Hey geeks! My name is Paulina, and I’ve been a full-time project manager at The Geeky Pen for about 3 months now.
Let me tell you: it’s been a crazy ride. I absolutely love this job: it’s exciting and rewarding, but… At times it can definitely be stressful, as well.
Three months ago, I started off with a small project, to see if I’d make a good fit. I was so stressed and convinced I was going to forget something or make a stupid mistake. Looking back at it now, that seems so silly. The project went just fine and gradually I started taking on more and more responsibilities here at The Geeky Pen.
It’s hard to describe what I felt exactly when I received my own dedicated email address and the official title of Project Manager. I felt like I was about to burst with excitement… but luckily I didn’t! I’m still here, checking everything and making sure our machine runs smoothly.
A Day in the Life of a Project Manager
So what does a typical day look like for a project manager at The Geeky Pen, and how does it all work?
When we receive a new assignment from a client, the gears of the machine start turning. The first step is to take the publisher’s PDF files and upload them in our custom translation table. You might think this manual process is rather tedious, but I actually really enjoy this part. Usually, I just put some music or an audiobook on: it helps me focus.
I also get to assign the translators and proofreaders to their tasks. Obviously, that includes selecting the right team for a specific job. Of course, this also depends on the urgency of the project, on who’s available and who’s out of the office.
After a few projects, you can usually tell which pairings of translators and proofreaders work well together. I’m getting a better grasp of the teams every day, but right now our ‘little’ family consists of over 40 freelancers that work in 17 different languages! And that’s not even counting our graphic designers who take care of implementing our translations into InDesign.
Preparation is Key
Once the team has been assembled, the next step is to determine the deadlines and the final word count. I also need to make sure the translators and proofreaders have access to the files they need to get started.
I’m talking about the translation table of course, but also about the question sheet: we always send one to the publisher before we finish the localization step, to make sure the original text and all localized documents are 100% consistent.
Every project is different, and even though I’ve gone through these steps so many times, setting deadlines is still tricky. Will 5 work days be enough for this particular assignment? Did all the source files and links upload correctly? Double-checking everything up front saves you a lot of time and effort once the project is up and running.
It’s just like the great Sun Tzu once said:
A Fire Chief’s Work is Never Done
The assignments are now ready, so it’s time for our teams to start working their magic. No time for me to sit back and relax though. On the contrary: this is the step where I have to be most vigilant.
I need to be readily available if our teams have issues with the files, or if they have questions or doubts about the game mechanics. I act as an intermediary between the teams and our clients, all the while trying to make sure everyone sticks to their deadlines.
While most assignments go smoothly, occasionally there are some hiccups – or as Jo and I like to call them – forest fires. They can happen at any stage, too.
For example, something might be wrong with the file we received from the client. Maybe parts of the file have text that isn’t selectable. Let me tell you, having to retype sentences that are originally in hand-written French has given me a nightmare or two…
Other times, the translator/proofreader I had in mind for the job might have a very tight schedule or might be unavailable altogether. It might also happen that the client has an urgent project and they desperately need our help to finish it in time. This means that now I have to put everyone on standby, cracking my whip to make sure we meet the new deadline.
However, regardless of the size of these forest fires, so far I’ve managed to extinguish them all successfully. It’s even become a little inside joke in the team: my name has a tiny fire truck next to it on Basecamp, our freelancer platform.
Totally Worth It
While the struggles are real, they do come with big rewards. Each completed project creates a tiny spark of joy. Knowing we did a job we can be proud of is a great boost of confidence, both for myself and for everyone on our translation teams.
The feeling gets even better when I get to physically hold a game we worked on in my hands, and see The Geeky Pen listed in the credits section. The kind words and positive feedback we receive from publishers we’ve worked for is also priceless.
Thank you so much! I love working with you!
Arleta S. – PHALANX
Everything looks fine, thank you for the fast work and have a nice weekend!
Marek V. – Albi
However, what I love most about my job is that it allows me to meet and work with such amazing people every single day. So far, it seems as if the feeling has been mutual.
With every new task, I discover new challenges that come with being a project manager. I learn from them and try to get better with every new assignment.
Despite the stress levels that sometimes come with the job, I absolutely love what I do here at The Geeky Pen. Being able to lead such an amazing team and work on all those exciting projects gives me a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that’s hard to find anywhere else.
Speaking of… Stay tuned, because we have many exciting new things planned for 2022!
Are you interested in working with us?
At The Geeky Pen, you can expect the following:
- Professional translation by a licensed game translator
- Professional proofreading by a separate licensed translator
- Detailed analysis of your source text by our teams
- Project Management in up to 17 languages
- Discounts when ordering multiple languages
Send us your rulebook, and receive your free quote within 48 hours.
The Geeky Pen was able to help us in a short amount of time, and despite the time constraints made sure to take great care of the translation. They asked a lot of questions when needed, were very professional, really understood our needs and were able to deliver great translations on time. Great work!
Rafaël T. – Game Brewer