Work organisation – how not to do more than you need to?

The team members are ready and set to go, and our client just sent us the source material. It seems like there’s nothing left to do besides getting to work, is there? Not quite. There’s a lot to do, but not everyone can focus on the same task at once. A division of roles and tasks is necessary. How did we go about it?
The Project Manager, a.k.a PM (an honorable role once again taken on by our vice-president, Ewa Kulesza) is of course the most important in this regard, as she is the one almost completely responsible for the project. Managing the process of translation is the PM’s responsibility, as is dividing labour.
But before we go on to allocate tasks, we need to establish a means of communication with the rest of the team. Here we used Discord, Google Drive, Google Docs, Smartsheet and of course our Facebook group, where we put information regarding the subsequent steps of our work. Google’s utilities and Smartsheet were probably the most useful, because they allowed us to distribute files containing the source material to our team members and to create worksheets where every one of us could ask questions concerning the project to other team members, or even the client himself.
After distributing the files the time has come for dividing roles. Before anyone even started translating, we needed a few people whose job was to perform an initial inspection of the text in order to catch any terminology that might prove problematic for the translators, as well as such that constantly repeated itself and required standardisation. Invented names were especially important. After gathering these terms in the glossary and performing a basic translation (we need to remember that the meaning of a given word changes depending on the context, so corrections were made very often) it was time for text segmentation.
Here our PM decided on a straightforward approach. The entire text was divided automatically into relatively even parts (after all, you can’t slice through a text mid-sentence), and a list appeared in a document that was available to every member of the team. The translators could then put their names in the appropriate places, marking parts of the text they wanted to translate. What about those that didn’t manage to get their fair share? No worries, there were still two text revisions ahead of us and someone had to take care of that. This exact process was repeated, with the exception that, for obvious reasons, the person translating the text beforehand couldn’t take part in the revision of their own translation. In time various new tasks appeared (such as creating a style guide, which I described in the previous LocLog).
The organisation and division of work in a project involving numerous people is an incredibly important step that’s not to be taken lightly! Communication problems appear often even despite the best of efforts, but a good PM and an organised team allow us to keep them to a bare minimum.


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