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What a Translation & Interpretation Project Manager Does

30 September 2016 / By ustranslation
Translation and Interpretation Project Manager Giovanna

What a Translation & Interpretation Project Manager Does

One on one client liaisons

U.S. Translation Company project managers fulfill on our commitment to first-class customer service. As the company vanguard, so to speak, each project manager sets the customer experience.

First point of contact. Only point of contact.

When a client contacts US Translation company, a project manager responds. Whether that inquiry arrives via phone call, the website, or social media. That first contact is everything for the customer. First impressions being what they are, our PMs respond within moments. Outside of the rare mitigating circumstance, that is.

In all future interactions, that same project manager serves as the single point of contact for that client. A communication nerve center, if you will. A facilitation hub. Our corporate / industrial clients don’t get shuffled about from one U.S. Translation Company representative to another. For example, if they have Austin Becker as their project manager, they have confidence that he knows their project and its state of play. No catching him up to speed. No details falling through the cracks. When they contact him for a new job, he already understands a lot about it. Before the client reveals anything at all. That’s because each project manager knows their client’s needs profile. Each translation and interpretation client, after all, has a distinctive requirements signature. A commonality running through all of their work. Our project managers have intimate familiarity with each client’s signature — the needs and requirements of each of their clients. Which is why, for example, that Giovanna Roeseler can recommend a huge cost-savings move for Kyani. Kyani, it goes without saying, gladly implemented her suggestion. Austin Becker communicates with industrial clients as one of U.S. Translation Company's project managers

Keeping a client’s trust: a PM’s #1 job

Of course, even if U.S. Translation Company project managers succeed in impressing our corporate clients, a future mistake can still harm us in their eyes. Our project managers realize this. They understand that our clients choose us because they trust us. And that trust takes effort and time to establish, yet can disappear in an instant. Thus their emphasis on follow-through, consistency, reliability, and responsiveness.

What a U.S. Translation Company project manager does

A U.S. Translation Company project manager shifts between quoting new projects, answering inquiries, and facilitating existing projects. The answering of inquiries is fairly self-explanatory: clients ask questions and our PMs give them an answer. The other two functions — quoting new projects and facilitating existing projects — warrant further investigation.

A project manager quotes projects

Quoting a translation or interpretation project involves more than one might expect. When working up a quote, our project managers must consider a variety of factors.

  • Industry and subject matter specifications. For example, a manufacturer of dental equipment will likely need a subject matter specialist translator to localize their user manual into Arabic. Said translator must have English-Arabic fluency and a background in dentistry, biomedical engineering, or some relevant field.
  • Language pair. A project manager can source certain languages more easily and economically than others. Rare languages are more…rare. Even common languages may experience a dearth of available linguists. Supply and demand.
  • Timeline. For fast turnarounds, a project manager may experience more difficulty matching the right linguist to the right project. If a someone needs an English-Igbo subject matter specialist interpreter for next week’s Switzerland neuroscience convention, our PM may find a way to fulfill the requirement, but she may also have to pay the interpreter a higher fee.
  • Linguist price point. As noted, specific languages, short time horizons, and technical subject matter all influence the price we pay our translators and interpreters. Which influences the quote that a project manager sends to our client.

We have the latest and greatest in project management software, which allows a project manager to instantly filter our extensive vendor database by any number of criteria. That’s the easy part. After sifting thousands of vendors down to a list of ones that meet her specific needs, the project manager must contact linguists to determine availability and current rates.

Managing the project

Once the client approves a quote, the real fun begins. The U.S. Translation Company project manager engages linguists (translators or interpreters, as the case may be) and securely transmits the client files to them. Often, especially with translation, a linguist will have specific questions, which the project manager relays to the client. Or vice versa: a client may want to interview a linguist to assuage specific concerns. In which case, the project manager arranges a conference call.

As the work progresses, the project manager monitors it closely, ensuring that KPIs and deadlines are met or exceeded. She communicates with the linguist as needed. She keeps the client in the loop via email, phone call, or through U.S. Translation Company’s secure client portal — whichever mode the client prefers. For those clients who take advantage of it, our portal allows the project manager and client to communicate, collaborate, exchange documents, and otherwise stay abreast of all aspects of a translation. The client can initiate new projects, view and approve quotes, and check the status of orders.

After the translation

Most technical translation projects specify proofreading by a second linguist with similar qualifications as the translator. Obviously, the project manager arranges the proofreader, using the same process as she did to retain the translator. She moves the workflow from translator to interpreter to…quality assurance and (if warranted) desktop publishing. And on to the client.

A global operation

Although U.S. Translation Company has its headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, we work globally. Just this week, for example, I remotely coordinated interpretation equipment and simultaneous interpreters for a client’s corporate event in Mexico City. When a customer prefers — and has the budget — a U.S. Translation Company project manager can personally coordinate all aspects of interpretation on-site. This, however, is not strictly necessary. For translation projects, location hardly matters at all. Our secure translation project management portal allows our project manager and his client to coordinate all aspects of a project from opposite sides of the globe — as easily as if they were in the same city.

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