Just occurred to me that perhaps I could help you set up your system better. I design databases, both online and offline, and I cannot imagine running an agency fumbling around with hundreds of Excel files.
Just for a brief overview:
- translator applies through my online application form, details get entered into a central database;
- occasionally I download the database and update my offline version, so that I can manipulate with it offline and faster;
- lets say I am approached with a project in five language combinations. I run a query in the database for those five languages, and I get a full list of all translators who can do those combinations. I’ll sort it according to their price. Based on the client, I will copy paste their details into an Excel sheet, choosing translators within a certain price range. I’ll run through the Excel sheet and erase those I’ve had problems with in the past. Once I’m happy with the selection I’ll copy paste those details into another program, which sends an email to the translators individually, addressing them by their names. This is good for very large projects. I might send these emails from my server at 450 an hour. This entire procedure might take half an hour to set up;
- my online system also has a means to test translators, whereby each translator uploads their sample, and certain translators are designated as assessors, who through the online system read the samples and give it a grade. I can have many assessors for a certain language combination. I can then download the ratings and paste it into Excel file or whatever, and analyse it. Before I made this the time required to save files attached to an email somewhere on my computer and forward it to an assessor was ridiculous. At every step of my business I’ve automated my work in a concise way, saving me tons of time.
Anyway, there are many procedures, and I’m actually working on setting this up as an offer to other agencies, because I do enjoy the programming and database setup etc.
I also have a separate system to manage projects, where translators upload/download files, email notifications get sent automatically as soon as a file is uploaded (ie- a translator has completed the translation and uploaded it), project managers can log in and communicate with proofreaders and translators etc. (without knowing their contact details), all running smoothly while I do absolutely minimum work.
Anyway, thought that perhaps you might be interested in some of my systems.