LSPs, B2B, PMs & TMS: What language is this?

Intrigued already? Now let’s translate our headline into proper English…

When you dig into the Translation Industry, there are two types of companies:

One that operates and works with End-clients that are usually huge in numbers of employees, Social media engagement, website visits, and offices in every place in the world, and
Another that is on the other side of the same chain — a language company that works for language companies.

Both types of companies work in the same industry but this is where most of the common points between them end. Because even though the business is the same, the management, marketing, requirements, and systems to work with differ a lot. If a strategy is winning for companies that work with end-clients, it is not necessarily working for companies that work with other LSPs.

If we research a bit on the topics within the industry, it is highly possible to find out that one of the most discussed matter is Project Management. It is a topic so often chewed in blogs, industry websites, and others, but why do we bother to talk about this again?

Project Management for B2B is different

I was wondering exactly the same thing when I started doing my research on Project Management Trends for 2020 — why bother? But then I realized something while reading about AI and how we should choose the right Project Management software and that Customer service should be perfect and so on…

We are different! And this opens a whole different chapter in Project Management for the LSPs (Language Service Providers) who work with other LSPs. So I have chosen a TOP 5 of Trends for translation companies that work with translation companies and decide to tackle the Project Management issue in 2020 once again. I am not saying I am 100% right but I do believe it is the start of a discussion on the topic and especially when it comes to Asian languages and proper Project Management. Here we go:

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1. Know where to bend and where to stand

In other words, flexibility is the key when doing business with other companies in the translation industry. B2B sector is all about negotiations, so one should be wise and fit the market shifts. That goes for pricing, timetables, soft skills, and marketing.

2. No such thing as “one glove fits all”

Software diversity is one of the essentials for an LSP to work with many other LSPs. It is the leverage that can get you more and more work. Translation companies that work with end-clients can choose one and just go for it. But if you as a B2B company want to work with as many other companies as you can, that is another story. You need to fit every client’s expectations — meaning Project Managers need to be much more knowledgable. So working with more CAT tools and Project Management Systems will open your door to more potential clients.

3. Stirring the pot of different cultures working together

project management trends for 2020Most people will say that is a great opportunity and in general, it is a major perk to work in a multinational company like 1-StopAsia — located on 3 continents. You should, however, consider one thing — communication between cultures needs careful grooming. As well as lots of efforts on all sides. Cultural perceptions, understandings, hierarchy, management models — everything is different. All your Project Managers need outstanding skills in reading between the lines, considering and learning about other cultures, so such a team can function properly and perform at its best. This takes years to hone and the people who manage to do it are a valuable addition to your team.

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4. It is all about “Now!”

Availability is one thing you can’t deny your business partners, so when we say 24/5 we have to be there. That goes for all your Project Management systems and processes. We need to be open and ready to take a job, when a client needs it, as we all value our clients and partners. Another skill to add to Project Management requirements — all should be able to take the job and also to be team players. When one client wants to assign at 10 AM your time (CET for example) and deliver at 11 PM CET — that means someone else from your PM team will hand it over. All should still run smoothly, right?

5. Get Personal

Yes, our business is digital and we see each other at conferences and around the world but in this modern world we are still people and no machine can replace the human touch. A positive feeling or a smile combined with expert advice and good customer service will gain you much more than anything else. Soft skills are getting more and more essential in the industry and you can see this in the number of smaller events organized like gatherings of people from the industry for lunch or just small roundtables for discussions.

When Project Management trends for 2020 are concerned for B2B in the translation industry, AI is not completely relevant as we are going there anyway. That’s why we are not addressing the hot topic of Artificial Intelligence(AI) in this article. For LSPs working with other LSPs, the essentials in Project Management are much more different than for translation companies that work with End-Clients. It is the complex mixture of skills, business intuition, and teamwork that will keep you afloat, not only technology and that is the most fascinating about it all. I’d be curious to know what you think about the topic?

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