August is coming to an end and I wanted to close it in style with a new post for the #ADayinTheLifeOf series.
My new guest is Andrea “Giglio” Giglioni, a friend and a uni fellow with whom I’ve reunited here in London. A Localisation Project Manager for a big company with offices around the world, he’s a yogi, does not use social media that much, got his smartphone just a short while ago and is a Japanese speaker.
Welcome to his world!
6am (early bird!)
On a good day I wake up early and go to a morning yoga class. I like to start my day with something other than work, I think it helps me put the rest of the day into perspective. The yoga I do is quite strenuous and there is nothing quite like it to get rid of stress. I usually feel quite elated afterwards.
Coconut water in hand (don’t judge me, it works), I jump on the bus. This operation is no mean feat since I have 2 lines that take me to work but they don’t share any stops and in some places they run in opposite directions! This defies all laws of physics but it seems to make perfect sense to Transport for London. Sometimes I end up on the bus that elementary school classes take to go the zoo. Which is fun, mainly thanks to my noise-cancelling headphones! Simply a must-have if one wants to keep the zen going. The bus is my time to read and I’ve chosen it over cycling or walking, and of course the tube which I try to avoid as much as possible. I’d take loud school children any day over the grey tube commuters. I usually read some children’s book or simplified story in Japanese to keep my language-learning efforts up.
Alas, I don’t get off at the zoo but at my office for some work… I am a project manager in the Localisation department of a global stock media archive. I started as an in-house translator and 4 years ago I switched to project management.
I’m the only member of my team here in London so things can get pretty busy. We work with an external agency to cover all our translation and production needs and my role is to manage the localisation requests from the business. I like this position because I still get to provide linguistic input and use my expertise without being bang in the middle of the translation rush, and because it’s a more people-facing role! I am also the team expect for digital production which adds a creative flavour to the mix of people I’m in contact with daily. I see what I do as an enormous machine that has to be kept in perfect balance – I’m a yoga fan after all! The translators have to provide excellent quality, the production department has to create versions of our messaging that is up to our standards and the internal global/regional teams have to be coordinated to provide the right assets and feedback at the right time. If you throw into the mix more than 20 languages and an ever-evolving business, actually, who needs to go to the zoo!? The most rewarding programmes I run are those involving evangelising best practices within the business and working out quality issues with the vendor. A global company doesn’t necessarily come with their localisation strategies all sorted out, in fact, there is a lot of planning to be done when global projects have to go out on time in so many territories and the strategic phase is where my Localisation team can provide invaluable input and solutions to the business.
My lunch time varies with the nationality of the people I spend it with on the day! If it’s the Spanish delegation I know I won’t be out before 2… Sometimes I also have a Japanese tutor come in the office for a private class. My intermediate Japanese is good enough for my role, to spot any problems or set up and drive a discussion between the vendor and our regional team. (Note by Val: Giglio spent 4 months in Tokyo – see below. My envy level: MASTER).
Back to work. We have a few excellent bakers in the office so the afternoon is usually spent riding the sugar rush of the latest creation they bless us with. Some are truly worthy of a French patisserie. Yum. If you don’t bake you just buy something, anything, as long as our collective sweet tooth is appeased!
The other 2 main company hubs are NYC and Seattle so my afternoon is usually spent on calls to catch up with my team and other departments to synch up on projects. My manager and the rest of my team are in Seattle so I have had the chance to visit the Pacific Northwest a couple of times. It’s always great to see people face to face and I take every opportunity to catch up with my international contacts when I’m nearby. Last year I spent 3 months in Tokyo. It was more of a personal request rather than a work necessity but I am grateful to my manager for letting me work from there and I think it was a great experience to strengthen the ties with the team there :)
Projects on a global scale are unpredictable so I often stay late, or not! Depending on the tide I can adjust my working times, for better or worse. At peak times I work long hours but if it’s an especially quiet day and the sun is shining outside there is no reason to stay indoors!