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Meet our Team (VII). Isabel Guijarro, Project Manager

In this interview, we want to introduce you to Isabel Guijarro, one of our Project Managers in Spain, who got experience in other localization companies before joining our team.

IsabelWhat is your origin?

I am from a small village in Málaga, La Cala del Moral

What did you study?

I studied a “Degree in Translation and Interpretation ” at University of Malaga. I also did the first year of PhD in Malaga and then I moved to Madrid and studied a MBA in Software Localization in University of Paris, in Madrid.

Did you always want to become a PM or did it happen be coincidence?

Since very early during my studies I decided that I would prefer to coordinate better than to translate.

How long have you been working for Jensen Localization?

Almost 5 years

Did you start working for Jensen Localization right after finishing school or did you gain experience from other jobs?

I had other jobs. I worked in videogames localization in Dublin and then in Madrid for several years. Always in the videogames industry.

What are the pros and cons about being a PM?

For me, the pros are that you are daily in touch with many people, from all over the world, and that you can change of task every now and then. It is challenging to manage many projects at the same time and remember every detail from all of them. Specially at the beginning, it is a challenging job.

The cons can be exactly the same things when things are not doing good J. It is not easy to be in the middle of a Chinese PM and a Norwegian translator, for example. They both have their own way of working and you need to match both. Being in the middle of different cultures (and adding my own) is challenging.

What tasks do you usually do?

I receive requests from clients, cast resources (based on their experience, price and availability), organize schedules, tools and procedures for each project and control the process.  

What do you do in your spare time? Any hobbies?

I like reading, writing, watching movies, practising sports, hiking, but most of all, being outdoors and travelling.

How many languages do you know?

I have studied English, French and Italian but I don’t practice French and Italian and I am not fluent anymore. I am now studying French again.

What is the most important element to you when working with new clients?

I think that the most important is to make them feel that you have everything under control and they can trust your work.

What advice would you give a new PM working in the same business as you?

I am not good in advices J

Being a PM how important is it to work in teams and communicate with other staff members?

It is very important to work as a team and constantly communicate with all members of the company since we wouldn’t be able to do our work without the support of each single department.

Do you communicate with the staff from the other JL departments?

We always try to be as communicative as possible, but it is true that we are not always perfectly communicated. We are all immerse in our routines and sometimes we don’t find the time to communicate with others.

Do you think machine translation will ever replace JL’s services?

Yes, I even think that, in a long future, machines will replace all kind of person’s jobs.

What types of projects do you prefer working with?

Multilingual big projects with many people involved and requiring a lot of planning and attention. Challenging projects.

We hope you keep coping with challenges at Jensen Localization, Isabel! In our next interview, you will feel we are repeating an interview, but you will meet a person we are sure you have not met before. Keep tuned!

Meet our team (VI). Ferdinand Sloof, Accountant

In this post, we decided to leave the Translation department for a while and talk to Ferdinand Sloof, the person in charge of the administration. His job is crucial for the day-to-day operations of the company, and it’s a complex task, since he is in charge of the administration of both the Dutch and the Spanish branches.

What is your origin?

I was born in a small village in the province of Utrecht, Kamerik (Holland)

What did you study?

Industrial Economics

Why did you decide to move to Spain?

Ever since I was a teenager and had the opportunity to travel, I just knew that I would live abroad some day. Holland is a lovely country, but the climate makes you live indoors most time of the year, unlike here in Andalucía. That blue sky over her is a gift, and allows me to enjoy life more than I did back in Holland.

What are your main tasks?

Bookkeeping and invoicing. It may sound boring to most of you, but with our business partners located all over the world, I regard my job as quite satisfactory and interesting.   

What are the pros and cons of your job?

Really can´t think of any particular pros and cons. For example, arguing with the Spanish Tax Authorities is not something I enjoy a lot, but it is part of the job I guess.

Working with authorities in both countries, do you see many differences between each of them?

Social Security and Hacienda are two different entities in Spain, in Holland they are united in one entity. Apart from that, there is not much difference, also due to the overall European regulations.

What do you do in your spare time? Any hobbies?

Cycling with my daughter, gardening, hiking, camping, classic vehicles, motorcycle racing.

What do you think are the most difficult challenges Jensen Localization will face in the next years?

Business is extremely tough these days, the profit margins are minimized. We will have to be very alert to new developments in our industry, renewing our skills, keep on working very hard and try to be better than our competitors in the market.

Meet our Team (V). Femke Jepkema, Project Manager

In this interview, we are going to learn more about one of our PMs in the Dutch branch, Femke Jepkema.

Femke JepkemaWhat is your origin, Femke?

I was born in a city in the province of Friesland in the Netherlands. We moved to a small village where I spent most of my youth. After Middle School, I moved to Groningen to study at the University.

What did you study?

I first studied English Language and Culture. After finishing that, I did the follow-up study for becoming an English teacher – the Pre-Higher Education Teaching Certificate in English.

Did you always want to become a PM or did it happen be coincidence?

I always wanted to be a translator. I applied at Jensen Localization for the function of translator, but there was no vacancy at that time. There was a vacancy for PM though, so I applied for that instead and got the job. It has been great working as a PM.

How long have you been working for Jensen Localization?

I have been working for Jensen Localization for 4 years now.

Did you start working for Jensen Localization right after finishing school or did you gain experience from other jobs?

I first worked as a teacher for 1 year after getting my teacher certificate. After that, I started working at Jensen Localization.

What are the pros and cons about being a PM?

The pros are:

  • Variety of different tasks and challenges
  • Problem solving is involved (which I like a lot)
  • Working with people

The cons are:

  • Contact with people (clients and translators) are only by mail and only sometimes by phone (so there is contact but you always have to guess what someone looks like, how they are in person, etc.).
  • Sometimes the job is a bit stressful, as it sometimes gets really busy and you have a lot of projects to schedule and find resources for.

What tasks do you usually do?

  • Downloading/saving the files that we receive from clients for projects
  • Finding suitable and available translators/reviewers for the projects
  • Scheduling the projects in our calendar
  • Receiving deliveries for the day and preparing those to deliver to the clients
  • Communication with clients and translators about projects (scheduling, problem solving, etc.)

What do you do in your spare time? Any hobbies?

I enjoy watching movies (you should see my DVD collection… it’s huge), playing computer games, reading, and drawing/painting.

How many languages do you know?

I know English and Dutch (reading and writing), German a bit (reading and writing), Frisian (only reading), and I am learning to read Danish, Norwegian and Swedish more and more each day (I cannot actually read and understand it fully, but I do recognize and learn new words each day because of my job).

What is the most important element to you when working with new clients?

Making sure that the client gets the best possible quality.

What advice would you give a new PM working in the same business as you?

Get to know the translation tools yourself, as this will help you with problem solving whenever clients, translators, or you yourself run into problems. Also keep your schedule and mailbox orderly, as you need to have a clear overview for yourself of when you have deliveries, and of what still needs to be done, followed up, started, etc.

Being a PM, how important is it to work in teams and communicate with other staff members?

It depends on what kind of projects you manage and how they have been divided amongst all PMs. If you have your own set of accounts and projects, you do not have to have extensive contact with the other PMs. You of course contact them for advice and help, or just for fun, but it is not essential to be in elaborate communication with them. If you share accounts with another PM, you communicate more about who will take care of what.

You always have contact with the IT department and financial department for questions related to those areas.

Do you communicate with the staff from other departments at Jensen Localization?

Yes, we communicate via Skype when we have questions or just want to talk, and sometimes we call when it’s more urgent.

Do you think machine translation will ever replace Jensen Localization services?

No. So far, the machine translation is still at a stage where it is not of good quality. There will have to be a lot of changes for it to ever reach good quality, but still, it can never be as good as a human translation of course. A machine can never detect certain nuances or differences in meaning. As translating is very fun and a source of income for many, I hope machines will never replace it of course.

What types of projects do you prefer working with?

I prefer working on projects that have extensive translation tools and instructions. I particularly like the aspect of solving problems with tools, and as I’m a bit of a perfectionist, I enjoy reading extensive instructions and checking if they have been followed.

This is Femke Jepkema, the one who will always win at Trivial Pursuit if the questions are related to cinema! In our next interview, we will meet one of the guys at Jensen Localization. Yes, there are boys in our team, too :).

Meet our Team (IV). Jenny Bos, Translator

In this interview, we go back to our office in The Netherlands to learn more about one of our in-house translators, Jenny Bos.

Jenny BosWhat did you study to become?

I studied English Language and Culture in Groningen, and specifically English linguistics, at the University of Groningen.

How many languages do you know and what languages do you translate from and to?

I know about five languages (some more than others), but I mainly translate from English into Dutch. The standard rule for translating is to translate into your own native language, since that is the language you’re most fluent in, and I guess English source texts are most frequently offered for translation, at least for us at Jensen Localization. 

What tasks do you usually do?

I mainly translate texts, but I also review and edit translations done by others. Besides that, I do some related tasks such as translation memory editing or text formatting.

How different is it working as an in-house translator as oppose to freelance translators?

As in in-house translator I do not get to ‘choose’ which kinds of jobs I do, I basically have to take on all the jobs that the project managers offer me. Perhaps a freelance translator has a little more influence on which projects they like and want to accept, and which they would rather not do. But on the other hand I get to do more major projects that have highest priority, since the project managers maybe know better what my specific qualities are. And they know where to find me in case I did a bad job on a translation. 🙂

What are the pros and cons about working in the translation industry?

What I personally find a pro is that we get to know about new products first. For example, I have been working on the Dutch translation for a smartphone (I cannot mention the brand name due to confidentiality reasons) for a couple of years now, and I am very exited I get to learn about new features of that device as one of the first people in the world. A big con for me would be that people may not always understand the importance of a good translation, and they may not understand why I do this work, or why I even like it. Also, I do worry about the new trend of using more machine translations, replacing the work done by actual translators. I am not sure machine translations result in the same quality as manual translations, and it feels like people do not appreciate the work translators do and its importance.

Being a translator, do you tend to notice translations and mistakes when you don’t work?

Definitely. I like going to the cinema to watch a movie (which in The Netherlands have subtitles), and I do notice incorrect translations straight away. I kind of hate myself for this, since it means I cannot just sit and enjoy a film without getting distracted by mistakes or ‘awkward’ translations. The same really goes for reading a book. Once I have noticed it has been translated too literally or too awkwardly I find it difficult to keep reading.

What do you do in your spare time? Any hobbies?

As I mentioned I really like going to the movies, and I watch a lot of television series (Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, etc.) or listen to music. I also like riding my bicycle or going for a run, just to be outside and enjoy the fresh air.

What advice would you give new translators just out of school?

I would mostly advise them to try to get lots of experience translating within the actual business. I did take some translation classes in university, but I found working in a translation company is quite different. I do not as much spend days or even weeks on end just translating one book or text, as we did in class, but rather do many different types of translations each day. On one day I may work on multiple different subjects, ranging from marketing to a technical manual for a medical device to a legal text, etc.

Would you like to become a project manager? What would the pros and cons be?

I actually started my career in the translation business working as a project manager for about two years. But I found it was not really my cup of tea, and I much more enjoy doing the actual translating. I really like getting my head around a difficult text and trying to solve the puzzle of finding a nice, fluent translation, much more so than juggling with emails from clients and translators.

Do you think machine translation will ever replace JL’s services?

I do not think machine translations will ever replace the work done by translators and I think a human translator/reviewer will always be needed. I think machine translations may be good for generic texts where you have many similar, repetitive sentences, but for example for marketing texts you will always need a manual translation for a more custom tailored translation. And I’d like to think a manual translation will still always result in the best quality.

If you couldn’t become a translator, what would you have wanted to become?

I always wanted to be a meteorologist actually, working on weather data or even studying subjects such as global warming. But then I chose to study English instead, because I was afraid the physics and mathematics would be too hard.

 What types of translations do you prefer working with?

I like the really challenging texts best of all. I did a rather challenging text on dental implants a while back, for instance, and that needed a lot of investigation on the different procedures involved in creating the implants. I was a lot of work and it got really frustrating at times, but it was also really fun to do. Besides that, I also like projects where I am involved in the entire process, starting off working on a new product and then updating and fine-tuning the translations all the way to the end. I have been working for a while now on the translations for smartphones software, and that was especially fun since I got to really start from scratch rather than updating an existing translation.

What kind of translation do you like to work with the least?

As an in-house translator we also get to do small updates of a few words on an existing translation. So for example a product manual has already been translated before, but now that product has a new feature and we just need to add two or three sentences to that manual. And doing reviews is not really much fun.

What is the funniest/craziest translation you have ever worked with?

The most fun translation for me was that of a game where you have to shoot zombies. Since of course we had to really get to know the product to be able to get the highest quality translation, we had to play that game a lot. 🙂

Keep reading our blog to stay updated about our staff, the translation and localization industry and other language related subjects.

Meet our Staff (III). Cristina Romero, Project Manager at our Spanish branch

This interview is the third in our series of interviews with Jensen Localization staff members. Here you will get a closer look into our Project Manager Cristina Romero’s background and daily tasks at JL in the Spanish office.

CristinaWhat is your origin?

I was born in the Canaries, specifically in Gran Canaria island.

What did you study?

I studied Translation and Interpreting in the Canaries and then I did a Master on Translation for the Publishing World in Malaga.

Did you always want to become a PM or did it happen be coincidence?

I had always dreamt about being a vet J. I even studied science at high school, but it turned out I was good at languages and my English teacher encouraged me to attend a test at the University of Translation when I was 18. I decided to give it a try and finally declined Veterinary to start my degree in Translation and Interpreting.

How long have you been working for Jensen Localization?

2 years

Did you start working for JL right after finishing school or did you gain experience from other jobs?

I first worked at a Translation/Interpreting company in Dublin for a year (as an interpreter and then as a PM), then moved back to Spain where I worked as a language coordinator/online teacher and finally I landed in Jensen.

What are the pros and cons about being a PM?

On one hand, being a PM is an exciting job, you never have time to stop, there is always something to do, it´s nice to speak English with clients and translators, there is always a new challenge when a new project comes in. On the other hand, it´s sometimes frustrating not to be able to satisfy all clients and even receive bad feedback on your job when you´ve done everything in your hand to make it work. Sometimes we find clients and translators who are difficult to deal with.

What tasks do you usually do?

Deal with clients, negotiate deadlines, deal with translator´s queries, prepare the files for translators, assist them when they need it, prepare the files back for the client, make sure the system is updated with projects information…

What do you do in your spare time? Any hobbies?

I go to the gym, attend dancing lessons, read. I love going to the cinema, to the beach, eat out with friends.

How many languages do you know?

Spanish (mother tongue), English, French and Italian.

What is the most important element to you when working with new clients?

When working with clients we have to be quick, effective and polite. We have to be proactive, offer our best solutions, negotiate and be diplomatic.

What advice would you give a new PM working in the same business as you?

I would recommend him/her to learn how to manage time effectively, and also to handle stress. I would recommend to deal with clients in a diplomatic way, never taking things personally. I would recommend his/her to do his/her best within the available time.

Being a PM how important is it to work in teams and communicate with other staff members?

It´s very important to work in teams, we have a lot to learn from the other PMs. Communication between PMs is basic to offer a good service to the client. We all need to be on the same page as we are working for common clients and with a common objective.

Do you communicate with the staff from the other JL department?

Yes, we talk almost daily.

Do you think machine translation will ever replace JL’s services?

I think machine translation will grow up, but it´s hard for me to believe it will replace our services as machines lack context, which is a basic for translation.

What types of projects do you prefer working with?

My ideal project would imply an interesting task within the marketing field with a good deadline, but as ideal projects don´t exist, I am just happy to work with any project allowing me to deliver quality in time.

Despite being the last one to join the PM team, Cristina’s experience has enabled her to get used to our procedures quickly. In our next interview we will talk with one of our in-house translators.