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The Lessons of a New Account Manager

As a new entry into the translation industry, my first two months on the job as an Account Manager have taught me a whole new way of seeing translations– from the needs and expectations of different kinds of clients, to the innovative ways in which Project Managers coordinate a project among Translators, Editors, Proofreaders, and Desktop Publishers. Although I could write at length about the variety of new information that I’ve found myself submerged in, I will limit myself to just highlighting the basics of what I’ve found to be the most important aspects to keep in mind when speaking to Clients, making sure that expectations are clear, and that all details are correctly transmitted to the Production team.

Perhaps, the first aspect to mention which is not obvious – unless, of course, you work in or with the translation industry – is that not all clients are alike and that the differences between them are vast. While some are totally new to translations and would like to learn more about what the process is like, others know down to the very last detail exactly what they are looking for, what format to provide documents in, and how to go about the whole process. It is typically the latter sort – as one would expect, recurrent clients – that know exactly what kind of document to send and what kind of elaboration to expect from our end, which speeds things up considerably and may generally result in a more finely tailored finished product.

Why focus on this seemingly banal aspect first of all? The difference between sending the correct format versus a substitute document is paramount to the quoting process, from the perspective of the production team; from the point of view of the client, sending the most editable source file is a question of price: the less editable the document – say, for example, a scanned PDF – the higher the cost, in most cases. In such an instance, the best bet would be to send in a Microsoft Word document in plain text. This results in less time optimizing on the production side, and ultimately makes the price more affordable for the client.

Again, although this seems like a minor point, the time spent in sending non-editable files via e-mail back and forth could be earned. At any rate, as Account Managers we cannot expect all clients to know about our industry, and I am happy to explain what I have only recently learned to new clients who would like to do business with Trusted Translations.