Project Managers play a key role in translation companies: they are the heart of the business, since none of the areas would work without their valuable contribution. Even if one may tend to simplify their role as merely intermediaries between clients and the linguistic team, the responsibilities and qualifications to fulfil their position go way beyond that. They keep juggling between clients, linguists, files, tools, numbers and words. In the middle of all this mess, having a linguistic background can constitute an added value, if not a must.
Someone said that “to have a second language is to have a second soul”, and it is that second soul that bilingual PMs have –specifically, translators- which makes it easier for them to connect more deeply with the content to be translated and to become more familiarized with it than someone who does not master that source language. That language sensitivity enables them to anticipate the linguistic issues that may come up during projects and use their knowledge to solve them more quickly and efficiently. For example, PMs at Interaction Translation Services have the qualifications to support language leads in large and rush projects –if needed-; for example, creating consistency criteria or lists of frequent terms at the beginning of a project. This is particularly helpful as it saves time, and reduces the burden on the linguistic team. The sum of all these little actions results in higher quality, consistent and error-free translations.
Secondly, due to their linguistic expertise and experience, having a translator working as a Project Manager in the company can add an extra QA step in the TEP process. In our company, our PMs have the responsibility to follow a final client-ready QA checklist before delivering files –which is additional to the one done by our dedicated QA Specialist- This last step impacts directly on the quality of the translation.
Last but not least, Projects Managers who are also translators have the flexibility to play diverse roles affecting different areas of the company. Although their main position will always be at the “reception desk”, we all agree that, in times of crisis, versatility is a key asset that can determine the survival of a company. In this sense, we highly value proactive and resourceful PMs that can react quickly and can adapt easily to any environment where they could be useful, for example, supporting vendor managers by giving a second opinion on translation tests, providing feedback on linguists’ performance or even assisting the sales team in contacting former and new clients.
In conclusion, although we cannot neglect the value that other professions or backgrounds like engineering, business, IT, etc… can contribute to the PM role, we are convinced of the benefits that translators working as PMs can bring to the company. It is like having an expert supervising all positions from above: there is no way of producing anything different than top-quality…