The success or failure of a project would not depend on the translators and proofreaders, but on the abilities of the translation project manager. Here are some reasons why:
The translation project manager chooses the team
The project managers are the ones who actually match the translators to the project. They not only have to maintain the link between the clients and the translators and proofreaders, they also need to know exactly which translators would fit the job. They may conduct interviews and tests. The success and failure does not hinge exactly on the pool of translators and proofreaders, but on the ability of the manager to select the right ones for the job, and if the project translation manager can successfully manage them. A well-selected well-managed high quality team will give high quality output.
The translation project manager sets the time-line and the schedule
A wise project manager will set a deadline that is neither too strict so that the translators will either complain or turn in an unpolished work, nor should it be too lax or the translators would become complacent. The manager must take into account that delays can occur and would allot extra time in case of such unavoidable instances. Delays may hurt the client’s business as well as damage the translation company.
The translation project manager must know how to allocate workload
Dividing tasks equally may seem fair, but a good project manager would know that it’s better to give more to those who can handle it, or leave the harder parts to those with more experience. The assigned manager must keep track of every segment, and make sure everyone is consistent from the start so in the end they can come together as a cohesive whole and quality is assured.
A translation project manager is more than just someone who gives out and collects the work and hands it over to the client. They are what keeps the project together.
Effective communication is the key
We at ISO Translations are always taking steps to improve communication where it matters the most: we recently created a system where the client and the translator can exchange messages directly when working on a project. No more delays if the client has clarifications or late edits, no more waiting until a question from the translator gets answered, now all is done live in our management system called Tranwise.