Translation project managers do not perform one task but have to take on several tasks and responsibilities in pursuit of their objectives. They have to manage their translation team, meet deadlines, get the desired outcome, build multiple relationships, and translate different documents. To successfully carry out these tasks, they need to learn many additional skills.
Did you ever wonder what skills a successful translation project manager has? Read on to find out what they are.
Key skills a professional translation project manager should master
Here is a list of seven attributes that can make for a professional, skilled translation project manager.
1. PMs need strong communication skills
Translation project managers deal with a number of procedures, communicate with people of different backgrounds, and oversee various tasks, consequently, solid communication skills are a must.
Effective communication helps them to weather the everyday ups and downs of a project and ensure the team’s needs are met. A translation project manager should be equally confident at sharing information with the team internally as liaising with external clients.
Miscommunication is a sign of poor leadership, ineffective collaboration, and unclear objectives. Poor communication also creates confusion at the workplace and can harm staff morale.
2. Computer skills will benefit a project manager
For a translator or project manager, having basic computer knowledge – Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc. – is essential because a translation project manager will use these programs regularly. After all, they are used on a daily basis for everything from making documents to creating PowerPoint presentations.
Computers skills mean translation managers can use computers for many different reasons, like following online project management programs or watching tutorials.
There are ample programs of that type that translation project managers can follow if they want to brush up on their management skills. Online courses can help managers make sense of new management strategies and techniques which will put them at the head of the translation project manager pack.
3. Technical knowledge is a must
While ensuring the success of a translation project, linguists and translation project managers will use a variety of devices and software. The translation tools, IT equipment, and connectors speed up the translation process and maintain its consistency.
Along with having basic computer skills, project managers should also be sufficiently tech-savvy to understand how to use the tools and how to resolve common technical errors and challenges.
The translation projector manager regularly works with:
- CAT tools (Computer-Aided Translation)
- CMS connectors (Content Management Systems)
- TM (Translation Memories)
- Machine Translation engines
4. Good PMs manage risk well
Of the many skills that round off a top-level translation project manager, flexibility, time management, problem-solving skills, and risk management are at the top.
Recognising and managing risks are what make a good translator an exceptional one. Picking up on an issue quickly means it can be resolved without any delay or significant loss as a delay can impact on budget, schedule, and deadline.
5. Flexibility can make or break a project
Often, things don’t go exactly to plan; becoming stressed in this situation can affect productivity and the workplace environment. So, translation project managers should be adaptable by nature and accept the changes with a positive attitude.
Often, last-minute changes are needed or the client might ask for some revisions. This calls for a cooperative, understanding team leader. However, a flexible translation manager can shape their approach and that of their team according to the situation.
6. Language or translation skills are very valuable
Skilled translation project managers understand different languages and translate texts from one language to another. Moreover, they can speak, read, and write in different languages. As a result, opting for a translation project manager with a language background is recommended.
If a project manager doesn’t speak a second language, the chances of misinterpretation increase. Thus, for an accurate translation, the translation PM should feel confident in understanding the nuances of the foreign language.
Advanced language can be gained in different ways:
- Through a degree or language study
- Practice and reading widely
- Immersing yourself in the culture
Languages are in constant flux, so continued practise is vital.
7. Cost Management Skills
Although translation project managers do not directly take charge of cost management, they do need to understand the fundamentals. They should develop an understanding of setting rates, producing and tracking invoices, outlining a project’s timeframe, and other small financial tasks.
Translation project managers perform dozens of tasks: they deal with multiple languages, plan workloads, manage staff, and see projects through from beginning to end. Consequently, a PM must have the relevant skills, qualities and abilities to handle the whole range of issues that multilingual translation and localization projects can throw up.
Whether you want to become a translation project manager or recruit one to handle your project, you need to make sure that they have the full set of soft, technical and communication skills.