Guest series: Project management

Hello, dear followers! It’s a rainny and cold Tuesday here. It’s the first time I take my jumper out of the bottom of my winter clothes’ drawer after a long scorching hot summer. The perfect weather for a cuppa and some reading, right? Even if it’s hot on your side of the ocean, you don’t want to miss today’s guest. Why not enjoy the reading outdoors?

Sylwia Nadolna is our first international guest. She is Polish, but lives in England. I met her in British grounds; we took the MA in Translation Studies with Intercultural Communication together and also worked part-time together. She was (and still is) like a sister to me. And now I’ll finally get the chance to introduce her to my home country; she’s visiting me next month! Isn’t that exciting? 🙂

Welcome, Sylwia!

Courtesy of Pixabay

 Project Management Insights

How it all began

When I first received a project manager job offer I was literally swept off my feet. I couldn’t imagine receiving better news… well, maybe except for Poland, my native country, winning the Football World Cup. I simply knew that project management would the best option for me. During my studies I had discovered, to my utter dismay, that translating had not been my cup of tea. Funnily enough, I had been just a step away from completing an MA in Translation and, needless to say, my head had been spinning in all the effort to figure out where to start my professional career. It took an MA degree to convince myself that I had never been a natural linguist. Quite the opposite, I had always been rather blasé about the language rules. As a consequence, working as a translator had quickly become out of the question and a project management career idea had been born.

Imagination vs. reality

As it turned out, project management was nothing like I imagined it to be. To put it out there bluntly, I was rather surprised that there was more to my role than just having stuff done by other people. Well, truth be told, I did not expect project management to be such a hard work. I had to learn that there are simply not enough hours in a day to have everything done and that it is tricky to keep everyone satisfied. On the one hand, there are clients who need your attention and assurance of impeccable quality and timely deliveries. On the other hand, there are translators, the hardworking folks who need reference materials, clean source files and time to create their linguistic pieces of art. In theory, everything should run smoothly and the project manager can stay in a happy bubble sending instructions and delivering translations. Sounds like a piece of cake, but is it?

What it really looks like

Let’s put ourselves in a project manager’s shoes for a while. Working in the role, you would typically start your day with a cup of coffee to keep you going. Next step would be to check your inbox to discover that it is overloaded again with queries from the offshore teams who had started their day hours before you did and who have been emailing you simultaneously whilst you were fast asleep. Just when you think you are about to clear your inbox, you receive more emails from the teams working in your time zone. And so we go again… Reply… Send. Ok, it is time to monitor your on-going projects to make sure that everyone is on track to complete the assigned tasks. If there is a new project to launch, you may need a kick-off call with the client before you pass the instructions to the teams.This is where the real fun starts because not only may you need to have the content translated by the linguists, but also processed and re-integrated back into the source format by Desktop Publishers or Engineers. Manoeuvring between 30 teams in 10 different time zones, including half hour ones (oh yes, they do exist), is the best mental roller coaster you can get! Once everyone knows what they are doing, you can sit back and relax… or not, because guess what? You have just reached the end of a business day without even noticing.

The choice is yours

If like me you love languages, but cannot see yourself working as a translator, or you are looking for a little bit of a change from a translation career, project management may be something worth considering. As with any job, there will be ups and downs and at some point you may find yourself booking a mental health check appointment with your doctor, but I guarantee you will never be bored.

It was a real pleasure having you here, Sylwia! Thanks a lot for accepting my invitation and for taking the time to write such a great post! I loved it! And I’m sure our readers will too.

Comments, opinions, feedback? Don’t be shy! 😉

About the author

Sylwia is a project manager and translation graduate. She currently works for a localization company based in the UK supporting mobile devices projects.

One thought on “Guest series: Project management

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