Tools for Communications on Translation Teams

by | Apr 10, 2019

There’s no doubt that today’s technology has made our world more interconnected than ever. Now, a team working on a translation project can have workers in every single continent! That makes for a pretty interesting dynamic. Over the course of a workday, you could hear about the weather from a colleague in Berlin, join in on a video conference with your teammates from four different time zones, work collaboratively on a translation (metaphorically) alongside a coworker in Seattle, and finish up chatting about the day’s successes and struggles with, well, whoever is still online! For sure, remote teams are one of the best successes of today’s world, but without robust communications tools, those remote teams could never function like a well-oiled machine.

Here at Wordbee, we understand that more than anyone. With worker bees scattered around the globe, we use a variety of tools — both in browser and app form — that enable us to bring together our different teams seamlessly. So here are the tools we’re using!

Wordbee Translator

When Google Docs first came out, they put out commercials showing people working at the same time to write and edit documents. That’s what Wordbee Translator is like, but for translation. If you ever wanted to translate in real time, we’ve got your back. This is especially useful when you want to have multiple translators going at the same time.

The solutions outlined here are basically separate from your CAT Tool, whereas Wordbee collaboration happens instantly in the CAT Tool, in the project management area, and also via email and (soon) chat. When you talk to people, it’s related to specific project, job, or even segment of a translation. In that way, you have structure and never miss anything in an email.

Also, your files are all in Wordbee. So you don’t have to attach them to a Trello card, or send them via email, or get them back via email. In fact, once you’re on Wordbee, you may never attach another file for translation again.

Trello

I’d never heard of Trello before working for Wordbee, and now I’ll never go back! Trello is a project management system that makes to-do lists across remote teams, dare I say, manageable. You can set up columns of different steps in a workflow, or different steps to a single project, or even different tasks for individual team members. And you can move the cards from one list to another, and even set notifications for yourself when things go in and out of certain lists. Trello has a mobile app and a web browser.

For teams that need to hack something together for communication, especially in-house teams or small teams that always work together, Trello might be what you are looking for.

My favorite thing about Trello is the activity details. If everyone is on board and using the app (which can be the most difficult part of selecting an app at all), you can see who did what and when. This is crucial when you need to fix a problem or check in on a project.

The biggest negative I see is the mobile app. I find it way less user-friendly than the web browser, and have on several occasions had to hold onto a thought until I got home because I couldn’t do it from my phone on the go. All told, this is a pretty small thing, but it still is a barrier.

Slack

If you work with a team in an office and haven’t heard about Slack, I’m very impressed. Slack is the system we currently use for our team communications. It lets you create different “channels,” or topics for communication, and you can even set up connections with different apps to send information about, say, webinars or newsletters to your whole team. Slack has a web browser, a desktop app, and a mobile app.

The interface is clean, and it’s highly customizable and user-friendly. But anyone who uses Slack with even a mid-sized team is aware of its biggest problem: With the free version, you can only see the last 10,000 messages that everyone has sent. You’d think that would take a long time, but it sneaks by in a flash. And the paid versions are expensive. For a team of 15 people, it costs $800 a year for the Standard plan, and $1500 a year for the Pro version. (The cost is per team member, so it escalates fast.) Yikes!

Skype

So many apps have enabled video tools for remote meetings, but Skype remains Number 1 in the game in my book. Although years ago you had to pay to have more than two people in a video chat, now you can have 16 people in a video call (32 if it’s just a voice call). Skype has a web browser, desktop app, and mobile app.

We love Skype because it’s dependable, everyone knows about it, and pretty much everyone is willing to use it. In a world full of shiny new apps, Skype cemented its mark long ago (even though its name sometimes seems in danger of genericide).

Honorable mentions

Zoom. We tried it prior to moving to Slack, and we hoped it would be easier than Skype. But it wasn’t easier than Skype.

Skype for Business. No, thank you. We already have Skype, so please tell us again why we have to click your Skype for Business link and install something on our computer? Also, it often fails on Macs!

Mattermost. Definitely check this one out. You have to host it yourself but honestly, it’s probably worth it.

Email. Just kidding.

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