Translator Develops Key Communication Skills in Project Management Program


- Ana Pazos

Term : May, 2013
Department : Business and Management
Program : Project and Program Management

When Ana Pazos, an experienced translator, moved from Venezuela to California, she was surprised at how often people would ask her to translate from English to Mexican Spanish. During her years at the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, and later as a legal assistant at Apple, Pazos understood the importance of localization—that is, providing an accurate and local translation for each project, i.e. differentiating American English from British or Australian English. After taking off time to have children, Pazos decided it was time to develop the management and leadership skills she’d need to transition to a new career, so she turned to UCSC Extension’s Project and Program Management Certificate program.

“I wanted to keep current and get an education while I was at home with my family,” she says. “Localization is about more than just translating material; it’s about modifying language to suit the culture, finding the right usage of words. I always wanted to change careers to become a localization project manager. That’s why I decided to enroll in this program in project management—the location was convenient, and it had a good reputation.”

Pazos’ first course was Leadership and Communication Skills.  

“Communication happens to be one of the biggest problems that teams face,” she says. “In class we learned ways to become a good leader; not just a good manager. We learned how to get respect from people on your team, even if you are not the leader. It is a key class for everyone, regardless of their level of social skills.”

She appreciated the way that her courses emphasized teamwork and soft skills while providing a strong foundation in technical skills such as project integration and risk management. In her Applied Project Management course, she was assigned to a team that she had to work with from beginning to end—which turned out to be good practice for the real world. She appreciated the expertise of her instructors.

“From what I’ve experienced, a lot of people who are project managers don’t have any formal education in that area,” Pazos says. “They might have a lot of technical knowledge, but they lack management or leadership skills. If, for example, we are told to design a new iPhone, and the focus is on creating the best product ever, someone might have all the technical skills necessary, but in the end we still have to get the team to work together.”

This approach to teamwork and leadership made a lot of sense to Pazos as a mother and a communications professional. She completed the Project and Program Management Certificate in December 2012 and plans to continue taking courses and expanding her skill set. Though her primary focus right now is her family, she hopes to work for a localization company or perhaps start her own company someday.

“All in all Extension has an excellent program,” she says. “It was very complete.”

Visit our Project and Program Management page to learn more about UCSC Extension’s unique offerings. Browse upcoming Project and Program Management courses.

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