Successfully managing large translation projects.

Ever wanted to know what it’s like for the people handling the translations us linguists provide them with? We speak to Talking Head’s Lead Translation Manager Rosie Green about the challenges she faces, including how to deal with linguists around the world.

From managing large glossaries, multiple deadlines and worldwide linguists to serving the interests of primary stakeholders as well as using sophisticated Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) tools, translation Project Managers are great multi-taskers.

Each step in the translation process needs to be monitored closely, particularly when expectations are high from both linguists and clients and every word counts.

“It can be very challenging sometimes but it’s also very rewarding because you really see a full process; get your teeth stuck into the whole thing and then you can also see the final result,” says Rosie Green, Lead Translation Manager at talking Heads.

Here’s how we do it…

Linguist management

With nearly 10,000 linguists spread across the globe Talking Heads manages an impressive database of language professionals and Rosie and Talking Heads’ Project Managers tap into this well of knowledge every day.

Finding the right linguist for the task at hand is a skill in itself. There may be 500 native Spanish-speaking language professionals on the system, but who has the specialist skills required – and are they available at the time and price needed?

“As a Project Manager you have to understand your communication context, terminology, and style so that you can deliver to the brief - first time. This means that you have to carefully source linguists to provide you with exactly what you need - there isn’t a ‘fix-all’ solution,” says Rosie.

“Managing linguists is a very interesting part of managing a large project as you develop great working relationships, where the linguist understands what you and your client needs. This also helps us control consistency as the same linguist builds a good understanding of the client’s requirements.”

Quality Control

Once translators, proofreaders and spot checkers are selected and we’ve ensured they work with the latest CAT tools to support all file formats the client is using, we can proceed. However at this stage clients could add new details or requests to the task - this is very common. One of their clients or stakeholders might have changed elements that need to be solved and of course the work will need constant reviewing.

Working with CAT tools such as translation memory software Trados, allows translation managers to do just that, as well as keep on top of all languages and create company specific glossaries.

Trados remembers translated words and sentences, ensuring consistency throughout, however this function may not always be suitable and so a constant dialogue is needed between linguists, Project Managers and clients. This is where the real PM skills come into place; making sure the software and linguists’ knowledge are utilised to maximum capacity whilst keeping clients happy!

“Quality control and quickly resolving hiccups helps you maintain and often improve client relationships” says Rosie.

Involved clients are happy clients

Working on larger projects also brings the opportunity to educate clients, where appropriate, about how the translation industry works; introducing them to the processes we follow to ensure we deliver the highest quality.

“Here you can develop processes to suit the client’s needs meaning you are always improving and developing systems. This results in higher quality translations and greater customer satisfaction.”

For many clients, involvement with the project is a key step in creating a translation that successfully reflects their brand and collaborating closely with the client is an essential part of good customer service for Rosie.

“Communication and relationship building with your clients; this for me is one of the most exciting parts to my job,” says Rosie.

Keeping in touch with linguists is equally important, which is why Rosie works closely with Talking Heads’ Resource Manager.

“No day is the same,” she concludes and we certainly believe her.

Are you a linguist looking for more work? See this article on how to boost your job chances.