No translation agency can survive without their translators. They have a lot of pressure put on them to deliver on time and at high quality. It is thus very important to keep their motivation high so they treat your projects as a priority. Keeping in mind the 7 key points below will improve the way you work with your translators. So here are the tips to keep vendors happy, projects delivered on time at top quality and your customers satisfied:
PROVIDE QUALITY COMMUNICATION. Under pressure, effective communication is the key for a timely delivery. Any problems with information will only get worse as the amount of work grows. You expect up-to-date status information, invoices and availability updates from your vendors. In return, they should get clear instructions, quick answers to their questions and a single place to look for their projects. The way to achieve this leads to the next point.
PROVIDE STATE-OF-THE ART TOOLS. Navigating the complex translation industry world requires appropriate tools. For the best vendor performance, all should use Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) tools. These well-known industry tools manage term bases and translation memories. This guarantees high translation quality and minimal delivery times. But CATs are right at the end of the whole project supply chain. On top of that you need a tool for managing your project stages. This tool should also help coordinate deliveries to and from vendors and clients. It should manage the required paperwork and relieve you from handling the document flow by hand. Your vendors will prefer it too, as the single online go-to place for all project-related information. It will make a world of difference to the quality of their work compared to the usual flood of e-mails and spreadsheets.
GIVE FEEDBACK. Professional mastery is an important element in maintaining high motivation. That is why timely and relevant feedback from your customers is crucial to your vendors. With faster and larger projects, the distance between the translator and the end-client grows. Passing the feedback from the customers down the supply chain is key to keeping spirits high. It will help translators to avoid the sensation of being “just a cog in the machine”. Such feedback shows that their work is appreciated and provides them with the opportunity to improve their skills. Tracking feedbacks also becomes a valuable tool for you. Use them to optimize quality and make informed decisions when distributing work.
VALUE THEIR TIME AND EFFORT. Pre-selecting vendors for a quoted job is a key part of a translation project manager’s job. The pre-selection should consider the future workload without asking too many vendors about their availability. If most of your availability requests are not followed up with actual jobs, your queries will tend to go unnoticed in the future. So, send only as many queries as necessary to cover your projected needs. It shows that you respect your vendors’ time and will make your future queries much more noticeable.
RESPECT THEIR TIME OFF. Translation is usually a freelance job. In this line of work it is hard to maintain a proper work-life balance. If you keep up-to-date calendars for your vendors, you will not bother them during their time off. If you forget about it, they may still answer you but it puts a strain on your relationship. As mentioned above, having a single go-to place for keeping this information is crucial.
DO NOT OVERLOAD THEM. It is normal that the vendors that we work with the most gain more and more of our trust. They become our first choice. But each translator has some better and worse areas. Assigning jobs to the same vendors tends to disregard their specialization. This can impact quality, especially if the translator becomes overloaded. Also, in the long term, it can lead to burnout of your favorite translators and a deterioration in their performance. To maintain the best possible quality, translator specialization should determine the assignments.
GIVE NEWCOMERS A CHANCE TO PROVE THEMSELVES. In order not to overload your more trusted translators, you need to search deeper in your vendor database. You will need to look for hidden gems that did not yet have an opportunity to prove themselves. These newcomers will reward your trust with special attention given to your projects. This will help you with your deadlines and give you more flexibility with vendor assignments.
DO THE PAPERWORK YOURSELF AND PAY ON-TIME. Freelancers hate producing monthly invoices which contain calculations of the dozens of projects performed. You would get a lot of gratitude if you prepared the numbers for the jobs to be invoiced for each translator. And remember, when you pay them on time, you earn a lot of respect and become a trusted partner. For a translation company each vendor invoice is just one of many. For a translator each invoice is a huge part of their monthly income. Respect them and always pay on time.
When you make these key elements a priority your vendors will want to work with you. Not only due to the good relationship and trust built, but as a matter of convenience for them.
Your projects will be treated as a priority for the simple reason that the instructions are clear and on time. Proper tools make their work easier than other projects. Your projects will arrive on time and will not have a tendency to pile-up. These things will not go unnoticed by your vendors. They start to look forward to working with you. And that, in turn, will help you maintain deadlines and quality. So start using those guidelines. Become your vendors’ favorite project manager.