Freelance PMs?
Thread poster: Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:00
English to Polish
+ ...
Jul 11, 2013

I've heard about such a curious profession as 'freelance PM'. Not an agency, not a 'freelancer and outsourcer', but a freelance PM. Naturally, I have ideas of how that'd work (anything from translator's agent to client's project handler, probably closer to a real middleman than to a reseller), but I'm curious if anybody has worked with one or has been one, and what you think about it. Indulge me?


Gül Kaya  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:00
Turkish to English
+ ...
freelance everything Jul 11, 2013

I think you can take any profession and add "freelance" in front of it and hey presto. Even doctors do it but in their case they're called locums.

I've never worked with a freelance PM but then maybe I have and not known it. I suspect that translators wanting to branch out as outsourcers might employ someone on an ad hoc basis to help them get a handle on a new way (for them) of doing business. Dipping your toes in the world of outsourcing, clients' demands, organising payments etc might require a fair bit of hand holding.


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:00
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Most often beyond translation Jul 11, 2013

PM stands for Project Manager. Quite often it involves assigning a translation job to a translator, and to a proofreader thereafter. Sometimes it's just an employee (or the owner) in a translation agency who manages a simple assignment to a translator.

When the project goes beyond translation, depending on the deal with the client or translation agency, the freelance translator has to do project management as well.

I often go beyond translation, especially when it involves video, something that unfortunately too few translation agency PMs know anything about.

One case where I did most - but not all - of the work is described at .

Another one was more complex, and while I did many of the steps it involved, if I couldn't do them, it would be normal for me to outsource these.

I received (from a translation agency), all in English:
  • one final training video, showing the host's talking head, and PPT slides going on and off-screen on the proper moments,
  • the PPT presentation
  • the same video, "clean", i.e. only the host, without the slides.

My assignment was to deliver them two DVDs, one in Portuguese, another in Spanish, with the correspondingly translated PPT slides fading in and out at proper times.

In the simplified sequence of events below, I've used the following codes:
(I) - It would be expected from me to do it, as an EN-PT translator, not a PM
(O) - Though I did it myself in this project, it would be normal for me to outsource it, PM'ing
(-) - I outsourced it

(I) Translating both video for dubbing and PPT into PT
(-) Translating both video for dubbing and PPT into ES
(-) Dubbing video in PT at studio 'A'
(-) Dubbing video in ES at studio 'B'
(O) Assembling the dubbed audio tracks onto the video, together with editing the PPT screens, applying fades and dissolves.*
(O) Generating the two complete videos in PT and ES
(O) Cutting the videos at the right spots for stopping, and authoring the two interactive DVDs.

*The actual screen of the "assembly" to generate both videos for this project, one at a time (of course!) by muting each other's tracks, may be seen on this page.

It's obvious that not all video translation projects are so complex, but they will require PM'ing if the freelancer covers beyond translation. So far, I only worked for one translation agency that could handle all the peripheral video work. All others just dump their entire video projects on me.

Some translation projects involving DTP may also involve PM'ing by the translator, however there are many translation agencies around who are DTP-savvy.


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