Translation Project Managers (TPMs) are often overlooked when thinking about the translation industry, however an agency with great TPMs is vital to the smooth running of the translation process for clients.
Clients often ask about our criteria for selecting translators, but the strengths of our TPMs also contribute greatly in ensuring that Parallel as an agency meets all deadlines agreed to and produces well-reputed high quality translations.
TPMs at Parallel handle projects from the outset to final delivery and contribute to all stages in between. This means there is often a lot of juggling going on.
Here are just four of the ways TPMs help both clients and translators along the process:
While our quotes may appear as just a price and a timescale to our clients, a lot of thought goes into these figures. Our TPMs check through source texts to find out if anything should be flagged, either to the client or translator, before the translation can commence. This could include whether any reference material is required for consistency with previous translations, whether images containing text should be included in the word count, and even whether the correct versions of files have been received – particularly vital in updating projects.
TPMs also consider which translator would be perfect for a job at this stage. A particular translator may come to mind due to their specialist knowledge or experience with a particular type of document, their ready availability or necessary speed in completing translations accurately and to deadline.
All of this TPM knowledge helps to ensure time can be saved in the translation of a project – both for the client and the translator.
Handling translator queries
Even when our translators are fully briefed on a project and have reference material to hand, it is understandable that queries may arise. Our TPMs are on hand to help with these as much as possible.
Queries from our translators can range from whether certain sections of text should or shouldn’t be translated, what a particular term or abbreviation in the source document means, or perhaps they even seek the opinion of the TPM as a fellow linguist regarding the correct interpretation of the source text. Our translators often flag issues in the source text which may need to be conveyed to other linguists working on the same project, or indeed relayed to the client upon delivery.
This all goes on for our clients “behind the scenes” – our TPMs are great at distinguishing which queries can be solved in-house and which should be referred to the client, ultimately saving the client time and trouble.
Linguistic expertise, excellent communication, efficiency in solving and responding to queries, as well as being able to confidently research online and through other reference material on file, are all vital skills of a good TPM.
Effectively managing timelines
As they say, “time is money”, and we understand that our clients do not like to lose either! TPMs do everything in their power to guarantee that client deadlines can be met and provide a consistently high standard of translation. This includes keeping a general awareness of translator workloads, their reliability to meet an agreed deadline and the quality of their output. Our TPMs don’t like asking our translators to complete work within an unfeasible timescale, so if and when this happens, our translators appreciate the urgency and go the extra mile for us.
TPMs know how to be organised to ensure minimal hold-ups to any timeline and can be flexible and quick to react if anything problematic should arise.
Not only do we insist upon translators with experience and industry accreditation, but all TPMs at Parallel are language graduates – many also hold Master’s degrees in Translation Studies. Our TPMs are involved in the two-stage in-house checking procedures undergone by all translations submitted to us. This not only ensures a high level of proofing of the content, formatting and layout, but it also means our TPMs are aware of frequently occurring translation issues, ongoing client projects and specific terminology used in particular documentation.
Over the longer term, this allows for a more efficient manner of quoting, placing and checking projects due to familiarity with the materials. Being an attentive linguist is very important in this career.
As you can see, being an excellent TPM involves juggling a great number of skills – all whilst remaining positive and level-headed. TPMs make it easy for clients to receive great service and punctual, high-quality deliveries.
To find out more about the translation process at Parallel, please see our Process page. If you think you have what it takes to join our In-House team, please see our In-House Careers page for details of how to apply.