Terminologist or Terminology Project Manager?
One of the first questions I asked myself when I decided to look for training opportunities in terminology was “What does a terminologist do?” I wanted to know exactly what I was signing up for. The two sources that I found at the time are included in my section The Terminologist’s Job Description: One of them says terminologists are “specialists in compiling, describing, maintaining and propagation of monolingual and multilingual specialised vocabularies.” The other one describes them as “experts in formulating, describing, managing and distributing mono- and multi-lingual terminologies.”
But would a terminologist (or translator) be qualified to be a successful terminology project manager (TPM)? You do need to have at least some basic knowledge of the specialized area you will be working on to be a good project manager, but there is more to it than you might think. Many people think that you have to be an expert translator or terminologist to be a terminology project manager, but in most cases you just need to have a special mix of skills. Actually, some people say you even need to have a special type of personality to succeed as a project manager, which might be leaving some people out of the game before it starts!
You might not recall it but I had previously promised to talk about this subject before and created a section called “The how-to of Terminology Projects”. This is why in the following posts I would like to bring up this subject again and share some basic information that you should know if you ever decide to become a TPM. There are many aspects involved in PM such as defining goals, knowing your stakeholders, managing risks and conflicts, motivating people, knowing the project cycle, etc., and all of these topics (and more) are also part of being a TPM.
Obviously, I do not intend to prepare you to take up a new job as TPM, and just like the purpose of this blog, what I intend is to guide and provide information for beginners who are looking at this for the first time, and having some basic project management skills will come in handy in order to know exactly what you are signing up for. And if you want to be certified, you should look at my section Training and sign up for TermNet’s courses (which also include some basic information on PM) and other training opportunities. And, of course, there are lots of free courses on PM available online which I will be also sharing as we go along.
In the meantime, take a quick look at this two and a half minute cartoon on project management to get an idea of what’s to come ahead.