project managers for translations

The Role of Project Managers for Translations

Collaboration with Day Translations. Translation projects, especially large-scale ones featuring multiple languages, benefit from having a dedicated project manager.

What a Project Manager for Translation Projects Does

When commissioning a translation project to an agency, the client liaises with a central contact, the project manager. A project manager must demonstrate to possess skills such as being able to negotiate and to navigate complex work schedules, plus have the technical knowledge to use the appropriate tools to see the project to completion.

The role of the project manager is to ensure that all the tasks are completed on time, regularly communicating with the members of the team and the client. Communication is vital for the success of a translation project as the client needs regular updates and the team needs to stay on track giving feedback on progress.

Projects that involve multiple language translations have several work streams happening at the same time and having a centralised appointed person to oversee the progress is essential.

Some of the responsibilities of the project manager include:

  • planning
  • quality control
  • allocation of resources
  • managing the budget.


Each translation project requires a plan setting the deliverables and deadlines. The project manager sets the deadlines to each translator and the expectations. The plan should include factors that may affect the delivery of the project and ways to mitigate them. The project manager has experience in evaluating different scenarios and implementing processes that help identify problems and solve them quickly. These scenarios give the project manager the opportunity to revise elements in the plan.

Quality Control

The project manager oversees the process of going through the translated text getting feedback from editors about any revisions that are necessary. The project managers act as the point of contact for the members of the team, to ensure the team can resolve any issues along the way. This can include asking a translator to make revisions in line with the client’s instructions.

Quality control happens throughout the project and at the delivery of the translation the project manager evaluates whether there are any improvements that can be made in the future.

Allocation of Resources

The project manager knows which translators to appoint for each project based on the language pairs and the area of expertise that is required. Translators specialise in areas such as legal, commercial, medical and so on. Translators often work remotely in different time zones. Depending on the nature of the translation, the project manager chooses team members according to their expertise and once the project has started checks on progress.

This task can become more challenging when a translator becomes unavailable and another one needs to step in at short notice. However, the project manager takes this element of risk into account at the planning stage allowing for back up translators to wait in the wings.

Managing the Budget

After the agency and the client agree the budget, the project manager must optimise all the work streams to keep costs below a certain level. Factors such as delays or ambiguity of the original text requiring further clarification can affect the budget. The project manager has the opportunity to discuss problem areas in advance with the client who can provide additional background information to help brief the translation team.

Using Translation Management Systems

Translation Management Systems (such as Memsource, Smartcat or memoQ for example) automate some processes and support collaboration, simplifying the management of translated content, especially for projects with high volume of text. This type of software centralises the control of incoming content from translators and provides reports to give the project manager an overview of the status of a project. These tools also integrate with machine translation databases and can run quality control checks on translated text.

According to Kent State University the position of translation project manager is a great career choice offering many opportunities for growth. It is also a viable option for remote workers. Project managers for translations play a vital role within a translation agency: they are the main contact for clients and for translators. They handle key client accounts and ensure that each project runs as smoothly as possible using tools that support collaboration and centralise information for easier reporting. They are responsible to complete work on time and within budget.