I worked as a project manager in a translation company for quite a few years and, needless to say, that can be an extremely exhausting job. The search for balance between quality, budget and deadlines is a constant challenge, especially when it happens in different simultaneous projects. Now, let’s add a wide range of clients, markets, time zones, subject fields, tools and requirements and the result is a bundle of nerves. Miracles have become the norm and clients (who in many cases are also project managers) are often heard to say things like “You’re a star “or “You saved my day” whenever you’re able to confirm an “impossible” request. Back then, I recall having my own “saviours” and I even came up with my own way of saying thanks – “you have just become my best friend”.
As a freelance translator, I can’t help but think about the factors that led me to truly appreciate some translators more than others. And I try, as much as I can, to imprint these on my own work.
- Quick answer: be it a “yes” or a “no”, a swift reply is always welcome. We know it’s not always easy to reply to e-mails quickly, but sometimes a simple short answer is a lot of help when you’re trying to assign a job.
- Versatility: when it comes to work fields, specializations are highly appreciated but if you are familiar with a somewhat diversified range of subjects, this can be beneficial. On the other hand, proficiency in a wide range of CAT tools is also something that can influence a project manager’s decision.
- Availability: at first, it may sound like I’m referring to accepting huge amounts of work or unreasonable deadlines. But no. I’m talking about the (good) will to learn, to negotiate, to adopt a procedure, try a different tool, take some training on a given subject…
- Reliability – last, but definitely not least, the history of cooperation with a translator. Project managers tend to prefer those professionals who have proven they can be fully trusted in terms of deadlines, instructions and quality standards.
That being said… let’s make some friends!