Be on Time, All the Time, Everywhere

by Letícia Barroso

Working with localization teams established on the grounds for which the final product is designated for is one of the very best ways to ensure quality and consistent translations. Local teams are not only more involved with the everyday use of the language, but they are more prone to absorb the linguistic and grammar changes that frequently occur.

That said, the relationship with remote linguistic teams, especially those located in different countries/continents, have some challenges that are overlooked by most. Amongst them, time difference is the one that might present the most difficult obstacles to overcome, such as overdues and cost increases.

It has always fascinated me to arrive at a place with multiple clocks in sync displaying time in different regions of world. It was much later when I began my career in localization, working on projects for companies in different locations, which it dawned on me the importance of having a good assessment of time. I relate time here not only in a management perspective – being able to manage time is an important aspect of any job, but time itself, as a variable that may (and often will) impact every day work life.

If you are relying on in-country linguistic teams to provide your final product whether working on large or small translation projects, you may face challenges regarding time differences.

There are a few things one can do to minimize the issues relative to time when working with multiple region teams:

1. Always be mindful of the linguistic team’s working hours

Knowing the working hours of your go-to team on a given time zone is a must for a flawless operation. If they are ahead in time, while you may not receive an answer immediately, you can receive it “first thing” in the morning because they will be working on it overnight from your perspective. If they are behind, you can expect the team to jump on a task right away. Same goes for weekend hours and holidays that may differ from each partner.

2. Develop a process to optimize your time difference concerns

Reading and replying communications from linguistic teams that are ahead in time in the beginning of the day may be a good way to ensure a swift response from them. When assigning documents, it is useful to do so in a cascade movement by first delivering to teams that can/might start the task right away, and afterwards to those who will only open it later on in the day. Always reiterate expected delivery hours and availability for calls and meetings to ensure an open communication channel. Last but not least, try to be open to improve and make changes to your processes to get the most out of time.

3. Create a time sheet for your projects

If you are working with linguistic teams around the world, as Interpro does, your efficiency would be improved if you proceed to create a schedule for each in-country team, per project. Make the necessary notes about working hours, daylight saving time starts and ends (especially for long projects), and make sure to always provide feedback and replies on a timely manner to prevent time lost. When estimating delivery dates to your clients, make sure to give yourself some time to wrap up things considering the different delivery requirements of your localization teams.

Time difference makes up asynchronous work relationships that may be extremely positive and fruitful if dealt with proper care and mindset. Clarity and transparency should be everyone’s main focus when dealing with this special kind of communication. To achieve that, make sure your linguistic team gets a clear and precise message and be open to their feedback. It is, and should be perceived as, a powerful and reliable measure of your interactions and time concern skills. Use it to improve your workflow. On your end, remember to be flexible and willing. There will be times that you’ll have to work late or early, have late lunches or early dinners, and that should be alright.

Hopefully, with these tips, you will see on the not so long haul, a better and more efficient interaction with your in-country localization teams that will make for an excellent professional partnership and lead for the ultimate client satisfaction. 

Letícia Barroso

Project Manager

"I enjoy working at Interpro not only because of its great environment, but also due to the endless learning opportunities provided on a day-to-day basis. The connections we make with our clients and the chance to explore new subject matters is just incredible. It really is great to be a part of this team that truly and deeply cares."