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Translation Project Management

(February 2-6)

 

I work with my own clients (who have been with me for years) and subcontract for a number of translating companies here in Florida. I have a deluge of work, but I've always been a workaholic and clients have been known to follow me around on vacations too, although I try to discourage that.

yah, that's I guess one of the big reasons I set up this virtual office, because without it I found I couldn't really take vacations. When you got steady clients who depend on you, especially as an agency, you can't just go away for a few weeks and shut your doors, cause you'll force your clients to find an alternative, with which they might be happy with, and you lose them. But I get bored if I'm not doing anything productive anyway. I don't really enjoy just loafing around and doing nothing while traveling, so I combined it and it's just the way I like it. Glad I finally found a project work manager I can depend on. Now I just need to find more like her and start expanding. What kind of extra work you got? Maybe I can help you out. I got translators all over the world and assume I'd be more competitive than a translating agency based in Florida.


1. Accounting Here is the Accounting.xls file, that is also available within a few minutes on the server. Of course Accounting.txt is updated much more often. In completing Accounting.xls file I took into account your responses to my questions. Where I knew for sure the number of words/units I jot them down to keep the file as accurate as possible. I do understand the purpose of punching in the words counts, but I wanted the Accounting file to look as neat and complete and correct as possible and anyway, in its current form regarding past agency management projects, it does not influence in any way your own accounting as the info regarding past translation projects is inspired from your very own accounting.

I noticed you put a word count of 1 in some of the agency projects. If you do not know the real word counts, I think it would be better to leave as blank, just to avoid creating any potential confusion. For the left hand side, when a project is complete, I like to have a solid green line between the horizontal lines and representing the entire project. Leave that entire section either green or only one colour. It stands out better. When a translation customer project is finalised and complete, colour that entire left section green.

In the case of 7002 MULT that I vetted, I also included the vetting hours in the form, although it was a project in Transit PE. In the case of Project 7007 I included the vetting hours, that is 15 minutes, that is 0.25 in the form for the German to English translation vetting job. I know I initially told you working time was 30 minutes then, but as the work had some problems (as we saw in the last emails about this language combination project) I considered that it is not fair to ask for 30 min vetting payment, if it was not done perfectly and required some plus work from you.

Okay, I checked and these are in the accounting. Not sure what routine to get into here, so for now, lets say you always tell me the time spent after each project, while it is fresh in both our minds, and then put it into this .xls file as well. I kept your time for 7007 because when you work somewhere and you make a mistake, you still get paid for your time. I think you are conscientious enough, and mistakes do happen. I don't think it is fair to dock you like this. Just keep trying and keep my interest in mind, not wasting my money or something, and I'll understand that mistakes simply happen. Or it is a learning process. Perhaps if there is some super blunder that cost me a lot of money we can talk about it, but for these cases I'll just consider it as part of the training.

Both in the case of 7002 and 7007 I wrote the vetting job hours because I did vet, in spite of the fact that 7002 was exported from Transit and in the case of 7007 no word count was asked. Briefly, if I vet something (actual project) I should write in the no. of vetting hours in this Accounting.xls file (of course I write it and everything else that needs to be written in my personal accounting file as well). Panasonic project is not a real one yet, so I guess the vetting time for it should be written only in my personal accounting file as vetting, but incorporated in general labour work. Once it becomes real, we have order no., etc and include it into Project Management/&Vetting scheme.

I have created a new system and called this order number 00L7002, where the 00 at the beginning keeps it at the beginning of my accounting, and the L stands for Labour, as in labour costs which are not part of a project. The leading 7, as with normal projects, symbolises 2007. That way the costs stay in my accounting and it make it easier for when I pay people. So you can add that item, with just your vetting hours only, and we'll turn it into like an order. If Panasonic sends me some work, I'll create a new order and keep this one as a labour expense. Will need to do this anyway for all the languages I want to test. Will get expensive, but it has to be done. Will do so gradually reflecting on what work comes in.

I am still working on my own accounting file for January, so I can send it to you tomorrow evening, hope it is not too late. 3. Work coordination In a way I am happy that I made the mistake in the 7007 project. Of course the only reason for that is the fact that things were quite messed up in my head regarding how exactly things flow when we work on translating/proofreading/vetting at the same time. Now is clear what should be done, when and how in this situation. And yes, in the case of Panasonic vetting I have the files, so the final outcome will not be in any way influenced by the mistake I made in 7007.

All you need to do is think logically, as the situation can change with each project. It all depends on how fast things need to be done, and how fast the translator will get it back etc. As soon as two people work on the same file at the same time, then the only alternative becomes that one of the files will be chosen as the working file, and the changes made to the other file must be manually made to the working file, once the other person is done with it. I believe there is a tool in Word's Revision tool where you can merge changes, but I do not trust it. Especially if some of the changes concern major formatting changes. But it might be worth looking into at some point. Otherwise, the best approach is to decide in advance which will become the working file. Sometimes a proofreader might only make a few minor changes. If we expect this to be the case, then the vettor's file can become the working file. You have to know which option will require the least amount of work later. Maybe you can give yourself an interesting C project to colour up your work some time, spend about 15 minutes on it, and learn something about the Merge Documents feature in Word. I think both documents must be subjected to Revision changes for the Merge feature to work. But if a vetted file will not be the working file, it does not make sense to make many formatting changes, which you will have to do all over again. Or even worse, not even remember what changes you made. So while vetting in such cases, it is better to just put comments in < brackets so you know what you have to do, and then do it quickly to the working file once it has been handed to you, like a baton.

4. SMTP Responding here to save your and my time Unfortunately, Pegasus settings (in Tools-Internet Options-my email address rw1@kenax.cz is written right from the very beginning) cannot override SMTP settings of Gmail sort (which need secure authentication and as a result gmail pops up as sender). Double-checked, Runbox is on free-30-day-trial basis, I have already made a Task in Outlook to notify me 1 day before the 30-day deadline to make the necessary changes. On time spent with SMTP, I am going to incorporate it in Pegasus setting up and less hours than actually spent, I think it is correct this way

Well, I'm very excited that I figured out how to get this done with Desknow. The good thing about this is that I will be able to check your emails sent out through Desknow's SMTP, so eventually you will not have to send me a BCC and I can just check occasionally to make sure you are responding to the translators in a way I like. Different steps of quality control is always a good thing to have in an organisation. Now we just need to get the spam thing under control and Desknow will be up and running perfectly as I had it before the database system on the server got corrupted. And today for work I will try to get the communication scripts up and running finally, so that we can begin testing that out. I'm quite excited about that and it will give you the opportunity to communicate directly with translators. Then I will start focusing on the server to give you access to it. That will be a hard nut to get working.


I have been updated part of my profile onto your website but I have a request. As we are an agency, just like you are, I would really appreciate to have, as we have done, the opportunity to mention we can do all European languages into most European, Asian and African languages. If it is not possible, I'll go to your website from time to time to fill it in... If you have a little time, please register onto our website, X and fill in your profile. We will get back to you for our own projects ;-)

I'll get my project manager to fill in your form. In the meantime, I created my form below on purpose so that agencies can easily put in all their language combinations. Unfortunately only one set price at the moment, but some basic orientative minimum price is sufficient. When I search for people, I search the language combinations first, and see all the records matching.


Dear Karel There seems to be some kind of bizarre time delay between my sending and your receiving emails and vice versa. From now on I shall insert the date/time manually at the beginning of each email so that there are no misunderstandings. I am at this email address during office hours (Mon-Fri 08h45-16h45 UK time) I am at X after 17h30 UK time. Just to avoid further misunderstanding. Did you receive yesterday evening's email regarding the repetitions file? To recap, I said I would send it back to you this evening (Friday) and need 3 days from when you send me the project to return the two new documents available on your site, translated. I will however not start anything else until we have agreed a firm delivery date.

like I said, the sooner the better, but quality is more important. The customer did not set a deadline but just wants it done faster than last time. I will be going offline in about half an hour.


If today my responses are 1-2 hours late it is because I am trying to run some spam filter tests, haven't been very lucky so far but still looking and testing. Report later in the evening. So, concerning the translating agencies, you want me to look for them just as I did with companies and fill in their forms? Or you have certain agencies (and a list with them maybe) that you have approached in the past and those do not need be approached again? Do you want email addresses as well or only filling in forms? Then, I know you do not have an exact address now or phone but country + city is most often than not a must in these online forms. Shall it be Czech Republic, Prague? The main problem with these MUST fields regarding country and city is that one cannot really fill in some unrealistic info as the respective fields are pre-defined and not open to basically whatever info I want to fill in.

let's wait with approaching the agencies until I get the Chinese ready. Then I'll blast off to the Chinese and we can try agencies for a while, at which point I'll give you detailed instructions.

Okay, I just prepared the communication script (let us call it the project site - PS) and am excited to finally start testing it. I have given you an aliase Project Manager, and everyone who has an account in the PS system will be able to write to you asking for tech help etc. I sent you a few messages, but the Russian server is on a blacklist, so the emails would tend to go into everyone's spamboxes. Please check your spam and put emails coming from X on your whitelist.

I have assigned you to a project Test Project, and I'd like you to manage it, communicating with the translators kenax1 and kenax2 to make sure they deliver the translation, after which make sure the proofreader proofreads it. Let's treat it as a real project so we can practice and work out any potential bugs. It's been years and I'm happy to finally start using this system.

You will find a weblink to the site through download.kenax.cz.

Now I will drive to Antalya to see if I can get my mobile working again. Without which I'm forced to go to internet cafes, which will hamper business if a project will ever come in (which I can only check by email).


As I could see, 3 projects with exactly the same details were posted by the same agency on Jan.29 Of course it gave me errors when tried to follow the link from your email, so I had to log on to Aquarius.net with my own data and here is what I got: "Economy class project - Eastern European translators Posted by: Eurolingo Translations No reviews yet. Posted: 29-Jan-2007 14:32 Project viewed: 29 times Language pairs: English (All variants)-Estonian Expertise: No special expertise Description: We are curently looking for translators in the following languages, Czech, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Slovenian " I do not know if you have worked with Eurolingo in the past, but I almost did as a translator, then they needed Eng > RO translator, but their budget was no more than 0.03 USD/source word. Then after I submitted samples, etc, they rejected me (of course as a translator you never like that and it was particularly strange because I had to submit a telecommunications sample and if I am very good at something, then that is such texts as I worked in the field and gave both ENG and RO support). A day after their rejection I saw an ad that they are looking for online Romanian translators with fixed hours and salary for exactly the same job and as I made some calculations, they wanted to pay something like 30% of they would have had to pay if the texts were translated with charge of 0.03 USD. So, just a little feedback of my experience with them Of course, if you want me to quote on one or all of these projects please tell me unit rate, project rate and well at MotivationI can come up with something if you do not want something really specific.

okay, don't approach them. I don't need basement bargain customers like that. Looks like I'll have to take a ferry to Cyprus to get my phone working. The drama adventure continues.


This does not usually happen to me, but I am a bit confused on where these messages get, I suppose in X, but can't see any neither in Desknow nor in Pegasus. The X was added to my whitelist. I followed the Project Communication link from your Instructions that you sent me right at the beginning, I guess the link is (on download.kenax.cz, the X respectively does not have link to this system) : X the problem is that RW1 username and Alexandra1H password do not work, is there another password/username I should use? I tried both the spelling above and small letters, even Project Manager username, but in all cases, the server seems to be checking something, then it only displays "Done" without logging me in or giving me some info that my username/password/anything would be incorrect/incomplete/anything.

the system is sort of hooked up to the application form, so your username and password should be the same as that, which should be alexandra.hutton, nature, if I am not mistaken. The emails get sent as you have your application form set up, but I can override that and change everything to something else if you like. So perhaps check your gmail spambox.


First, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that this email actually got in my spam box in gmail, the kind of spam which is not even transferred to my email client to the Junk Box. It is the first time this ever happened since we are in touch and I double-checked and you are in my whitelist. Maybe the effects of the mobile problem.

it has nothing to do with my mobile problem, but perhaps the internet cafe from where I sent it. But I use Desknow as an smtp server, so I would assume the internet cafe could not affect it. I do not know why. Am I on your whitelist? For the new PS system, I might start using it rather soon, especially considering my mobile problems and the fact that I only have internet through the cafes at the moment. Lets continue testing it and hopefully be up and running soon. But the Panasonic vetting is AA, true.


okay, just to give you something to play with when you get the time and incling, I created some more accounts for you in the PS system, your login information being the following:

alex1       nature     translator
alex2       nature     proofreader
alex3       nature     vettor
alex4       nature     project manager

So there will now be two project managers on the Test project.

The people assigned to this project are:

and their user relations (who is allowed to communicate with whom) is:

This is the way the script automatically assigns communication rights. I can change any of them just by pressing on a Y, for example, which turns it into an N. Normally translators cannot communicate with one another, but if I choose a lead translator, I can change it. Or I can just assign the lead translator the role as a proofreader, which will make this automatic.

Anyway, I haven't used this system yet either, so I am learning myself.

Perhaps you could test it in the following way (vetting of Panasonic is still AA, and should be completed by Monday morningish):

- practice different people uploading files and see who gets an email notification
- practice communicating between people, and erasing the messages later (I have a script which can download all the communication of a project, so I'd like to confirm that it downloads the communication which was erased by the individual users)

And I guess based on the experimentation find new ideas for the programmer. Already I think the automatic email notification should be a bit more informative, such as who uploaded the file.


I apologize for asking you for this payment, but there was a PayPal advertisement with text that it works. I couldn't have known that it simply wouldn't work and I'll never ask you for Internet payment in the future. You could just stop and write me. Yes, no agency would ever think of doing this. Perhaps they'll give me some Paypal account or simply write to me that it's risky. Again, I appreciate for helping me with this.

no problem. I feel like we have become friends over the years, so I did it for that reason as well. PayPal is an okay way to pay, so I can continue to buy books for you if I will not have to navigate some migraine bureaucratic websites. No agency can give you a PayPal account. It is difficult to get a PayPal account. But Moneybookers is good. If I start to get a lot of work I'd like to encourage everyone who can to set one up.


It is good these latest German translation files are tracked ones so I can recognize the changes comparing to what I have already finalized. Could you tell me please when are the Chinese files expected? So I can finally vet them and send them to you by tomorrow morning. I thought maybe they could be coming during the night too, if this is the case, if is after midnight, could you please send me a sms notifying me? Well this of course if your mobile permits it, I do not know in what state it is exactly. Anyway, I am worried about this Chinese, I would hate if we could not make it until tomorrow for reasons independent from us.

will let you know. In the meantime, you can vet the Chinese to look for missing text and plan what to do, so that it would go faster once the Chinese is in. For Revisions, I think the RW instructions mentions about the Comparing Documents tool. But both documents must be stripped of Revisions (Accept All Changes). Then you simply Compare the documents and you get the changes result as if the proofreader turned on the Revisions Tracking before commencing. Although this comparison approach does have the occasional bug, especially with tables and complex graphics.


I got your email just now. It is 6 pm in our time. Therefore, I cannot finish the proofreading job by today. You know, this is the first time for our cooperation, so I have to be careful since I have had many bad experiences before. I really do not know to ask for a PO will bring you so much trouble and will make you unhappy. In fact you can just send me back confirmation email. Very sorry for delaying but I hope you can understand that. Really hope you can win the bidding!

I understand your pensiveness, but it is really an unnecessary delay, and you cannot possibly wish to achieve anything with a PO from where you are located. So now I will have to wait another day. All other languages are completed and I am waiting only for the Chinese. Can you confirm that you will have it done by our tomorrow morning? I already sent you an email asking you to do it, so that should be considered a legally binding contract (international law). It is from my email to yours, and I am addressing you. Otherwise, dragging things through court, even within the same country, is a major headache. I've been screwed many times in the past, which is one of the reasons I have an excellent reputation among my translators. I have paid everyone for their translation work, unless they produced shoddy work justifying a reduction. Please focus on quality and confirm if you can complete by tomorrow morning.


Hi Karel! How are you? Thank you for your prompt reply. I am indeed very much interested to be part of your team as one of your Project Manager. I am a multitasking person. I love interacting with people. I enjoy helping out wherever and whenever my assistance is needed. Please find attached the autoresponse Excel file (FAQ) I created. Through my observation, I was able to gather these several questions and answers from the string of emails in your Wordpad file. Of course, there are more questions and answers that needs to be in the autoresponse Excel file. I believe I still need to touch up and improvise it. Please do consider my application as one of your Project Manager. The job specification of answering emails, preparing files for the translators to download or operating complex translation software and doing some accounting work sounds like my cup of tea.

wow, what a perfect response. Let me briefly tell you my present situation. Right now I am starting my first major marketing campaign, and am already training a girl from Rumania. So I do not have enough work to go around for two at the moment, but you can read about the work I want to hand to others below, and I thought you might be interested in helping me find translators. I do not have a large budget for this yet, but once I get a bit of work I'll quickly take the profits and funnel it this direction. Below is a general explanation of what I need a project manager to do. I also need someone on your time zone, and am presently bidding on all of Panasonic's work. So if that succeeds the work could start coming in quickly. Aside from the project management (PM) work, you might be interested in helping me find translators, which is a bit complicated, but seems like a challenge you might enjoy. All that information you will find attached. I can pay you for your time reading all this information, and then let us see how we continue from there.


still haven't had a chance to answer fully to your accounting file, so am answering to it quickly and briefly now. It's too darn cold to work with comfort in the truck, so am not getting much offline time. Have my batteries with me and will try working tonight in front of a fire I found at one restaurant. Hopefully the locals wont want to talk to me too much, so see I'll  how that goes. Otherwise, should be in Cyprus within a few days (checked the weather report), so hopefully will find the time soon to do a lot of offline work.

For your accounting, the figure is pretty high for me. My realistic guess is that, at the moment, I can only afford not much more than a hundred bucks for last month. You might consider earning 500 dollars a month or less, if you do not want my debt to you to grow too fast. Otherwise, I think you are pretty efficient, so the time you spend over that amount should yield good fruits. Especially the email collecting.

If this situation is acceptable to you (hopefully the work will start rolling in soon so that I can pay you in full quickly), I have another job you can do to colour up your variety. It is:

X

Turns out our latest customer is talking about 8 languages total. I still have to calculate all my profits and situation. The problem is that some of the translators who worked on the large Panasonic translation sample will want payment sooner than later, so I must talk to all of them and find out my financial balance. Of the 8 languages, I do not have Japanese translators tested yet, and I just approached more than 800, so we can expect a lot of questions. If you want, you can answer them. Or I will. If you'd like to practice answering emails, I'll start forwarding you to them. I do not expect all 800 to write emails, but maybe around a hundred.


You will receive a quotation form by our system. Please just click "reply" button of your mail system and type "Confirmed" to reply the quotation without deleting any content of the quotation. Maybe you will think it is bureaucratic, but however it is easy. Moreover, since it was restricted by our system, I have to receive your reply before I can send you back the proofread documents. Sorry for inconvenience. Thank you for your cooperation!

this I can handle no problem. My PO system isn't so nice and automatic. One of the things I wanted to develop for my translators is some sort of automatic online PO generated system, for those who feel they need it. But once I have someone's signature, or even without it, I believe anyone can generate their own PO on behalf of someone else. Anyway, this confirmation is no problem, and at some point in the future I hope to have an automatic one.


I just found your advert on the "&#220;bersetzer Web-de" net in which you are seeking English native speakers to translate from German into English. As you can see, I am currently working at a legal office in Frankfurt (have been doing so for nearly six years) Previously, I taught English (free-lancing) at Nestle, Honda, Level One and at various other companies and, also at Schools i.e. "Institut f&#252;r Weiterbildung". I joined the law office to gain some extensive knowledge in legal language jargon and structures. I have translated Due Diligence Reports, Technical Reports, Notarial Deeds, mostly in Real Estate Law, but also in Tax, Finance. I am contemplating to change - to working on a free-lance basis from home again. If I sound interesting enough to you, please contact me on

what website above did you find this ad on? I cannot read your characters. I do not have a lot of work in this language combination at the moment, so I cannot promise you anything, but things can always change. Please send a 100 word sample of some juicy marketing portion of the attached file, so that I can see your marketing English. And inform me your price per word in USD.

 

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