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Teamwork in the Translation Industry

Teamwork in the Translation Industry

Whether it’s an all-hands-on-deck emergency or a predictably recurring high-volume job, teamwork is not uncommon in the translation industry. Here’s a peek at some of the most common “team projects” you’ll encounter, and tips for excelling in each situation.    

You + Freelancers

Both vendor managers and project managers interact with freelance translators daily — a relationship that can evolve into a team project of sorts if you need translators’ input to accomplish an internal goal. 

Maybe you need feedback on their work experience for a specific client; maybe your company is expanding into new services and is hiring freelancers to develop and grade tests for newbies. 

Freelancers appreciate it when their client contacts — whether VMs or project managers — are clear and communicative about expectations, including rates and time commitments. Respond promptly to their questions, and, perhaps most importantly, respect their expertise.

You + Colleagues

One of the biggest differences between group projects in school and team projects in the “real world” is that at work, team members often have different backgrounds and skills. This set-up, of course, is intentional, and allows the team to address challenges more thoroughly. 

Teamwork with peers is often cross-departmental: Consider someone in quality management consulting in-house language experts when creating a style guide, or business development pros reporting back to marketing on which strategies have been most effective with clients. 

Hear out your colleagues before rushing to share your own opinions or conclusions — each point of view can be valid. Your goals should be measurable and your timeline clear. The more explicit you can be in defining each participant’s role, the easier it will be to keep the project on track.

You + Your Boss

How often you and your immediate boss will collaborate on projects depends on each of your responsibilities and the size of your department. When it does happen, consider it an opportunity to level up your skills.

In the translation industry, this might mean reworking longstanding processes in operations, or introducing new procedures and documentation. You may find yourself involved in hiring as the company grows. On the tech side, you might be tasked with evaluating potential new translation management systems and recommending the best selection.

Make sure to use discretion, if necessary, in discussing details with other coworkers. If the project seems to be ongoing, think about whether you’re being asked to consistently contribute a higher level of work, which might rightly pave the way to a future promotion.