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Telma Bauer: From a Project Manager Point of View

Hi everybody and happy belated International Translation Day! I think I congratulated my colleagues in all possible social networks, but I forgot to do it here, so I'm doing it now.

I also have a small announcement for you:  maybe you've seen my messages in social media or just noticed it by yourself, but my blog url has changed. It is now and this address is here to stay as long as I want it to :) I think it will be a pretty long time since I really like it that way.

Also, together with the website the RSS-feed address has changed, too. Those of you who subscribed via email are fine, you just automatically started to receive the new feed. But if you subscribed to my blog via an RSS feed reader, you need to subscribe again. My feed address is You can also choose any of the subscription options in the right hand panel (email, RSS, social networks). If you are using RSS aggregators like feedly you can just copy and paste the website url and it should add to your RSS reader just fine. That is if you still want to read my posts of course :) Sorry for the inconvenience, but I believe the change was really necessary.

So now let's get down to business :)
Today I would like you to meet Telma Bauer. Telma is 40 years old, she's married and has a wonderful baby girl who just turned 3! Telma lives in São Paulo, Brazil, with her husband, her four cats, one dog and some fish. Telma has studied Translation and Interpretation at College and she has two master’s degrees: one in English and another one in Translation and Interpretation. She is crazy about English, about Jane Austen and about books. You can connect with her personally on LinkedIn, or follow her company LinkedIn page, or like her company page on Facebook.

And now here's what Telma has to say about what she likes most about her work:

Olga asked me to take part on her specialization series even though I don’t work as a translator anymore. I used to work as a freelancer, but it was for a very short time and a long, long time ago. My specialty field was IT. I translated software material for a localization company. At that time, IT vocabulary, localization itself, was a brand new field, especially in Brazil. I asked Olga if I could write about what I liked most: talking to the clients and coordinating the translation projects and she said, why not? It would be very nice to have the opportunity to hear from a different perspective. She thought it would be interesting for other translators to see why I chose the work I am doing now. So here it goes:

It was 1990 and I had just finished High School. I was not sure about what course I would take in college. I thought about many career opportunities, about money, about choosing a career that would be profitable in every sense and so on… But I was not happy with those kinds of thoughts. Although making money, having some ambition is good, it is positive in some sense, on the other hand, by that time, I already knew I should choose a field  I would love and   which would make me happy spending so many years studying. Then, when I decided to improve my English I met my muse. She was my English teacher for many years and her passion for the English language was highly contagious. She inspired and motivated me. I was able to make up my mind then and I decided to take a Translation and Interpretation course.

Wânia, my dearest teacher and friend, together with another dear friend and former employer, Iara, were the two professionals of the area and translators who helped and supervised me along the elaboration of my monograph at the college I was studying at. My paper was about IT translation, IT vocabulary. I translated a Software User Guide. Wânia and Iara at that time were working for a localization company and by the time I graduated, I started working as a part time freelance translator for them. I was working as a secretary during the day and as a translator at night from my home. It was only in 2000 that they invited me to work with them in house. I did everything you can imagine but translate.  Since I was very communicative, extremely organized and I was used to talk to the clients in my former job, I was the right person to coordinate translation projects. I might say that I like to meet new people, specially translators, share with them news about the projects, the market, the craft and so on. I like to write, I like to translate, I like to spend long hours concentrated on reading, writing, but there is another me, the part that likes to be among people contacting  clients, translators, building up teams…

Translators are always complaining about short deadlines. How difficult it is to work under a lot of pressure and that the agencies and translation companies do not understand them. That is not true. In fact, they are taken into highly account. Well, for the project coordinators and for the project managers it is the same or even worse because besides the control of the whole production process, the schedules control, the deadlines pressure and stress, they also interact with clients. I've been working with translation projects for more than 13 years now. I’ve started building up the teams and coordinating everything from the beginning until the end taking into account the client, the kind of project, budget, deadline, and so on.Nowadays I am managing special clients accounts as well as all the marketing projects for the company. It is not easy to coordinate everything; it is not easy to put a framework like this together.  In order to do so you have to be:

  • Extremely detail-oriented, thorough, and able to work well under pressure and with tight deadlines;
  • Able to solve problems creatively, and to develop solutions to problems which are cost-effective and practical in a business context;
  • Able to develop and manage project budgets and negotiate with freelance contractors;
  • Able to interact with clients at the beginning and during the whole course of the project;
    Able to find creative ways to solve problems;
  • Extremely capable in using standard software packages such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint – yes, project managers have to learn how the tools work first and then train the translators and the whole team. Knowledge of the main CAT Tools is mandatory in this field.
I often say that the role of the project manager or the production team of a translation company is to make the life of the translators and proofreaders easy. Our job is to guarantee that translators, proofreaders and the whole language team will have to concern only about the quality of the text they are producing. Here at Just Traduções we say that the whole company work as an assembly line. Everyone plays an important part in this engine. We are the facilitators. We want our language team focusing only on what matters most: the translation itself.

Dear Telma, thank you for sharing your experience with us!


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