Learning the ropes – an insight into becoming a translation project manager
Becoming a PM isn’t necessarily an easy career move. There is a lot to familiarise yourself with – the ins and outs of each client, the translators’ specialties, and the ways of a new office. I don’t like to shy away from a challenge, but you definitely need to remain switched on and preferably in the right gear 99% of the time (the 1% can be for the all-important biscuit, or as at AST, banana break). At the start it can be overwhelming – especially for someone who hasn’t worked in the translation industry before. You have to get your head around an array of texts, where the subject matter can vary from railway switches to petroleum dyes to installation of urinals!
Once the subject matter is mastered, you need to place it with the right translator. This part of the job would be a lot easier if you were telepathic. However, the reality is you have to do as much research into the translator’s specialisms as you can, record their future absences once made aware of them and with a spoonful of good luck the right person will be available. The next hurdle is finding the proofreader. Depending on the timescale of the job, it can sometimes be tricky to find a suitable proofreader who has time when you need them to. It is often the case that you start your morning staring at a sticky note with “find proofreader” labelled gloriously and optimistically by yourself on last night’s paperwork. Nevertheless, as I have found, the right proofreader does always come along and somehow miraculously (or actually down to hard work) the job falls into place and is ready to go. The final step is trusting yourself to have set everything up correctly so that the job runs smoothly to make way for an easy delivery and an easy delivery makes way for one happy client. As a famous duo once sang, you have got to try to keep the customer satisfied….