By now, you’ll have realised that not everyone is a “born translator”. Don’t be too disheartened though, because even if you’re not necessarily cut out for a career in translation, there are other roles within the translation industry that are both interesting and challenging – and which allow you to use your language skills every day. One alternative is to become a Project Manager.
Project management skills
- a thorough understanding of the translation process and the issues it throws up
- excellent management skills (including persuasiveness, good judgement, and infinite patience)
- the ability to keep ten plates spinning in the air simultaneously and to know instinctively which is the one that needs your attention most urgently!
Top-class translators are often viewed as being the lifeblood of any successful translation company but good project managers are equally essential to ensure the smooth running of the whole operation.
Overview of a Project Manager's duties
“Life as a Project Manager is challenging and anything but dull”
- making sure that the client receives a competitive quote
- using exceptional diplomacy skills
- managing expectations based on supplier availability
- appropriate translator selection
- giving thorough briefings to translators
- managing deadlines of translators and proofreaders
- delivering the project to the client by the appointed time
- alerting the client as soon as possible if unforeseen circumstances arise
And that's not all...
These are only a few of the many facets of translation project management. In addition, it’s definitely helpful if you can remember which two French translators have completely conflicting styles and should never ever be asked to work together, and if you can second-guess when a huge project is about to land on your desk.
Having three pairs of hands would definitely be a distinct advantage for any translation project manager – especially on Friday afternoons when all those “forgotten projects” have a nasty habit of coming out of the woodwork.
Still interested? If you’re committed to a career in languages and relish the prospect of a challenge, translation project management might just be for you.