Translation PM: Who Are They And What Do They Do?

In a Chinese translation company, a key figure is the project manager (PM) as it is responsible for the operational management of the project, i.e. starting, planning and control of the same, and the management of human resources, all to achieve maximum results within pre-established times and costs. In the area of commercial translations, since translation companies’ profits  are made up in large part by  translation project management, the role of the project manager is essential.

Who is the translation project manager?

The translation agencies rely on their project managers to shoulder the responsibility for their translation projects, they’re the ones who are in close contact with the customer and organize the projects according to the agreed time and budget, and then work with their team to achieve the set objectives. The PM must have considerable leadership skills and be able to withstand stress and pressures. In the field of translation, the PMs must be able to manage glossaries, customer case histories and IT tools and even revision of the delivered translations.

translation project manager

What is a translation project?

A translation project is, in practice, a job requested by a large client in a set of files to be translated. This work is organized in a series of processes to be completed according to predetermined times, and also its completion is set up for a team of translators and those who have other useful skills.

What does the translation project manager do?

The translation project manager performs the following functions:

Organization of the project

  • The project manager takes care of the creation and organization of the translation project in its various phases, in accordance with the needs and wishes of the customer and after having studied and evaluated the company and the business;


  • Team management: the project manager chooses a team or group, organizes and manages everything about the translation project, taking into account the difficulties such as the physical distance that often exists between the team members, also he/she seeks to comply with the requirements and coordinate between different functions such as the translator and the proofreader to better achieve the common goal, which is customer satisfaction;

Dialogue with the customer

The project manager holds a regular dialogue with the customer to arrange the project and timing and inform him/her about the progress and timing of the work.

translation project manager's team work

What to do after the completion of a translation project?

At the end of the translation project, the project manager will discuss with his team on their work. The discussion focuses on the evaluation of the report written by him during the project and the comments of the various components of the team, to find out any mistakes and to understand where and how you can improve. This next step in the project is aimed at future work.

Is it useful for a freelance translator to have skills as a project manager?

A freelance translator carries out his/her work with a certain degree of freedom and a degree of discretion, as compared with a translation agency. However, their jobs are the same ones as that come to agencies, so they can be carried out based on their own methods. There are files to be translated, a quote after evaluating the project, stages and times to be agreed. Missing only the part relating to the management of a team. For these reasons it would be very useful for a freelance translator to have some project management skills.

The reasons why the project managers are necessary are as follows:

  • The complexity of translation projects, which require considerable planning capabilities;
  • The human resources involved , which must be organized and managed;
  • The tools to be used , namely, glossaries, customer case histories and programs;
  • The importance of a responsible figure to act as a liaison between the translators and the customer