My Education: BA, Japanese Studies, Bucknell University
My Prior Experience: I worked in international operations at a large online service provider and then as a project manager at a localization company.
My Company: I work for a company that provides software translations, help and documentation to a variety of clients.
Job/Career Overview: As a Project Manager, my job is to see a project through from start to finish. This involves getting the files from the client and having our technical team analyze them. The next phase is to create a quote and get client approval. After that, I have to line up our resources, making sure that we use qualified translators for the job. Our technical team preps the files and I send them to the translators, along with all relevant project instructions. I monitor the translators' progress and make sure that questions are answered by the client so the team can do the best job possible. Depending on the file type, we may have to do document formatting work (or engineering work if the files are software). I act as the liaison between the client and the translators, and try to help the project stay on schedule as well as on budget. I also issue purchase orders to translators and follow up to ensure they are paid in a timely manner.
I rate this career 8 out of 10.
The best part of my job is its flexibility. I get to work from home, which is great for me since I have two young children. I also get to work with people from all over the world, which is something I enjoy. The worst part of the job is the high pressure deadlines. We often have clients who expect it faster, for less money. You cannot always predict when or what size projects will come, and while sometimes things are slow, they can just as quickly become very busy.
Study and speak a second a language. It's an invaluable tool to understand the translation business and gain insight into the structure of another language. Live abroad as much as possible. It gives you perspective on another culture and the ability to get along with people whose backgrounds are much different than your own. Get experience using a translation tool, such as Trados, as it's commonplace in the industry and most translators need to know how to use it.