Technology isn't everything (but it helps)

Soft skills of translation teams: Technology is not everything (but it helps)

Discover how translation technology can alleviate the pressures of time consuming, repetitive work and give you time to focus on the much more valuable 'human' value of being a translation professional.

These are challenging times. Times where technology plays an increasingly important role in our jobs and personal lives, helping us cope with our daily duties.

Nevertheless, following the sometimes harsh transition to digital life and remote work, most people in every industry — and the language industry is not an exception, regardless of how familiar we are with digital tools — are more aware than ever about the importance of keeping things human.

Developing and maintaining high-quality personal and professional bonds, becoming more understanding when facing issues of a technical or personal nature, as well as looking after the “caring side” of business are nowadays very relevant matters.

However, we must keep our businesses running and this inevitably entails very real pressures. Considering time, budget, and workforce constraints, we must find systems to help us relieve pressure from those aspects of our daily work, and that keep our minds and hands busy. Thus allowing us to focus on the more meaningful aspects that are likely to carry a more significant impact in our business and, I dare say, our overall mood and approach to work.

Technology to keep things human?

Does it sound contradictory? Think about it this way: the more time we spend on redundant, repeatable tasks, the less time we can spend on those activities where our unique human input can add real value to our business.

Now, focusing on the processes traditionally associated with the translation industry, there are several steps where project managers — and freelancers who handle everything single-handedly — are required to assess different scenarios and make decisions, whereas other steps can easily be executed in a rather mechanical fashion, thus ideally suited to automation.

This is exactly where translation technology steps in, by providing a wide array of solutions to take out of the equation such repetitive tasks and gain visibility and control over the translation project workflow.

Our project management strategy should be rolled out around five key soft skills, each of them providing specific value to our business: Communication, teamwork, time management, decision making, and a factor that is often forgotten but has a huge impact on the overall outcome - stress management.

None of these can be managed by technology alone; however, here’s a few tips on how automated solutions, such as RWS’s cloud platform for translation teams, Trados Live Team, along with several features in Trados Studio, can help you focus on developing better processes, building deeper relationships with team members, clients and providers, and ultimately sweeping away the stress induced by having just too many tasks ahead of us.

Soft Skills: The five pillars of project management

  • Communication: Creating automated project workflows with Trados Live Team workflow templates, auto assignments for recurrent projects, or even using a customer portal to streamline file management can provide project managers with valuable extra time that can be spent on troubleshooting issues with freelancers or clients, negotiating or improving instruction sets, just to name a few.
  • Teamwork: Trados Live Team allows PMs to see the progress of each team member in any project using the dashboard features. Translators and proofreaders can use the Online Editor to complete their tasks — or they can leverage the features of Trados Studio as usual! Using Studio packages (now fully compatible with Trados Live Team) also provides an efficient way to easily handle project resources and files.
  • Time Management: Do you wish days were longer? Well, technology cannot help you with that (yet), although using any of the numerous automations in Trados Live Team (workflows, templates, analysis and preparation of projects) or Studio (automatic tag placement, auto propagation or upLIFT match repair) will definitely help increase the time available to you during the day.
  • Decision Making: We tend to make not-so-good decisions when there is too much to handle. It is easier to keep things under control when we are in control, and the dashboards feature which can display information on volumes, language resources and assignments, allows project managers to make informed decisions about deadlines, workload distribution or troubleshooting procedures.
  • Stress Management: Stress is an ugly companion. A central repository of information, along with the right toolset working for us (and not against us!), helps relieve the stress that having multiple tasks ahead often generates and improve our overall efficiency. 

Conclusion: Technology alone does not cut it, but it helps

The number and complexity of the tasks we must face may be daunting. They may drive higher levels of stress which can lead to badly managed multitasking, and take away time from the more enjoyable activities, including talking with our colleagues or providing valuable feedback.

We are fully aware of how difficult finding time to do this can be, so leveraging technology and automations will help us be more efficient and ultimately improve our overall mood. This will allow us to spend quality time on more rewarding tasks.

To learn more about the available technology that can save you time, alleviate repetitive tasks and enhance your overall translation workflows, download the Trados Live Team product brief via the button below.