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By Paul Rizo-Brewington

Project Management is a key component in any sort of workplace and something everyone has been a part of at some point in time in their lives. Most have been exposed as children, working on group projects at a science fair or for an international day where they have to do research on the cultures and traditions of a certain country. Whatever the case may be, everyone has been part of a project before. Another memory most remember vividly is how the project went and the distribution of grades at the end of the project. Most people have some story about a team member who was lagging and barely put in any effort for the project or was the person who someone else covered for but received the same grade as everyone else who actually worked hard.

One could lament to their teacher about a lagging team member but there’s no actual manner to hold them accountable and not much repercussion either. Project Management eliminates this factor in multiple ways. The first of which is by factor of time. Time is the most valuable asset anyone can have and having ample time equates to more success and quality of production. Managing the time, a project takes by having deadlines and goals is the line between having a recurring client and never getting service from them again. Time not only of the total project but each component of the project helps create a better flow for the journey to completion as well as keeps everyone on track.

Second, is a goal or specified outcome for the project. Each translation project comes with different challenges and nuances that a team of translators must be prepared for. However, in order to produce high quality content, the team needs to know what they’re aiming for or trying to accomplish. Moreover, they can create or mark their content in such a way that distinguishes them from competition and make them a standout amongst the market. Lastly, and probably the most important aspect of project management is figuring out the budget. Profit is the simple formula of money earned minus costs so having a budget is the best way to earn as much as possible. Also, when one has a budget, they are able to minimize costs over time and create precedents for similar projects.

When most people theorize and come up with a plan, they get excited and ready to set it in motion but usually fall short. The execution of a plan is one the first and biggest pitfalls of any business. People get afraid to execute and fear is the biggest killer of any dream. But, on the other side of fear is whatever most people desire. A project management plan can help sort out and misunderstandings or areas where most people get lost. It lays out a timeline and expectations for a project, so it’s a glimpse into the future and something one can prepare for if things don’t go according to plan. A final key piece to any project is documentation. Documentation kind of ties into previous mentioned points about writing down what needs to get accomplished but it’s a little more in depth. It not only lets the higher up at the agency know what’s going on but it can be given to the client for their records and is a tool used to hold people accountable for things. If there’s documentation for who did what job and the client isn’t satisfied with something, they know who exactly they have qualms with and the agency can put in action what needs to be done.

Likewise, project management is an incentive to actually do one’s work and not slack off. People don’t like being watched and feel under pressure when they are. However, sometimes pressure is good because without pressure we wouldn’t have diamonds. It enforces quality standards of projects and a dedication to outputting one’s best effort. One aspect of project management that may slip through the cracks at first glance is the ability to compare. As stated before, with project management one is able to lower output costs over time. But, one is also able to compare and contrast different variables that produce different quality of content and the prices associated with such. If one only possesses a singular perspective on things, they will continue to do it in that manner because that is all they know. However, if they possess a holistic view then they are able to see the situation from multiple sides and pick the best one for their situation. Everything is relative as Einstein once said.

 

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By Paul Rizo-Brewington

Quality Standards are beneficial for language professionals, translators and service providers in various ways. They set a minimum efficiency of output that is expected from each different job type. In the beginning when translation started to boom in the 90s, the average consumer had a certain idea in mind of what kind of content they would receive. Language professionals, translators and service providers had a separate idea and when the final product was done, both parties were made aware of the miscommunication. Language service providers and professionals probably assumed that they could get away with not the most professional of interactions with the client or even not the best quality of content in their translation, as any new industry would face. Consumers of language services walked into the agreement with a blind eye because they don’t have a working knowledge of the language they need translation for or how the process is supposed to go since it’s new.

Quality Standards changes all of this. It sets a precedent and a clear expectation of what is to come from any type of language service professional. This means that the client will consistently be happy since they are aware of exactly what they are getting. Furthermore, if the finished product is not up to this standard then there is a sense of responsibility and repercussion to be undertaken if such should happen. Previously, a client may have felt swindled if they received a translation that was subpar or were part of a process with an unprofessional agency. This creates a sense of distrust with the client which can spiral out of control. The client may detest or speak ill of translation which decreases prospective clients for translation professionals. Then, let’s agree that the swindled client in question is a business owner and needs a translation to appeal his/her services to a popular speech community in his/her area. Now the person in question also is losing potential clients and it becomes a vicious circle.

With quality standards being set in place, all of this is avoided and everyone wins. Clients are satisfied with their interactions in the language service world and language service providers are expected to put forth their best effort and or be held accountable when the aforementioned isn’t the case. Clients will feel inclined to repeat service with the language service industry because they feel safe and valued as a client. Also, they may refer friends, colleagues or family members to go to language service professionals since they have a trust that the job they need can be completed. This creates a bigger client base for the language service industry and creates a more healthy and beneficial cycle. Secondly, this leads the general public away from computer assisted translation which is and may still always be an unstable endeavor.

Another area that may not be as discernable but is also another end result of quality standards is growth. Growth is one of the most fulfilling things in life but also is a key aspect in business and entrepreneurship. People feel satisfied and gain a sense of passion when they feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves. It’s a wonderful feeling to see tangible growth in a company or one’s own abilities and quality standards is something that aids in such. It forces language professionals to consistently work to give every new project the best translation possible for their abilities. Or how to deal with clients properly and respectfully if customer service is an area in which a language professional is lacking. If it’s a company setting, the employees can all see their personal and team growth which can create a greater sense of community within the company.

Quality Standards are inherently globalizing phenomena which are helpful for today’s society. They set the tone for an entire, region, country or even the entire world in terms of translation. Translation is also something inherently global; communicating and interacting with people all around the world from different speech communities. However, this makes one’s client base practically infinite as well as a client’s potential agency base. This is another reason to be at the peak of their performance because language services is a competitive field. Multilingualism is the norm rather than the exception. It’s a growing industry which means day in and day out there is a greater need for language professionals. That means more fish will enter the pond eventually and it will be harder for language professionals to distinguish their service quality from others. But, Quality Standards are just the minimum of what’s expected in the language service world. Some people may want even more and will pay more for higher quality of content for whatever reason. In conclusion, Quality Standards set the tone for excellence for top quality and efficiency amongst the language service world and it only goes up from there.

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