According to a recent posting in the Global Watchtower (a blog by translation industry research firm Common Sense Advisory), many language companies are struggling to find qualified candidates to fill open positions despite the high unemployment numbers. One position that companies are having difficulty staffing is that of project manager. This is not surprising, given the eclectic skill set required of language project managers: understanding of translation, understanding of cultures, knowledge of one or more languages, excellent command of one’s native tongue and, of course, all the knowledge, skills, tools and techniques used by successful project managers – the ability to communicate well, understanding of project management processes and frameworks, and so on.
But it is not enough for employees to have the right set of skills. As American humorist Will Rogers aptly pointed out, “even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” Here at ALT, we take these words to heart. Yes, all our project managers have a Master’s in translation; yes, they all speak more than one language and have lived and traveled extensively outside of their native country; yes, they understand, know and use project management tools, techniques, and so forth. However, we did not realize how many opportunities for learning can be created without taking classes or attending seminars by simply pooling and sharing the knowledge that we have amassed collectively, until we started regular workshops that focus on both cross-functional and function-specific topics. This year, for example, we are tackling a series of advanced topics based on the Fourth edition of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide).
Sometimes it is difficult or even impossible to find appropriate educational opportunities to improve employee skills and such opportunities, when they do exist, are often quite costly. Consequently, many companies decide not to offer ongoing training, or push it off into an indefinite future. However, this does not mean that employee learning cannot or should not continue.
The relative lack of pragmatic, affordable training in translation, localization and language project management is a case in point. ALT is taking the bull by the horns by developing and providing instructional materials and guides to our translation teams as part of our normal project team development process and by offering educational seminars and webinars to our customers.
If you are a current or potential customer and there is a topic related to translation, language, localization, or culture about which you would like to know more, please let us know! It might be something that we will be talking about next month or next week, or something we can plan on discussing with your company.