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How we localized for the National Park Service, Point Reyes

Project Description

The National Park Service (NPS) is a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The NPS preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.

The NPS Point Reyes National Seashore of California got in touch with Globe about a newsletter localization project. I accepted the project as a Globe project manager and was the main contact person for the client. I also worked as a DTP specialist on the project.

Project Scope

The Point Reyes Newsletter is a 12-page pdf with roughly 3500 words. It needed to be localized into Spanish (MX). There were also 3 maps embedded in the newsletter in scope. Therefore we had to do heavy DTP work that involved both InDesign and Photoshop.

I managed to get the source file in .indd version on Oct.13, and the deadline for the project was Oct. 24. As client needed the localized newsletter for a public meeting on Oct. 25, we couldn’t afford any delay on this project. That means we only had 10 days turnaround time for the whole process.

Biggest Challenge

Upon getting the source file, I knew that short turnaround time would be my biggest challenge. As mentioned, we would need at least a translation > DTP > QA workflow. With the amount of DTP work involved, we would need at least 3 days for DTP plus 1 day for QA. Given the fact that we only work with volunteer translators on NGO projects, over 3000 words was apparently too much for one volunteer translator to finish within the time allowed.

One quick decision I made is to split the work among 5-6 translators. We will need to pay extra attention to consistency during QA, but this was basically the only way to finish the project on time. I also decided that we won’t be having editing phase in our workflow, since it means extra linguists and extra time: we really don’t have time now.

Because I had no idea about the project scope before receiving the source file, talent onboarding have to start after Oct. 13. Time is ticking and luckily our vendor team was so efficient that we got all 5 translators ready to start by Oct. 15, each of them would be taking care of around 600 words.

Another measure I took to ensure on-time delivery was to onboard my most trusted internal resources for DTP and QA. Working with people I have a personal connection with got rid of a lot of back and forth. I got a huge amount of support from my peers so we were able to save tons of time in the post-translation process. We managed to deliver the project by EOD Oct.23, and the client was very happy with the quality.

From Practicum to Real World

In real-world project management, we will need to deal with rush jobs more often than we expect. Rush jobs are hard to handle: it is more difficult and takes more time to find available translators, even smallest delay can cause bad results, and basically no mistakes are allowed in the whole process. Here are some suggestions that might be helpful based on my experience managing this particular project:

Secure talents beforehand if you can. Once you know about the scope of the project before receiving the actual source file, you can start reaching out to your talents. Reaching out to linguist as early as possible will increase the chance of successful placement. You will also have extra time to resolve any technical issues your talents might have (in my case, setting up an account for them on Memsource).

Use your most trusted resources. In this practicum project, I was able to reach out directly to my peers in class, while in real-life projects, we might not have access to such resources. Therefore, building your pool of trusted talent is crucial and essential for every project manager: they are the people that can help you out in situations like this. Fostering your relationship with linguists on a daily basis is more important than you might see. After all, project management is about “people” rather than actual “projects”.

Jingwen (Stacy) Li is a second-year student studying translation and localization Management at MIIS. While working as a project manager at Globe, she also specializes in Photoshop and InDesign as a DTP specialist. Her areas of interest are managing intercultural teams, cultural consulting and intercultural marketing. Connect with her on LinkedIn.


Photo by James Besser on Unsplash

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