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Project Managers in 2013: The Jugglers Who Keep Translation Projects on Track
BOSTON – June 2013 -- Project managers (PMs) represent a large segment of individuals working in the translation and localization industry. Common Sense Advisory estimates that the number of project managers working at language service providers (LSPs) reached nearly 82,000 in 2012. The day-to-day tasks of PMs in 2013 are vastly different from what they were even just 10 years ago.

Technology advances have redefined the tools and, as a result, the project process has evolved with inventions such as desktop publishing tools, the internet, FTP, translation memory, machine translation, translation management systems (TMSes), and the cloud.

To capture the role of a translation PMs in 2013, Common Sense Advisory conducted a survey of several hundred PMs from 182 LSPs in 52 countries. The results of the survey are detailed in two reports and subsequent briefs.

The reports and briefs provide several key findings, analysis, and takeaways, including:
  • Nearly three-quarters (73%) of respondents routinely act as the main contact point for existing clients, and close to a third (32%) always do so for prospects.
  • Close to a quarter of respondents (23%) frequently or always are in charge of upselling existing accounts.
  • Three-quarters of respondents (75%) calculate pricing for quotes.
  • Only 14% of respondents always negotiate special rates with vendors, and 19% do so frequently.
  • Half of the respondents (50%) frequently or always process basic file types in translation memory tools.
  • Nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents report that they are generalists, handling either any kind of project or more than three specialty areas.
  • Seventy-one percent of respondents regularly work more than 40 hours a week. Sixty percent of them work up to 10 hours more, while 11% chronically accrue overtime – their weeks range from 50 to more than 80 hours.
The firm also provided several checklists, definitions, and takeaways for LSP executive teams, including:
  • Typical project manager responsibilities and workload issues, as well as the role of project management specialties
  • Typology of project managers, a method to evaluate a company’s project management needs, and solutions to make the project managers’ job more manageable
  • Five-step analysis to assess an LSP’s PM requirements
  • Detailed data by title for 44 tasks project managers were asked to evaluate
  • Detailed job satisfaction results based on a variety of criteria
  • An approach to eliminate sources of dissatisfaction and increase satisfaction
  • A method to recognize and prevent employee burnout
Comments lead analyst on the report and Director of Common Sense Advisory’s Industry Providers Service, Hélène Pielmeier, “Clients choose language service providers over freelancers because of the added value they bring. Project management is the core of that added value. This report will help LSPs to identify clear differentiators and optimize their operation to meet the needs of their clients.”

The Responsibilities of Project Managers,” “The Life of Project Managers,” and “Translation Production Models” are part of the firm’s research membership. For more information, visit http://www.commonsenseadvisory.com.

About Common Sense Advisory
Common Sense Advisory, Inc. is an independent research and analysis firm specializing in the on- and offline operations driving business globalization, internationalization, localization, translation, and interpretation. Its research, consulting, and training help organizations improve the quality of their global business operations. For more information, visit: www.commonsenseadvisory.com  or http://www.twitter.com/CSA_Research.
Submitted On: 6/28/2013

Common Sense Advisory research and analysts are frequently cited in the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Fortune Magazine, Inc Magazine, and BusinessWeek.
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