5 sure fire ways to annoy your project manager

September 7, 2011 by totalityservices

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Being a project manager in a translation company is, for the most part, an enjoyable job. There are, however, the occasional blips which we can’t help to gripe about. Working in a role as a ‘mediator’ sitting on the translation ‘fence’ between clients and freelance linguists we are well placed to know what to avoid should we ever find ourselves on either side of this metaphorical divide.

The following article is a brief look into some of the ‘Pet Peeves’ experiences by project managers at the hands of our beloved clients and freelancers.

Translators are first in the firing line!

Delivering late

This has to be the ultimate ‘no-no’ – deadlines are not set just for the fun of it. Project managers (let’s call them PMs) try to be as flexible as possible with translators in view of the technicality of the document and the number of words involved. Clients are normally accommodating to a large extent as well.  However, translators who consistently deliver late, for no particular reason and who do not provide any prior warning will not last long on the ‘favourites list’. You wouldn’t put up with a food order being delivered to your table 3, or even, 24 hours late so why should a tasty translation be any different?

Inconsistency

Proofreading takes up a considerable chunk of a PM’s daily work load so, consistency, or lack of it, in a translation, therefore, becomes immediately obvious. Consistency, and, needless to say, accuracy in terminology is of the utmost importance. Translating a term throughout a text in several different ways is definitely a way to rankle your PM. Keeping a glossary or perhaps using a ‘find and replace’ tool is a good way of ensuring a uniform use of terms throughout. The use of Translation Memory tools can help with this, and even if there is a mistake in the translation of a word at least the mistake will be consistently wrong, and thereby easier to correct.

Not knowing how to use a computer

Admittedly not everyone is good with a PC, or knows their way around 100% of the functions available in the basic word processing programs. However, PMs do expect translations to come back in a sensible format, the document retaining as much of the original layout and formatting as is feasibly possible. This is often not the case, and a lot of valuable time is wasted trying to rectify this in-house. With the advancements in technology and in the industry, all translation is now, more or less, computer based. Translators often forget they should continue their professional development not only in linguistic terms but also in the terms of the technology and tools developed to facilitate their trade.

Clients are next in line…

Unrealistic expectations

Admittedly not everyone is familiar with the translation process and the time and costs involved. Unrealistic demands, say for 100,000 words to be translated in 1 day, make PMs laugh! Clients are advised during the quoting process about realistic time and delivery projections. Any shirty or rude replies are going to more than annoy the PM. As would be the case before dealing with any other service provider, we would suggest doing some basic research about what is logistically feasible.

On a different note- PMs usually ask for any reference material which can be passed on to the translators working on the project so that translations can be terminologically accurate and consistent in line with client’s expectations. However, PMs are entitled to be a little peeved should a client revert with terminological issues and complaints after the translation has been delivered, which could have easily been avoided with the provision of reference material in the first place.

Under-appreciated!

PMs try and keep everyone happy, and despite often unrealistic demands from clients we try and accommodate requests as far as possible. We value our relationships with individual and corporate clients alike and so will always try and go the extra mile if this is feasibly possible.  This may involve staying late, missing lunch or letting non urgent work fall to the bottom of the priority list, which can be stressful at times! If PMs do go over and above their call of duty a simple ‘thank you’ is all it takes to cement an on-going business relationship. Rudeness or ignorance, even, is unlikely to encourage PMs to volunteer the same customer service again.

 

The majority of people make project management enjoyable, and to those who bring sunshine to our day: we commend you!

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Taylor Wessing LLP

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Maximus Crushing and Screening

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