Meet the team: Universally Speaking’s Marcela Wray
There’s more to running a successful Quality Assurance and Localisation business than the testing and translating.
Excellent communication and project management is crucial, and Universally Speaking boasts one of the best in senior project manager Marcela Wray.
Marcela is a long-serving member of the US team and has risen up through the ranks from project coordinator to the role she holds now. The latest in our Meet The Team series of interviews, we discuss how Marcela found her way to the company, and what it takes to be successful at what she does.
You have had an impressive career in localisation, working for the likes of Xerox and Lionbridge, before joining the team at Universally Speaking. What attracted you to the world of localisation?
It was a friend’s recommendation. Although I wasn’t looking for a job in localisation – at the time, I actually had no idea what localisation was – my friend contacted me regarding a position of project co-ordinator. During that period, I worked for an insurance company as customer services representative. The job was okay, but not particularly challenging enough and therefore I decided to give it a try. I had no idea what to expect. The job description really appealed to me so I applied for the job and went for interview. It was a great experience and I was lucky to get the job offered – even though it meant that I had to make some additional purchases, such as buying a car so I can commute to work.
I was a complete novice to this environment and the first few months were quite difficult, but the team was great and very helpful and I just knew that it was the best decision I have ever made.
What does a typical day look like for you?
The daily madness! There are lots of aspects to my role: Communication with clients, including quotes creation and scheduling. Files processing, such as pre-processing and post-processing. Tasks outsourcing, so that’s communication with translators and ensuring all information is shared. And then finance, which involves project tracking, quotes generating and uploading, profit report creating, tracking and so on.
What has been your career highlights?
I started as a project coordinator, then worked as a terminologist, then became project manager before being promoted to programme manager/senior project manager.
I have never been a careerist but I have enjoyed the job since I entered the world of localisation. I am a person who needs to understand everything about the job, so I have always asked loads of questions – probably too many. But this helped me greatly in progression upwards in my career. I have helped engineers with processing files to get a better understanding of that side of things, I have sat with translators to understand what’s important for them, and lots more. It’s just a great satisfaction to see that your job is appreciated and recognised. My previous managers appreciated my support and helped me to progress and I have always been a team player. It just makes me happy to see that people come to you and trust you and feel able to ask for your help. I enjoy working in this environment as you come across different cultures and get to work with people from different parts of the world, which means that you just learn something new every day.
What are the biggest challenges about what you do?
Probably if there is a lack of knowledge about some of the new clients, and therefore finding a solution and coming to agreements can be a challenge at times. I also have to work with some very demanding clients and ensure they remain satisfied.
Do you play games, and if so, what sort?
I don’t really play core games – I prefer family games. I am a very family-orientated person, and my free time means baking, cooking, babysitting. And if I do get more time, than I do a bit of walking our dogs and crocheting.
What advice would you give for someone trying to get into your sector?Enjoy the work. Be strong, patient and a team player. And above all, listen to others, whether that’s clients, translators or colleagues.