Numerous aspects go into a quality translation program, from dedicated linguists to assisting software. But one of the most valuable elements of an effective translation program are great translation project managers. After all, they’re the ones managing almost every facet of your translation process.
When we begin work with a client, we’re often asked about our project managers—their abilities, strengths and weaknesses. And if we’re not asked, we’re often surprised, because we consider them one of the most important contributors of a client’s satisfaction.
With decades of experience managing projects for a huge variety of clients across industries, we’ve gleaned some valuable insight about what it takes to be an excellent translation project manager. Here, we present to you, our list of six critical characteristics every translation project manager needs to have to go above and beyond.
A translation project manager is…
An exceptional multitasker — It’s no secret that a translation project manager’s day is filled with multiple tasks. Assisting linguists, developing processes and managing numerous projects in multiple languages are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to daily activities. Being able to effectively multitask and manage multiple components of a project at once is critical to not only the success of each project, but to the sanity of the project manager.
An effective communicator — Without a doubt, project timelines and translation deliverables depend upon the clarity and timeliness of communications. Being a translation project manager means having the communication skills to effectively correspond with the client and inspire stellar performance from one’s team.
A problem solver — Like most situations in life, challenges can arise during a translation project. During translations, the way a project manager approaches and solves challenges can grow strong business relationships. In short, great translation project managers make solutions rather than excuses. One of the distinguishing qualities of a good project manager is solving most problems internally, hence saving the client time and hassle. Even if there is a long, arduous project at hand, an excellent translation project manager can think outside the box and find solutions for barriers, thus ensuring a better outcome for all involved.
Positive — Facing demands from both clients and coworkers can be stressful. An average project manager may crack under pressure, but a project manager with a positive attitude can rise above to lead through difficult times. Not to mention, having a positive outlook and strong interpersonal skills makes most business relationships much more enjoyable.
Organized — Project managers are often faced with many different aspects of a project at once, such as budgeting, timeline development, editing, etc. To successfully implement all process components, a project manager must be very well organized. Any missteps could mean timeline delays and frustrated clients. A great project manager will maintain a functional, ordered structure.
Flexible — In the world of translations, there’s no black and white. Between juggling office hours, meeting customer demands and assisting team members, translation project managers have a lot to handle, and they must do so with stakeholders from around the globe! From leveraging technical solutions to implementing process changes, being flexible and willing to adjust enables project managers to better meet the needs of clients and exhibits pride in their work.
High quality work delivered on time with great service is the expectation of all customers, and these six qualities of a project manager will ensure expectations are met every time. Whether you’re looking for the perfect project manager, or looking to be one yourself, keep these critical characteristics in mind—they certainly keep our team going.
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➡ Read this article in German
What do you think? Do you agree with these qualities of a project manager?
For more tips on being a translation project manager, check out these resources:
Lesson 20: So you want to be a project manager, by Marta Stelmaszak.
Top 10 characteristics of a great project manager, by David C. Baker