Project Management : A Glance

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By Maria E. Padron

When we want to do something, it’s key to know how much time, money and resources are available to us to do it, what we want to achieve, how well we want to do it, and how we’ll do it. The long process of defining these, organizing and executing tasks to make it all happen, and monitoring all the tasks to make sure that everything happens successfully, is called project management. As translators, this can be oriented towards each translation project we may have, or different projects we might have for our translation services (a marketing project, for example).

Therefore, as translators, it’s important to have project management skills. We can use this to further develop our translation services by creating more efficient ways to reach our goals. If we define and organize everything we want to do with specific processes and objectives, it’ll be easier to be more efficient translators, since we can manage our resources (time, money, skills, tools, etc.) better to provide better results without putting in as much effort and energy. The following idea is key: to work smarter, not harder.

This doesn’t mean we won’t work hard, but that if we organize what we wish to do better, while putting the same resources and effort, we can achieve better results and more goals. But, how can we do this you may ask?

  1. Plan: before anything else, you need to know what resources are available to you or how you plan to get the ones you need, what you want to achieve, and how you plan to do so. Time, cost, outcome/results, and quality of your project have to be defined for you to plan accordingly. You need to know everything you want to do precisely so you don’t deviate from your initial goal in the process or get confused along with the problems or crisis that may happen. Here is where you consider any risks or potential problems that may occur. You can think of possible solutions and strategies to react towards this possible problems that may arise in the future when you start your project.

  2. Schedule: after you have planned everything thoroughly, defining everything you need to do and desire to do as your project, you need to start making your plans happen. Start giving set dates for certain activities you need to do (meetings, interviews, etc.) and deadlines for other tasks (completing 50 pgs. of a book you’re translating, for example.) This is vital to keep all the tasks you need to complete your goal on track. Keep in mind to have some flexibility in these dates, and plan them while considering any problems that may arise and any risks that exist. Give enough time for all the tasks to be completed and organize them well to carry on despite any obstacles that may appear in the process.

  3. Monitoring: after having everything planned and scheduled, it’s time for executing it all. Start working and doing all the tasks you decided on, but maintain active monitoring on them. Constantly check their development to see if everything is being done well, or if there’s any need to change some of your plans to adapt to any crisis or problems that appeared, or just an unprecedented circumstance that ended up happening. Therefore, maintain yourself critical of your work and evaluate it constantly to check it’s being done well, or if there’s any need of changing it, getting some help from someone else, more resources, etc.

  4. Finalization of the project: here is when you deliver your final product to your customer (if it your project was a translation work, for example) or you see the results of it (getting 100 subscribers on your Youtube channel, getting a 10% increase on sales of your product, etc.) Be aware of problems that may appear in this stage (negotiating price of your final work to be paid by the customer is one of the most common problems in the translation industry) and be ready to analyse the results of your project. If you achieved all goals, understand what you did well and want to repeat on future projects. If you didn’t, analyze all possible problems that might have caused it. What there anything lacking on the planning, schedule or monitoring stages? Lack of resources? Problems adapting to problems that appeared in the process? Consider everything you need to and get help if you need it. This might be the most important stage, since it doesn’t only help you achieve your current project, but helps with the ones you’ll do in the future as well.

Consequently, all these stages are just a brief glance to what project management is, how to do it, and why it’s important for developing our careers as translators. We also have to consider there is free software online that can be used to develop a project management plan and keep up with it, such as Zoho Projects and MeisterTask. All translators need to further develop their project management skills to help them provide more efficient services and improve constantly, keeping updated with new techniques, methods, and tools.

By Maria E. Padron

Intern’s profile: http://modlingua.com/interns/388-maria-eugenia-padron-spanish-english-translator.html

More information on project management tools: http://blog.capterra.com/free-open-source-project-management-software/


 

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