Team communication

Team communication is one of the most time-consuming tasks for project managers and one that can lead to the most errors. It generally relies on many different channels that are not necessarily designed for efficient group communication. 

Smartcat makes it very easy for project managers to communicate with the various team members and for team members to communicate with each other and improve productivity and efficiency. What are the topics generally discussed between team members and how are they improved with Smartcat?

1. Progress updates. Project managers need to get in contact with project participants to get progress updates on a regular basis. They need this information to keep customers informed and also to make sure that projects are on track to meet promised deadlines. 

Smartcat reduces greatly the need for this type of communication. As shown in the article about the workspace, progress down to the document level is tracked in real-time so there is no need for project managers to get in touch with project participants to get updates. The only scenario could be if not progress is shown over a certain period in which case the project manager would need to take action. But the real-time tracking also allows the project manager to react more quickly to issues as opposed to having to collect the information manually.

2.  Instructions. Project managers will generally pass on instructions at the beginning of the project for the entire team. The challenge is to make sure that these instructions are accessible to the entire team at any moment. On a typical project, the PM might send the files to be translated along with instructions in an email. But that information is not centralized, forcing the linguist team to go back and find the email to clarify potential issues. 

With Smartcat, project managers can add instructions at the document level in the comment section:

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These instructions are permanent and easily accessible by the team at any moment. In addition, when working with multilingual projects, Smartcat will replicate any comments automatically to all languages. No need to worry that one language team has not received the instructions. The language team can also query the project manager regarding these instructions and receive answers in real-time, distributed among the entire team. 

3. Queries. From time to time, linguists might have questions related to a specific segment where the project manager needs to communicate with the client to obtain an answer. These types of queries can be time-consuming as the PM needs to communicate the information to the entire team generally via email with detailed information about the context. This can also lead to errors and missed information.

Just like instructions can be shared at the document level, queries can be posted at the segment level:

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Comments to segments are also automatically replicated to the same segment in other languages. This means that once the PM has answered the query for one language, every team member for every language will be updated at the same time. 

This Comments to segment feature can also be used for communication between team members. For example, editors and translators can communicate in real time, improving the productivity of both team members. Editors can be proactive with terminology use and translators can get fast language answers.

4. Private conversations. It is sometimes necessary for the project manager to communicate directly with one team member. Typically, the PM will either email, call or chat with the contact in a chat app such as WhatsApp. The downside to some of these methods is that there might not be a permanent record of the conversation (phone) or it is not easy to connect conversations with translation work in progress - email and chat.

Smartcat offers a solution to these problems. Once a team member has been added to a project team, a Start chat button will be added to the Team tab of the project page, next to the team member information:

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By clicking on the Start chat button, the PM will be taken to the Smartcat chat page where he/she can communicate in real-time with the team member. The information is recorded permanently so there is a limited risk of miscommunication. 

The chat page can also be used by other team members to communicate with each other privately. It can be accessed from the main left workspace menu or from the top right corner of the editor:

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In any of these cases, Smartcat makes team communication much easier and with fewer risks of errors or miscommunication.