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As translators, if we work for language service providers (LSPs), we are often inclined to overlook the “behind the scenes” activity that enables our work. Project managers, often with knowledge of several languages, are adept at juggling competing demands, multi-tasking and meeting tight deadlines for delivery of work to clients. This role forms a vital part of the languages industry ecosystem, and with this in mind, the Institute of Translation and Interpreting has recently added a new membership category – that of “Language Services membership”. The new category “is for those working as project managers/co-ordinators, resource managers, account managers and in other associated roles within Language Service Providers.” To throw some light on what is involved, I asked Geraldine Pearce, project manager at Priory Translations Ltd, for her experience in this role.

I began my role as an administration assistant for Priory Translations in late 2018, which has been my first experience working in an administrative role within the translation industry specialising in the translation of intellectual property. Growing up I had always taken a particular interest in languages. This led me to pursue a university degree in Modern Languages, studying both French and German. After obtaining my degree and working in various roles, this was the perfect opportunity to join a team of like-minded people within a language environment. Through this, I have had the opportunity to better understand not only the patent process, but also the different elements which make up the translation process. When I began this role, I had a basic understanding of what my responsibilities would be within the company, from background tasks such as organising and filing documents, to communicating with existing and potential clients. However, as time went on, I had progressed from administration assistant into the role of a project manager. As well as this, I also began working on some smaller assignments as a trainee translator, allowing me to really utilise and improve on the skills I’ve developed during my language studies with support and constructive feedback. When we found ourselves working from home from the beginning of 2020, I realised more than ever what goes into ensuring the smooth running of a translation assignment.

As a project manager, I oversee any new translation orders we receive and respond to any queries our clients may have. This means that in most cases, I am our clients’ first point of contact within the business. I ensure that we are able to take on any new assignments by communicating with translators within our in-house team, or by outsourcing assignments to freelance translators. I carry out any text formatting so the translators can begin working and provide any assistance to translators to aid the process. Once the assignment is finalised, I then ensure the order is correctly invoiced and sent by the client’s requested deadline.

Through project management within the translation industry, I have found the importance of prioritising workload, communication and maintaining relationships with both translators and clients. I’ve come to understand the specific requirements for each of our clients when we receive new assignments and send off completed ones, communicating with them to ensure we have all the information and clarification we need to proceed and providing this to the translators. It often also involves preparing for the unexpected, problem-solving and compromise. This can certainly be challenging at times, especially when workload picks up and requests become more urgent, but I’ve found myself learning something new with each challenge, and developing that extra bit of resilience along the way.

Thanks Geraldine for this insight. For anyone who is inspired to look into ITI’s Language Services membership, further information is available from ITI here.

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Thanks so much for this insight Geraldine!

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