As people live and work in a more globalized landscape, the need to understand different languages has become more important than ever. The necessity for individuals and businesses to adapt to the dynamics of a multilingual society means a higher demand for translators and translation agencies.
While the influx of clients looking for language service providers is good news for translators and translation agencies profit-wise, some require help to effectively manage the demand. Thankfully, there are now virtual assistants who are experienced and skilled to take over some of your tasks.
Virtual Assistants: Who They Are and What Do They Do?
In general, a virtual assistant is someone who provides administrative services to clients — whether individuals or businesses — while working from a remote location. Virtual assistants are often self-employed contractors, but you can hire some through a virtual assistant agency.
Virtual assistants have provided different services for businesses and individuals for years, like WordPress, research, sales, social media, Instagram, blogging, and marketing. But as the virtual assistant industry continues to grow, it’s easy to find one with qualifications that match the needs of translators and translation agencies.
How Can a Virtual Assistant Help?
Working as a translator or running a translation agency requires time. But when too many things are on your plate, you probably won’t have enough time to do them all. Or, in some cases, be able to complete different tasks but sacrifice quality.
You can do more with less time if you have a virtual assistant. Hiring one allows you to offload the following tasks to them:
Provide Customer Support
Imagine this: you’re in the middle of translating a document when someone emails inquiring about your services. And because you don’t want them to wait and have a negative impression of your business, you end up replying within minutes and leaving your translation project. This situation causes frustration, especially if you easily get distracted. You’ll likely end up having to re-read a lot of the document, just to continue translating. Task switching like this is a known productivity issue.
Instead of juggling your time and energy between different roles, let a virtual assistant help. They can provide customer support using different mediums, like emails, calls, and even face-to-face interactions, so you can focus on translating your clients’ documents.
Preparing Files or Projects
Several factors affect the time needed to complete translation projects. But in general, complex subject matter and lengthy projects require more time — sometimes a couple of days.
Working with a virtual assistant minimizes translation time as they can prepare the project before you work on it. For example, they can recreate a PDF file into a word document, so it can be processed through a CAT or computer-generated translation tool.
A CAT tool turns texts into translatable segments and organizes these segments of texts, so you can translate the entire document easier and faster. It also reduces any chances of errors as it saves the translated segments along with the source phrase
According to Statista, over 50,000 interpreters and translators were employed in the US alone. This number will continue to increase through the years at a faster pace as the business landscape embraces globalization.
With the number of translators and translation agencies offering services today, it’s crucial to create and implement robust marketing campaigns. These allow your business to stand out, haul in more clients, and generate more income.
Marketing is another area a virtual assistant can help you with. They can create different written content, like press releases and blogs, in different languages and post them on social media. These can boost your site’s SEO rank, making your business more visible online.
Additionally, a virtual assistant can keep your business’s social media pages active by posting regularly, sharing user-generated content, and answering queries left by online users.
Handle Complicated Projects
Translators and translation agencies need to satisfy their clients to keep the business afloat. However, they’ll have difficulties achieving that goal if they can’t handle complicated projects.
Having a virtual assistant mitigates this problem. They can work as a project manager who can manage timelines and the schedule for translation projects and as well as double-check the quality of the translation. They can also be your client’s main contact and answer their queries, as you continue to translate projects with zero distractions.
With a virtual assistant being a project manager, your business runs smoothly and projects are delivered to clients according to plan.
Complete Administrative Tasks
Administrative tasks are time-consuming but necessary for businesses. Fortunately, a virtual assistant for translators and translation agencies can complete the administrative tasks listed below, so you don’t have to.
- Data manipulation: As a translator or translation agency, you need data to keep your business afloat. Data helps you make big business decisions minus the risks. When it comes to data manipulation, your virtual assistant can do data analysis, spreadsheet data entry, database management, CRM data management, and even invoice creation.
- Operations management: You can outsource tasks related to business operations to your virtual assistant. Experienced virtual assistants can handle project management, reservation scheduling, calendar management, staff scheduling (if your practice has several translators), and appointment setting. They can also do file and record management and conduct different types of business research.
- Business improvement: Virtual assistants can make crucial improvements to your business. Since they have first-hand experience working with different businesses, they can help create strategies for customer engagement, report generation, business communication, KPI generation and tracking, and data quality review. If your business regularly hires new staff, your virtual assistant can help train them.
The Basics of Hiring and Managing Virtual Assistants
Working with a virtual assistant can make your life easier as you provide translation services to clients, but only if you start on the right foot. Sure, virtual assistants are equipped for the job, but you need to follow certain steps for you to make the most out of their services.
List the Tasks You Want to Delegate
Determine the tasks you want to outsource to your virtual assistant. Ideally, these should be low-value tasks that don’t make the best use of your time, even if you love doing them.
For instance, you might love engaging with clients by answering their questions through email or phone. Although this task is essential, it becomes repetitive in the long run (as clients ask the same questions) and prevents you from completing core business activities.
It’s best if you let your virtual assistant take over this task, so you’ll have more time and energy to accomplish bigger responsibilities.
Prepare a Job Description
Craft a job description for your virtual assistant before they start working. The document should list all of the tasks they’re expected to comply with as they work with you. Make sure to include a specific salary range and their exact job title.
Additionally, your virtual assistant’s job description should contain a non-disclosure agreement. Your clients likely asked you to sign one, so it’s crucial that your virtual assistant signs one, too. Indicate the requirements and obligations of the parties (clients and the VA), exclusions of the confidentiality agreement, and consequences of breach of the non-disclosure agreement.
When creating an NDA for your virtual assistant, consult an attorney first. The information presented in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice, so it’s best to see an attorney to avoid any legal repercussions in the future.
Shortlist and Evaluate Applicants
Take the time to review all the applications you received — whether it’s from an online platform like Onlinejobs.ph or traditional mediums, like job fairs — and ask the right interview questions. These help you weed out applicants and determine which ones fit your business needs.
When interviewing applicants, refrain from asking about their experience and skills only. Inquire about their professional goals, how they can be an asset to language service providers, and how they like their work to be managed.
Conduct a Trial Run
After choosing a virtual assistant to help you in your role as a translator or as you run a translation agency, start them off with a trial period. This could last for as small as one task or range from one, two, or even three months. The timespan often depends on the number and difficulty of tasks you give them.
A trial run helps you assess whether the virtual assistant can walk the walk and if they’re truly a perfect fit for your business.
Clearly State Expectations
State expectations early to ensure things work out well with your virtual assistant. Let them know what you need, your expected turnaround time, the frequency of progress updates, and more.
If possible, provide a step-by-step guide on how to complete certain tasks. This way, your virtual assistant learns faster, and you won’t have to spend too much time training them.
Partner With a Virtual Assistant Today
It’s common for translators and language service providers to think they can do everything by themselves. However, this can only lead to burnout and poor quality of services. How can you provide the best translation services to clients if you have to juggle your time between countless tasks?
This is why virtual assistants are a big help. With a virtual assistant, you’ll have someone to accomplish mundane, repetitive tasks on your behalf while you focus on activities that have a bigger impact on your business and clients.
Need additional information on virtual assistants? These articles might come in handy:
- Virtual Assistants for Research: A Practical Guide
- Boosting Your Sales with a Virtual Assistant
- Tools and Techniques for Effective Virtual Assistant Management
Once you’re ready to hire your multilingual virtual assistant, visit Onlinejobs.ph and search for your preferred language!