Guest post: project manager pet peeves

The recent guest post on Translator pet peeves generated so much interest that I thought it would be interesting to let other players in the industry vent, I mean share their thoughts as well. The following guest post is by Paula Dieli; her bio appears after the post.

These pet peeves include my own project management experiences as well as those of a fellow PM who prefers to remain anonymous.
1. The #1 complaint — Translators who don’t read instructions.
Some examples:
– You ask for the translations to be in the same format as the source files and the format comes back different.
– You ask for highlights in yellow and you get them in green.
– You get only a cleaned file from the translator when you have specifically asked for him/her to return both the cleaned and uncleaned file.
– You specifically state that the files should not be renamed and they all come back renamed with the translator’s initials appended to each filename.

2. Translators who never confirm that they have started a job.
It would be great if you could just quickly reply to confirm receipt of the source files and/or PO and indicate to the PM that the work is underway.

3. Translators who never ask questions.
We begin to worry when we don’t hear anything from you. We appreciate even a little communication during the project (“Just checking in to say that everything is going fine…”) to know that the project is on track.

4. “You mean you wanted the footnotes translated too?”
Everything should be translated unless otherwise specified by the PM and if you’re not sure, don’t hesitate to ask your PM!

5. “I know the translation is due today but I just wasn’t able to get it finished.”
We know that estimating how long a translation will take is not a perfect science. That said, numerous other people (editors, proofreaders, graphic designers and of course the end client) are lined up and waiting for your completed translation so if you can give us a little notice, it really helps!

6. “I wasn’t able to find this term so I’ve left it in the source language, hoping you’ll be able to figure it out.”
If you are stuck on a term, consider asking your colleagues or posting to a forum. If you are still stuck, please consider asking us before you deliver the final translation and we’ll be happy to consult with other translators in your language pair for guidance.

7. A client asks for a detailed plan for handling a large volume of work but hasn’t specified exactly when the work will be handed off or how large it will be.
It’s difficult (read impossible) to provide exact estimates for a project whose specifications are vague. Give us the project details and we’ll be happy to provide you with a detailed plan.

8. Clients who tell you they “absolutely need something done on Tuesday.”
You deliver the project and you get an out of office response! Enough said.

9. You deliver a translation and the client never confirms receipt.
We’re not expecting a thank you (or we would have quit this job long ago) but just a simple email confirmation so we’ll sleep better at night.

10. Clients who ask you and your team “to work this weekend so you can deliver on Monday morning.”
PM’s have many great skills but groveling is one we prefer not to use so if you can give us a little notice, even a day, it would be much appreciated!

Paula Dieli is a Localization Project Manager at Adobe Systems Inc., managing the localization of a large and complex software project into 15 languages. She also works as a French to English freelance translator specializing in information technology and business. Paula holds an M.A. in Translation from Kent State University and a B.A. in Computer Science and French from the State University of New York at Potsdam. Her previous experience includes project management at a language service provider and software engineering and program management at several software companies. She is the author of Essential Project Management, a blog on translation/localization project management.

4 Responses to “Guest post: project manager pet peeves”
  1. Marcos July 28, 2009
  2. Riccardo July 28, 2009
  3. Judy Jenner August 11, 2009
  4. Ohlsone MCkinnis October 27, 2017

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