Since most of the guest posts are written by translators, I thought it would be refreshing for us to get the perspective of an employee in a company who manages translation projects. Recently I conducted an interview with a project coordinator at a translation company based in Los Angeles. My goal was to learn the challenges that a project coordinator typically faces in the translation industry. Here is what she had to say.
When it comes to document translation services rushed jobs often cause stress for us. If we are in the middle of managing another project, we have to stop everything we were doing to take care of the rushed job. When we come back to the project we were originally working on, it is often difficult to remember where we left off. In addition, for large projects once the translation is done, there is a lot of pressure on the project coordinators who have to print and stamp every page on a rushed basis.
Furthermore, some clients who call in are not sure which documents they need to translate. It is a challenge for us to convince clients that we cannot decide what documents have to be translated. People often ask us questions such as “what do students usually have you translate if they want to apply to a community college?” We often explain that each community college might have its own specific requirements so what we translate for one student is not necessarily relevant to what document has to be translated for another student.
Nevertheless, by asking good questions we will try to point the clients to the right direction. For example, if the clients are applying to a university and they do not know whether they need to have all of their transcripts from three or four years of high school translated or a diploma will satisfy the university’s requirement we ask them to look at the university’s website and search for the required documents. If the students still do not find the information they need we suggest that they contact the admissions office.
Projects such as business contracts or websites are usually very challenging for us as well because clients tend to keep revising the original version. Businesses in the United States often draft a contract that they are planning to present to a non-English speaking party. Then they ask us to translate this document into French, let us assume. After submitting the translated version of the contract to the French-speaking party, the American company may be asked to revise some terms and conditions. This process could be repeated several times, which means several version of the contract will be bounced back and forth among all parties involved.
Likewise, business owners who want to translate their website’s content into foreign languages often ask us to translate the English text, but once we have completed the translation they might ask us to translate additional pages that they wrote exclusively for those new markets. It is easier for us to handle such projects if clients contact us when they have finalized the website.
Finally, clients who are not willing to pay for professional translation services often end up with a poor-quality translation that they expect us to proofread. It is usually more difficult for our translators to make corrections to a translation that was completed by an inexperienced translator than to translate the document from scratch. If the translator did not truly understand the context of the document our translators have to rewrite most sentences.
Those who seek document translation services often do not realize what challenges project coordinators and translators have to tackle to deliver great quality and timely translations. It is because we are always pleasant and professional to all clients. We never discuss such matters!
Sophia Williams is the Online Marketing Manager at California Center for Translation & Interpretation (www.cacfti.com). She oversees all the marketing activities and regularly contributes to the company’s official blog. She develops effective marketing materials and presentations to strategically target new markets. She loves languages and cultures. She enjoys combining her marketing skills and passion for linguistics to assist CACTFI in building a global presence. Check out her Google+ profile.