation" HEB, Haute École de Bruxelles, 47-62.