Here at STAR UK, we have two teams of translators working from various languages into English, and a team of project managers looking after the project details and smoothing the path to translation brilliance. As a part of that PM team, I’m biased about the positive impact that we have on our day-to-day running, but recently, this was reinforced when we started introducing two of our newer PMs to the art of scheduling translations
To clarify, there are two very important schedules here at our Guildford office, keeping track of what everyone is working on and what’s coming up imminently. We have a team working mainly from French into English and a team that works primarily from German into English. On first consideration, scheduling a translation could be reduced to: Give it to someone with the ability and capacity to deliver by the deadline. However, defining ability and capacity is key. We’ll start with looking at whether someone has the capacity to deliver a translation by the requested deadline.
Timing is paramount
There’s no getting away from it, we all experience time pressure in our jobs and the translation industry is no different. Deadlines are set in stone and project schedules are planned to the minute. We know that, sometimes, a customer’s latest request really did need to be done yesterday. Often, we need to find a supplier who has some free space to complete a project on the very same day. Other times, we need to find someone with a big enough gap in their schedule to take on two weeks’ work at short notice. Being aware of resource capacity is instrumental in us delivering the best service and sometimes working a small miracle to have tricky translations delivered in no time at all while not compromising on quality.
Experience is everything
Next, let’s look at finding someone with the ability to translate our text. At a basic level, this means someone who is confident working in that language pair. But for us, it goes deeper than that. Every single one of our translators is a highly qualified linguist with extensive training in our TM tool, TransitNXT, but as individuals, they all bring something unique to the team, whether through personal interests or thanks to their on-the-job experience. We have our resident technical translation gurus, of course, but among our number, we can also count on horse riders, cycling enthusiasts and domestic goddesses. This knowledge can be invaluable for certain of our customers who know that we go the extra mile to ensure that their translation uses appropriate language and terminology.
Consistency is crucial
Don’t get me wrong, a speedy service is important, but our main focus is the quality that we deliver. Our customers spend a long time crafting the perfect marketing slogan, or creating a brand identity to maximise product sales. We have extensive translation style guides to ensure that this work is not in vain when it comes to your multi-lingual presence.
When scheduling a translation project, it is important to balance these three aspects. The schedule becomes an interlinking web of decisions that guarantee that we always deliver the best possible translations to our customers. When training my colleagues on the various considerations of translation planning, I was struck by the number of factors we take into account, some of which I didn’t list here. Translation projects are not assigned to the first available resource – we craft our translations with the same care our customers used to write the original content, and this means that only the best will do.
In fact, the Project Managers are often in the background, much like support crew at an event or the runners on a TV show, but this doesn’t negate our importance. Next time you send us a translation request, you can be sure that at least part of the success of your translation is due to a Project Manager working tirelessly behind the scenes.
Author: Bethanie Melly, Senior Project Manager