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Every Translator’s Dream (and Reality…)

James Perfect is a Localisation Manager at a software engineering company Digita Ltd. Every year his company releases several new applications and updates (with accompanying website documentations), which require to be translated into a set of languages of the countries which are targeted for sales. With years of experience in the localisation business, James has developed a smooth-running process and established a good work relationship with a circle of freelance translators. Before his career as a PM took off, James himself used to work as a translator and now he finds this experience invaluable for his current job. He is directly involved in commissioning translations, so he always makes sure that the work deadlines are realistic. As a successful project manager he is organised, works well under time pressure and can prioritise tasks. He responds to emails within hours and leaves no enquiries unanswered. At the begging of each project, he provides the translators with glossaries and other helpful materials (such as demo versions of the software etc.) and makes sure to leave feedback upon completion. On the personality level, James is chatty, approachable and open-minded. He is a proud dad of a 5-year-old girl called Susan and he likes to take her swimming every Sunday morning to the local pool.

Jenny Morelikeit works as a Project Coordinator for a translation agency. Her latest customer is a vacuum cleaner manufacturing company. Wanting to boost sales in several foreign markets, the company Dusty No More Ltd has decided to have their website translated into the relevant languages. With a very small budget (further diminished by the agency margins) and no time to spare (the launch of the translated websites was scheduled rather unrealistically), Jenny has to move fast to find translators available to do the work over the weekend. With a long chain of communication, one document goes missing and one is sent out before reaching its final draft form. Jenny works under a lot of time pressure and therefore has no time for pleasantries. There is no time to deal with the translators’ enquiries so certain nuances of the text are left to intelligent guesses. After a stressful day, it takes several glasses of red wine and a bubble bath for Jenny to recover and switch to party mode for the coming weekend.

Disclaimer: Any resemblance to actual people or companies is coincidental. All names are fictitious.

P.S. I really sympathise with all Jennies of the translation world and I know how they feel! Acting as a middle person between customers and translators is a demanding and high-pressure job which requires a lot of optimism and patience. I would also like to use this opportunity to thank all wonderful PMs with whom I had the pleasure of working – thank you for being a James!

One Response to “Every Translator’s Dream (and Reality…)”

  1. Translator Mum | Which Word Translations Says:

    […] As for the translation project and the project manager – the better conditions they offer (interesting topic of translation, decent pay, reasonable deadline, good communication style, professionalism, etc), the happier you will be to be back at your desk every night! Thank you Benny for being my James Perfect. […]

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