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