Hi, Paula! Thank you very much for accepting to share some of your stories as Vendor Manager. We hope this interview to be useful and valuable, especially for translators.
- First of all, I will ask you to tell us a little bit more about what it means to be Vendor Manager.
To be a Vendor Manager in Swiss Solutions means, briefly, to make sure that all your Project Managers colleagues have a peace of mind because they know that, no matter the requests of the clients (strange linguistic combinations, high volumes, emergencies etc.), they have access to the right translator or interpreter and properly qualified.
It’s a very nice challenge!
I am saying this because it’s not all about to have a functional resource data base. For me, the interest is not only for the project to be completed properly, but also what I can do for the experience of this project to positively influence the future activity. More than just having the necessary number of translators, it makes a different to trust these people, to build a relationship, to help them develop with every project done for us, to openly communicate, regardless of the situation, as a team.
So, behind any translator who did a simple translation there is a Vendor Manager who: recruited him/her, negotiated, wrote tens of emails and phone calls, thought about what solutions there are, so that this collaboration is beneficial for both parties, how can this translator win the trust of the Project Managers and the other way around, what projects fit him/her, what to do if certain projects are not a fit, updates, renegotiations, discussions on what lead to the success or the failure of a project, solutions and again solutions.
Most of the people I know, when they learn what my job is, they ask “you work with people all day long, it’s not difficult, it’s not annoying, aren’t you tired by so many people with so many problems?” My answer is: I love people, they are those who, at the end of a working day, make me more powerful, more confident, wealthier from a professional and personal point of view.
- What was the toughest negotiation with a translator? And why?
In October 2016, we were discussing with a potential collaborator for German, one of the most problematic languages at a national level in translations. The translator was asking a rate much too high than what we could have offered him in order to collaborate.
I kept talking about this in the office with my colleagues, telling them how there is this special person, with a great experience and that I would really like to collaborate with him. I had doubts I could get a rate with about 10 Lei lower than what he wanted. And this is how my colleague, Dobra came up with the Dobra challenge, named in her honour, promising that if I can manage to get the rate wanted, she will bring me a stone from a mountain during her next holiday.
I think it was a surprise for Dobra as well, but I manage to get the 10 Lei less and the famous rock on which it’s written “2016 negotiator”, taken from the peak of the mountain by Dobra’s husband. J
This is a negotiation I will always remember because not only I got the rate I wanted, but I realized what it means to be surrounded by people who know how to inspire you. I am very happy because in Swiss I am surrounded by such colleagues.
- What are the satisfactions of this role?
- The greatest satisfaction I have is that, every day, when I leave the Swiss family to get back to my family, I think of what I positively influenced today and every day I discover something else. So, if people see me smile like a crazy person on the street, this is why! That is why I am smiling.
- Phrases that come from my colleagues make my day: “the client has been very happy with that translator“, “this translators is another Messiah“, “I like this translator so much that I stress him / her out every day with projects, that he / she can no longer stand me”, “I have a very good new translator” etc.
- The phrases that make my day better coming from the translators: “you have the best Project Managers“, “the beauty and charm of this collaboration is that you’re so cool that you make me forget all about difficult, challenging projects”, “I cannot say not to your colleague, Mihnea, because he’s just so sweet“, “the project was very hard and tiring, but I really loved it” etc.
- What is the ”ugly” part of this profession?
As you know, people have the tendency to see the empty side of the glass, to complain, to get nervous, to blame. More than 50% of this job means to find solutions at delicate situations which are for many a source of stress, but for me are a source of positive energy.
I think that any problem can be solved, what’s important is to be objective, to communicate and to smile. The colleagues actually ask me “don’t you every get nervous?” No, because it doesn’t help me, it doesn’t help you, it really doesn’t help anybody. Therefore, if you had to see a difficult day at Swiss Solutions, imagine I would be the person always smiling in the middle of all.
To answer the question, from my point of view, there is no ugly side, but only challenges during which I always try to see the positive side and to think how this challenge can help me become better.
- What are 3 top tips you would offer translators in Romania?
There are many and I am not shy in communicating them as many times as needed.
- To efficiently and openly communicate with the persons they collaborate because, above all, what is important is to work efficiently, with pleasure and side by side with people who support you.
- To be more open to the technical solutions specific to this field, solutions meant to improve and make more efficient not only the translation process, but also the quality of the translations.
- To love this profession. We collaborate with over 1000 Romanian translators and we constantly communicate with them, and I realize that there are huge differences between those who do it for the money because it’s their pleasure and those who are in just for the money.
- What have you learned during the 4 years spent in Swiss Solutions?
There would be a lot to say here. What is sure is that Paula of 2014 is no longer the Paula of 2018. My colleague, Elena, always says that she is the sum of all the people she interacts with on a daily basis, colleagues, clients and translators. I think the same. I have discovered that I like people, I like to listen to them, I like to walk in their shoes and wonder what I would do differently, I like to see them motivated and fulfilled. It would be correct to say that I have grown from every point of view and I am very happy of who I am at this moment, but I still have a lot to work on in the future.