The relationship between translation project managers and freelance translators is one of the pillars of the modern translation industry.
It’s always nice to get on well with people you work with every day (more or less). Moreover, having a nice relationship with a project manager can put you in a good situation when he or she needs to pick a translator for a project.
Apart from delivering a high-quality translation and respecting all deadlines, what can you do to make a translation project manager choose you over other freelancers?
Let’s start with the obvious: Be nice!
Emails should not be an obstacle to having a nice and relaxed exchange of words. If you were choosing between two project managers who proposed similar projects with the same rate and deadline, wouldn’t you go for the polite and nice one? Everyone seems to be so stressed out on translation projects that a few friendly sentences are always welcome!
Project Managers are humans (at least some of them are) who can’t help but have a few “favorite translators” who they will think of first if they happen to have an appealing project!
Translation project managers have a clear inclination for reactive translators
They send hundreds of emails every day, and they like to have an answer as quickly as possible! When launching a project, the time period between the moment the client launches a new project and the moment when a translator accepts that project is a very hard time for project managers. So put an end to their suffering and let them know if you’re available or not!
It’s also perfectly understandable for unexpected situations to crop up during a translation project. A good example would be those projects that are canceled by the client after they have been launched. Project managers then need to contact the assigned translators as quickly as possible so that they can stop their work and be paid for what they have done. But what happens if the translator is not checking his or her email for days? It’s the start of an agonizing dilemma that never ends well on either side!
Never underestimate any piece of information!
A project manager offers you a legal document to translate, but you’re really not an expert? Just say so! If you still want to give it a try, explain that you’re not used to that kind of document, but you could still take care of it if given a comfortable deadline. Be transparent! A good translation agency will listen to you.
Are you running a bit behind schedule? Let your project manager know! They will see if they can postpone the deadline. If they can’t, at least you won’t be the only one stressing out!
More than helping you get more projects, having a good relationship with a translation project manager helps you maintain a solid network of translation professionals. Keep this relationship alive by adding the project manager on Linkedin and following him/her on Twitter. Networking is an important part of freelance work so don’t be afraid to get your name out there.