Translator’s email tip: how to make your project manager love you

Dear translators of the world, you might seriously want to consider setting you out-of-office email for the hours when you are not working.

About a month ago, at 4.50pm on a Friday, I landed an urgent translation project that had to be turned around by Monday morning. It was just one sentence, but it had to be translated into 38 languages. And the world was just going into the Easter weekend, meaning that most of translators would be based in countries where Monday (and in some cases, Tuesday as well) would be a day off.

In addition to the challenge of starting a project on a Friday evening…

Now, I could search my database of translators, send out a bunch of emails and hope for the best – that on Monday, all 38 translators would have diligently responded and I just needed to compile the translations into one file and deliver them. (I could not email multiple translators per language, because then I might have ended up paying several times for the same translation.)

However, I had to assume that many translators would not necessarily check their email and respond during the weekend. And not hearing back during the weekend could mean that either they were going to checking their emails on Mondays, or maybe not.

There were some translators I felt really, really grateful for.

The people who responded by the time I checked my email on Saturday morning and either accepted the job or actually delivered the translations.

My second favorite group of translators?

The people who set up their email autoresponders.

This meant that I knew, within seconds, that I could strike them off my list and keep looking for resources. And I was really grateful to them for setting up very clear expectations about their availability. And I actually remembered their names, and because of their professionalism in communications, I would want to work with them again (when it’s not over the Easter weekend!)

Delivering accurate translation on time = very valuable.

Communication and setting up right expectations = priceless.

Do you use your out-of-office email often? What are your tips for effective email communication?

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