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Have you ever wondered how a translation agency functions? (back to beginning)



Translation Management Multi-Tasking

This is the part where we do a bit of translation management multi-tasking, an exercise more akin to frenetic juggling than management. As we prepare a formal quote for the client, complete with tracking number and basic translation specifications (see sidebar image "What's in a translation quote?") we begin the process of making contact with our translators to determine who is available to take on the assignment.

Of course, this comes after we've made a preliminary determination of who would be best suited to do the work. Considerations that include target language proficiency, subject-matter expertise, project deadline, etc. Next step is to actually confirm who is available to tackle the assignment.

We're talking two very significant variables here, namely suitability and availability. This might seem like a pretty straightforward matter. Just put the job online and let the translators come online and bid on this. Nice idea, except for the fact that the translators you want may be the closest thing you've met to Luddites and they simply can't or won't log in to anything to make their availability known. (Translators are not like Pavlov's dog...) The result is a bunch of e-mails and telephone calls, all taking place before a confirmed order is in hand. And we're still on the first order... Multiply this by 10 or 20 on any given day and you're starting to get the picture. Busy, much like an exchange trading room.

In a perfect universe, all the planets align correctly. And in our office, that's often the case (thank goodness). This isn't coincidence, mind you. It's more the result of having access to a sizeable pool of translation resources, assembled over time and diligently nurtured.

Translation Tools and Information Technology Resources

We've already touched on the rudimentary tools, namely AnyCount and ClipCount. We've also mentioned the Project Quotation system, one component of a broader Docket Management System working on a server-based relational database. We have an OS X server running a FileMaker Pro relational database where we have integrated client data, project data and quotation data to name a few. There's other miscellaneous IT gear like a network switch, a router for internet access, workstations, laptops, fax machine, printer, tons of software, including a Translation Memory system. And of course, there are the obligatory telephone and security systems. The first to keep us connected and the latter to keep us from being disconnected. It all adds up to doing a whole lot of things to keep this translation agency office humming.

And then, there are the websites and the time and effort required to develop and maintain this aspect of our IT framework. (I'm getting overwhelmed just writing about this stuff.)
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What's in a Translation Quote?

Project_Quote_Docket
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