Finish Strong: Pace Yourself for Project Excellence

On July 4th, I joined over 60,000 other eager runners for Atlanta’s famous Peachtree Road Race 10K. In addition to the exhilaration I felt completing the run, I returned home with some valuable lessons on how my running partner and I might course correct our plan in the future.  Not the least of which: enlisting some help from a trusted friend to meet us at the finish line with a large towel, dry clothes, and a ride home!

As our new clients prepare to lace up their sneakers (or pumps or loafers, as the case may be) and hit the ground running on a language translation project, we offer this field advice:

  1. Preparation
  • Location: The geographies of your team members and clients influence project details. Consider different countries, cultures, and customs that might impact teamwork.
  • Timing: Are there holidays or other seasonal considerations that influence the time required for completion?
  • Team: Ask yourself whom you feel comfortable with in tackling this endeavor, whether you have worked with him/her/them before, as well as whether your team resides in your same time zone (if not, consider this when scheduling conference calls and meetings). What is the best way to communicate with your chosen team?
  • Gear Up: Whether running races or simply back and forth between strategy sessions, you want to be comfortable and on good footing while completing your work. Choose your clothing and shoes wisely.
  • Stay Fueled: feed the machine with plenty of water, healthy food, and snacks. (Make sure your teammates are doing the same. Bonus points for bringing in that team lunch).
  • Pace Yourself: Reach your goal by breaking down your project into manageable bite sizes, maintaining your energy and the project integrity. No one wants to burn out before the end.
  1. Navigating the Terrain of the Course

Any runner is accustomed to the signs warning “Caution: Road May be Uneven”. Over the course of your project, unexpected issues do arise, so it’s critical to handle them professionally and in a timely manner, while keeping your team’s spirits high. A motivated and engaged team is much more likely to adapt to dynamic deadlines and project requirements

Be sure that you exchange regular feedback and/or updates with team members: Effective and honest communication is key to success. And remember to keep yourself and your team fueled to avoid burnout.

  1. Hit the Wall? Stay the Course and Finish

We’ve all been there:  We get to a point where we think that we can no longer do it and are ready to give up. Keep these in mind:

  • Review your pace: moving too quickly will not allow for sustainability. Slow down if you have to, decrease your ‘bite size’ or daily goal as needed.
  • Hydrate and nourish: generous water intake and healthy snacks prevent tiredness and increase endurance. Take a big gulp of water now: I’ll wait.
  • Ask for help: can’t finish on your own? Enlist some help to reach your goal.
  • Adjust your time estimate for completion: If you’re about to sacrifice quality for earlier delivery, be proactive, speak up about your concerns, and agree on a new delivery terms. Partial deliveries might be an option.
  1. Completion

You can see the finish line at the horizon and sense that feeling of accomplishment already.

And finally you make it to your goal! You ‘high-five’ your team and celebrate, because all went according to plan and you were able to manage the unexpected with aplomb.

Across that finish line you discover a whole new audience. You have a perfectly fitting message for them that you relay effectively and convincingly.

  1. Follow-up Loop: AKA Post-Race Analysis

You finished the race, but it’s not over yet! What did you learn? What will you do differently next time? The follow-up or feed-back step is just as important as all that precedes.

Before archiving all our project records, we ask for:

  • Feedback from our customer: We check-in and ask how the delivered service is working for them and how they experienced cooperating with the project team.
  • Feedback from the project team: Which course strategies were a success and what could be improved upon?
  • Your own analysis: What were the most positive aspects of the project and what would you like to see done differently in the future?

 

This last step will allow you to assess what you learned during the course of your venture, and how to proceed with an even higher comfort level and ease the next time.

The Tell team is laced up, stretched out, and ready to run, ready to tackle your language translation project, no matter the country, language, or media format. We look forward to helping you solve your translation project challenges.