Picture your average freelance translator. Let’s call this person Angelica. Most likely, Angelica works from home. She loves languages and is passionate about her work. Work has been thin on the ground lately, so Angelica is especially excited about getting stuck into a project that’s just landed on her desk. But that excitement doesn’t last… before long she finds herself groaning with frustration.
Barriers to effective communication
As part of her preparation, Angelica starts by browsing and getting to grips with the project resources and methods of communication. Turns out there’s rather a lot. There’s a Google sheet with some client-approved terminology and queries, plus Slack, email, and a project management platform which all provide various instructions and means of communication. Then there’s the CAT Tool with its translation memory and termbase suggestions, and a mountain of other resources, from style guides and preferred dictionaries to client termbases. And that’s before we even start talking about Angelica’s own favorite tools, like dictionaries, corpora, or similar texts in her target language. Each time she comes across a term she’s unsure of, there are eight different places for her to check.
Why is this a problem? For a start, jumping between all of these communication channels is incredibly time-consuming. Not only is it frustrating for the translator, but multiple communication methods also mean more room for error. If Angelica misses one piece of information and makes a mistake, which is replicated 20 times across the document, that’s more time for the proofreader or project manager to fix things. And with so many different sources, it’s no surprise that sometimes information conflicts, resulting in even more potential errors. It might not sound like much, but the extra time spent here and there can quickly add up, and before you know it, it will start affecting your company’s bottom line.
Another major problem with these different platforms is that most of them lack context. Say Angelica sends a query about a term or client style via Slack. Since the document to be translated isn’t right there next to the query, it will take the PM a little while to understand and respond. It’ll be their turn to flick between the CAT Tool, Slack, and various resources and webpages to answer it. Effective project management communication? We think not.
While this might be an extreme example, situations like this are not uncommon in the translation and localization industry. Having so many different ways to communicate can really be a barrier to effective communication. It’s a case of less is more.
Effective communication in project management
So, what’s the answer? How can businesses communicate more effectively, more efficiently, and make their vendors’ lives easier?
Moving away from multiple project management communication channels, towards one comprehensive technological solution is a good start. For example, with XTRF, vendors can see all the project details and resources, and access an industry-leading integrated CAT Tool all from one place: the Vendor Portal. They can also update their availability and send invoices from the same spot. Meanwhile, the Vendor Workload feature cleverly calculates vendors’ remaining capacity so your team doesn’t waste time sending out tons of job requests to vendors who already have their hands full.
Beyond the system itself, we also work with you to streamline your workflows. We help you think holistically about how you could do things better. So if you’re using umpteen methods of communication with your team, clients and/or vendors, you can be sure we’ll talk about that! We’ll share our recommendations, based on our own experience, and that of hundreds of clients, to help you work faster and smarter.
All of this is bound to make things much smoother for your team and for people like Angelica. But it doesn’t stop there. We’re always enhancing our system. In fact, we recently launched a brand new feature that offers an entirely new way of communicating – XTRF Chat.
XTRF Chat helps you communicate in context. The project-based chat rooms and conversations mean you have all the information you need at your fingertips – no more time-consuming changing between channels. You can access Chat through XTRF’s Home Portal, or through a web or mobile app, meaning you – and your vendors – can easily answer queries on the go. XTRF Chat also makes teamwork easier. The project-based chat rooms include all vendors, project managers, and coordinators so there’s no need for emails flying frantically to and fro or for the same question to be raised umpteen times.
It’s already taking effective project management communication to the next level for our clients.