In my annual performance review, which in general was very positive, I was told I could improve a lot if I gave more measurable goals to one of my teams.

In essence, they need to translate promotional copy/text for our clients by a certain deadline. We have certain editorial and style standards, but apart from that, they are free to use their knowledge as long as the deadline is met.

Often, our different clients bring different levels of workload, and my view is that each is almost ad hoc.

So I am a bit puzzled about what other measurable goals there could be apart from deadlines and editorial standards.

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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about performance and management of a specific job function. – jcmeloni Dec 22 '13 at 16:21

"[give] more measurable goals"

It sounds to me like they are suggesting that you make the work provided to your staff more measurable. Like separating incoming work into blocks. For example, a 12000 word file comes in that needs translated. Rather than just giving that to someone and providing a deadline and expecting a certain level of quality, set a workload size (say 500~ words) and say this is a 24 block workload. You can then measure employees performance by quality output of blocks over time.

  • Thanks Ross Drew. I think I understand what you are saying. I am used to seeing goals in terms of revenue and profit, so this one I didn't think of. The only problem is that the incoming work varies a lot. There's no real standard. Some documents can be 100 words yet very difficult/technical to translate. Others could be multiple pages but very easy. It's ad copy. The difficulty level can even vary by language. Some things can be translated more easily into Spanish than, e.g. Chinese. I guess I could factor in all these variables and create some table to try standardizing performance? Thanks – BrokenButBold Dec 22 '13 at 10:41
  • Yes, maybe different block sizes per source and target language? :) – Ross Drew Dec 22 '13 at 11:08

You need to go back to old projects and measure the size, and complexity of the projects and how quickly and accurately they were performed.

You can't set a goal without knowing what you are measuring. If word count per day isn't an accurate way to measure difficulty, you need a way to be able to bin incoming projects. To do this binning start with old projects: look at them by size, reading level, expected turnaround, language, expected quality, special requests.

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