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A day in the life of a project manager at translate plus

Published on July 22nd, 2013

It’s a Wednesday, which in Estonian they say has “broken the back of the week” (half-way to the weekend)!

I leave my home in Bethnal Green and walk to work through the colourful busy streets of Shoreditch. Every day there is new fascinating graffiti decorating the walls of buildings en route and a swarming peleton of trendy cyclists will always congregate at Old Street roundabout. I can’t understand why they cycle in such clothes, but this is East London!

At the office we have an amazing coffee machine and I pour a large cup to begin sifting through my e-mails.

Today, I am overseeing about a dozen projects and more will come in throughout the day, as others are finally delivered. They are at different stages: some are being delivered by linguists and will be sent for our rigorous QA procedures in-house. Others will have been internally checked and ready to sign off, or perhaps there will be points to raise with the original linguists, so we can be 100% confident that our work is of the best possible quality before final delivery to our clients!

To begin with, I check that all my expected 9 a.m. deliveries from linguists have been received. Many of the files are in Trados Studio format, and need to be converted to Word format for QA checks. I use our special conversion tools to prepare all files accordingly, before sending them to our internal QA checkers. I give them a reasonable deadline, since we live on deadlines here, and then I await their discerning critique!

I then run my own QA checks on several of my colleagues’ deliverables. I speak Portuguese, Spanish and Romanian (and I am native English), so I can check translations into these languages. Once this is complete, I move on to my remaining e-mails.

For one project, a linguist has requested additional reference material so he can be absolutely certain he is employing the correct terminology which the client prefers. I e-mail our client to ask if this is something they could provide, and we are sent over a workbook with key terms. This is very useful and I circulate it amongst all linguists working on the job – asking all of them to triple-check against this new reference file, before they deliver the final translations later today.

I also have some purchase order queries. Each of our linguists has their own dedicated profile on our system to which they are able to log in and invoice jobs electronically. It is very quick and easy for all involved, but occasionally we are asked why certain job items do not yet appear. I advise linguists that the whole project must be completed and signed off our side for items to appear, so never any reason to panic!

I am starting to receive the first QA items back from my colleagues which I sent out this morning. I am very pleased to see that no issues were found and that the translators did a great job!

In the meantime, I have received 2 new jobs. These are very small in terms of volume – an Excel file and a Word file – however the deadline is 9 a.m. tomorrow. I make these a priority for the next hour and set them up on the system. I look for linguists who have previously worked with this client, because we like to be consistent, and I send out a job request to these suppliers. The files are analysed thoroughly against an existing client translation memory, making us able to draw from repetitious content and offer a discount!

I then turn to the final conversions of any projects due this afternoon. Our Localisation Engineer assists with a small tag corruption – he works his magic and the files are ready to go! For one particular client, it is preferred that we deliver via our i plus tool, so I do so and sign everything off as complete on our system.

Now I realise I am hungry and grab a sandwich by the river. I watch dog walkers in the sun (what a great summer this has been) and return to the office feeling refreshed!

Whilst I was out, I have had several offers from linguists on the new jobs. I choose accordingly and prepare translation packs for them. These will include Trados-friendly versions of the files (in TTX or XLIFF format), a translation memory export (so that all previously translated content is taken into account) and a PO. I write detailed instructions and also include any reference material which the client provided.

The rest of the afternoon is spent dealing with another couple of new jobs and conducting many more QA checks for my colleagues. It is a busy but interesting day, dealing with some of my favourite professional linguists and friendly clients. I am able to finish more or less on time and a few of us head to watch a game from the translate plus football league! It is a tense competition between the more energetic members of the team!

I suppose we work and play hard here in equal measures!

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Posted on: July 22nd, 2013