The Medley of Actors in the Translation Industry: How Teamwork Ensures Quality

Translation Industry

To those who are not familiar with the translation industry and the life-cycle of a translation project, technical terms like account manager and translation project manager might sound confusing and their titles redundant. Wait, isn’t a translator the one to deliver a translation project? Actually, the final translation project is the result of the concerted effort of various actors that collaborate with each other.

So, if you need a document translated, who should you reach out to? The Account Manager, a Project Manager, or should you approach a translator directly? How many steps does a translation project go through before it is delivered to the client?

The Account Manager

The Account Manager will usually be your first point of contact when you’re looking for someone to translate your documents. The Account Manager is mainly responsible for managing the company’s accounts, and develop relationships with translation clients, providing a strong representation and setting proper client expectations. The AM is also responsible for expanding relationships with existing clients, which is measured in total revenue and/or amount of projects. The AM makes sure that all client issues are taken care of efficiently, and he or she is in communication with the Project Manager, giving updates on any problems that may arise.

The AM works closely with the Project Manager, but their tasks are different. While the AM’s main focus is on the needs of the client, the PM is responsible for assessing the translation resources and uses his/her technical expertise to provide an accurate quotation for the translation project.

The Project Manager

The translation Project Manager is the person responsible for analyzing the source document and the translation resources and quoting the amount of time it will take to translate it for the client. Each document is analyzed based on word count and linguistic complexity, as well as formatting requirements. Once a quote has been determined for a translation project, the quote is sent by the Project Manager to the Account Manager, who will then forward it on to the client. It’s important to the successful running of any translation agency that communication between these two separate departments is very clear.

In large translation agencies, AM are not able to be responsible for every small administrative and operational detail for each projects, so Project Managers are of key importance. They simultaneously manage multiple translation projects and make sure that the agency is able to ensure the turnaround time is meeting the client’s needs.

The Project Manager also has the responsibility to lay out the project in such a way that each step is coordinated from the very beginning. Often clients will alter or add text in their documents or include additional files, so for these changes the Project manager will review all additions to provide a new quotation. This ensures there are no surprises for either the translator or the client along the way.

Time to Start the Project

Once the quote has been approved, it is time to start the translation project. This usually involves the work of two other actors: the translator and the editor.

The PM is responsible for managing the team of translators, editors and/or other specialists needed to complete the project. While translators work on the original text, the editor reviews the translation, focusing on details such as vocabulary, grammar, style etc. Finally, the translation goes through a final round of edits, carried out by a third person who focuses specifically on spelling, punctuation, coherence etc. All these actors are vital to ensure high quality of the final product.

It is teamwork that is essential to successfully handling a translation project from beginning to end and good teamwork ensures superior quality for the client.

This article is written by a professional writer, Ilaria Ghelardoni, associated with Ulatus.  

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