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DTP PM

Desktop Publishing Project Manager: a day in the work life 

Clients come, clients go, right? As a Desktop Publishing Project Manager for Studio Gambit, my main goal is to make sure the clients stay, or at least come back for more.

Recently, I was asked to provide a short summary of the issues I deal with on a day-to-day basis. I thought it might be useful to give you a walkthrough of my typical day as well – an abridged version with less project, not to muddy the waters and to help put everything in context.

Morning

A toasted bagel with cream cheese with tea, not coffee. We are saving that treat for later.

I get into my company portal – Fanatic and check the mail first, maybe I have some news on my several projects. It seems we’re starting the day with a bang – it looks like one of the clients would like to move the deadline to an earlier date. We’re pressed for time, but we’ll see what we can do. I shoot a quick email back with the info and take a minute to gather my thoughts.

Project 1: Software localization and DTP care

Current issues: Earlier deadline: doable?

Useful knowledge: Adobe Cloud, Client’s internal processes, ISO, software localization

I need to get in touch with all project stakeholders and see if we can save a bit of time but still stay within ISO requirements. We can’t compromise too much on the quality of the work but maybe we could assign an additional expert to the project. We need to get the new quote to the client as well if the project is going to become more expensive – luckily, I know enough to only need a quick word with specialists and the quote goes to the client, who accepts.

Project 2: Localization of User Interface and Help materials

Current issues: None, great!

Useful knowledge: DTP packages of the following: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, InDesign, FrameMaker, Illustrator, Photoshop.

Project 3: Translation and DTP of marketing materials

Current issues: There were no fonts given for the project and the client isn’t sure which fonts to use – I’m being asked to give suggestions. This could mean a delay, but luckily, I know my stuff and can suggest great fonts without the need to contact another specialist.

Useful knowledge: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, popular font packages and the basics of typography

Loose ends

Assorted communications with the clients on projects that were finalised. Tiny emails, big smiles.

Assorted help

As an experienced specialist, I’m often asked by less experienced colleagues to advise on complex issues. 

Lunch: Fruit with natural yoghurt, delicious.

Afternoon

Project 1

Minor issues with the new process, I make sure the additional specialist is well-briefed and can start working effectively.

Project 2

We’re localizing into multiple languages, and our DTP Team has run into sizing issues with the Arabic version of the DTP package. This is compounded by the fact that Arabic is read from right to left, and thus requires different settings in DTP software. We could be facing significant delays, but I remembered we had a similar issue a few months ago and immediately get in touch with Darek from our Technical Department who solved it before.

As Darek made sure to export the settings, we can simply apply them to this project and, after a little time for final adjustments, we’re up to speed again.

Project 3

The client has decided which fonts to use so the work can continue.

Assorted help

Mostly on how to keep to ISO  while maintaining consistent output. I’m a real stickler for quality, as this is what we do for every single one of our clients.

End of Day

Coffee! With full fat milk and some cinnamon sugar as a special treat. We don’t really need it, but it’s good to reward yourself a little.

Project 1

I write a project summary with the new deadline for the client and update them on what happened today. I get a nice “thank you.” So satisfying. I forward the thanks to our DTP Team as well, to help spread the joy.

Project 2

I make a point not to waste the clients’ time with something we can solve internally when it won’t impact the deadline and price. So, I just shoot a quick “all is well” email and we’re done.

Project 3

I write a quick summary of the client’s decisions and changes in the project, then send it to the client. I find such summaries really help the clients keep track of the projects as they can always search for “Summary Project XXXX” in their inbox and have a clear thread.

Assorted help

I make sure all the projects I helped with are going well – and give some last-minute advice. I know my less-experienced colleagues are still very experienced so it will be on their shoulders to follow up with me should they need anything else.

Final Touches

There is a lot of personal satisfaction in a job well done. I try to internalise it as I take a few moments to think about my day and how much we’ve managed to achieve.  I used to make a “to-do” list for the next day, but I find that I stopped needing it as my experience grew. Now, I can get my running gear and get ready to destress after a long day!

Studio Gambit Team

We are the translators, editors, proofreaders, project managers, IT specialists, localization engineers and DTP operators forming part of the team here at Studio Gambit.

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