How To Effectively Manage Translators?

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All our work on developing the perfect Translation Management System would mean little without the people who actually use it. That’s why today we want to talk about translators – the people who get the actual job done! In this blog, we will focus on how to effectively manage translators and make their life easier in 10 points.

#1. Make timely payments

Handling invoices can be a time-consuming task and this often causes delays in the payment of translators’ invoices. This, in turn, causes strains in the professional relationship, often forcing the translator to quit the cooperation and look for LSPs they can work with.

Let’s not forget that many translators are freelancers, which means that they financially rely on the tasks they complete during a given month.

#2. Communicate 

To manage translators means to communicate with translators, in the majority of the cases. Of course, all localization projects have their own obstacles, but the cooperation between the translator and the LSP or client is crucial. If the translator is supposed to translate the content in the best way possible, they might need to know the most specific details (like the ones regarding terminology or style).

When a translator has questions, don’t leave them out to dry. Try to communicate the answer to the question as soon as possible, so that they can translate the content accordingly and properly. LSPs love when translators are responsive but let’s not forget that this works both ways.

 #3. Find the right tools

If you don’t use a Translation Management System, you probably reply on different tools. The problem here is that sometimes the translator will not have access to the same version of the tools, which can cause significant delays. Remember that you cannot manage translators if you are not on the same page.

Choose the tools that will allow you to keep everything in one place and enable you to process different file types, allocate the localization to different teams and define the workflow accordingly. This will help everyone, including the translators, perform better.

#4. Give constructive feedback

A lot of times, translators will finish their work, never to hear from the client again. Maybe most of the times, the feedback would have been that the translation quality is just fine, but even if that’s the case, let the translators know. This will help them improve and adapt their work.

#5. Respect

There’s no way you can manage translators without respecting their time. Many times, vendor managers and their teams will be looking for translators for projects which have been announced by clients. After all, LSPs want to be ready when the project arrives in the pipeline.

However, if you ask translators for availability and get an answer, don’t just stop replying at one point. Let them know if they will be working on the projects you have contacted them about. If not, contact them for other projects.

#6. Understand the ‘holiday mode on’

Freelance translators usually have two modes – full-work mode or holiday mode. If they are in work-mode, you can usually count on your trusted translators all day long, regardless of business hours. However, if translators tell you they are away, don’t reach out unless it’s very urgent. 

#7. Determine the workload

Once the LSPs find a trusted translator, they start sending them project after project. After all, you don’t change a winning team, and your trusted translator is on a winning streak.

After a while, however, this approach may bite back. When translators tell you they are overburdened, don’t ask them to do just this one project more. Inevitably, the quality will decrease and you will only push the problem further down the road.

 #8. Find your best management style

If you want to effectively manage translators, you need to learn to manage your projects in an adequate manner, too. If you notice that you overburden your trusted translators, try to include new translators, at least in smaller projects.

Get as many translators as possible into your teams and rotate projects among them. This way, you will reduce workloads you put on your trusted translators.

#9. Appreciate translators’ feedback

Feedback is a two-way street. You are supposed to provide translators with feedback on their work, but you can also ask them to help you improve your workflow. Don’t hesitate to ask them what can be improved and whether they are happy with the tools you provide!

When they see their opinion is valued, and especially if you act upon their feedback, this will strengthen the cooperation and loyalty.

#10. Learn to mediate and support

Sometimes, you will get negative feedback from clients who will say that localized content contains errors. Of course, it’s possible, as translators are humans too, but don’t immediately hang the translator out to dry.

Analyze the potential mistakes, together with the client and the translator, and mediate the conversation. After finding the middle-ground you can work on remedying the mistakes if there are any left.

 

At Text United, we have experience in cooperating with translators in order to help them maximize profit and help our clients to minimize expenses. Do you agree with our ten tips on how to manage translators and make their life easier?

Maybe you struggle to find your managing style and need some further advice? If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us directly – we will gladly discuss all challenges coming your way!

Gosia
Written By:

Gosia loves copywriting and product translation. Additionally, she's a content marketing and lolcats junkie.

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