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Project management and yellow lobsters

Translation project management and yellow lobsters - medical translationEffective project management is the single most important factor to influence the success of medical translation projects. Yet it seems that great translation project managers are like yellow lobsters: they are very rare.

Some of this has to do with the relative youth of the translation industry. The industry is fragmented, and there is a dearth of best practices and standards to guide translation service providers.

That, in turn, leads project management ranks being staffed by young, inexperienced folks. Many of them mean well and work hard but they just don't know (yet).

Sometimes, "project managers" are really coordinators. They are passive and shuffle paper and files. Few translation project managers possess PMP, CMMi, ITIL, Prince2, or any other project management certification.

All of this presents tremendous opportunities for those project managers and translation companies that can stay focused on being proactive, that think about the end in the beginning, and hone their PMing skills.

In addition to the above-mentioned certifications, the web contains a wealth of information on how-to stuff around project management. Here is a random sampling:

The good news is that translation PMs don't have to reinvent the wheel: Project management is an established profession, and there is no reason why great translation PMs should be as rare as yellow lobsters.

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1 Comment:

  1. MEldridge said...
    This is valuable information, and I hope the executives of all translation companies consult these sources.

    While most PMs I've worked with seemed to know what they were doing, there were others who were clearly in over their heads.

    There seems to be no requirement for PMs to know any foreign language at all. This often leads to wasted time. I have had to explain Finnish grammar and word order to more than one anxious PM, because it's so different from English and the true European languages.

    My guess is that many, if not most, agencies indeed regard PMs as just paper shufflers and hire the ones who cost them the least money in salary.

    Incidentally, although I've never seen a yellow lobster, I have seen one that was a beautiful bright blue.

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