What can a Localisation Project Manager do for your team?

A Localisation PM can work with your UX Design, or Development teams to ensure your services and brand’s message are ready for international markets.

What can a Localisation Project Manager do?

  • Contacting an extensive network of freelance linguists.
  • Quoting and making sure documents are ready for translation.
  • Keeping Translation Memories, Glossaries, or Term bases updated with CAT tools.
  • Managing the integration of Cloud translation tools with your CMS and TMS.

You can focus on running your business, and rest assured you’ll be getting:

  • Streamlined Translation Projects

As a localisation project manager, I can help you solve complex global language projects with massive content pipelines while building up great language assets specific to your domain and unique to your business.

  • Localised UX Strategy

After the content localisation project is set up, I can help you accurately funnel each content type through the relevant workflow and language service providers, while ensuring that everyone from customer service, UX design, development to marketing are aware of each localisation step.

  • Coherent Global Experience

Even as an external stakeholder, I can help you foster and facilitate cross-functional work, by bringing together language experts, designers, product and development before the build, to ensure the overall coherence of the brand and product experience, and deliver a delightful, global experience.

A Portrait of a Translator as a Teenager

Considering the humbling premise that we are all mere atoms released from a dying star, living in this pale blue dot and under a virus attack, it may sound a bit pretentious writing about me, particularly about why I chose the craft of translation. It certainly sounds pretentious to me. You see, the universe doesn’t really care. That’s why I find this disclaimer necessary: any sense of self-importance that may come out of my words, note that this is all about honest self-promotion in the Digital Marketing era, in the context of the so-called online semiosphere, if you prefer. I’m just one of you, fellow wordsmiths, pulsing dimly like a photon among thousands of us.

We are all textual threads, desperate to be translated

This is the story of how I became a translator. As I revisit my 15-year-old self, I realize that I translated my way out of my teenage years. I trust that many of you will relate to it one way or another. But let me start with a confession: to be a professional translator was and still is a means to make my way into literary grounds. To be a linguist – let’s be fair to me and use the correct terminology – was not what I wanted to be in the first place. Very much like Stephan Dedalus, from James Joyce’s “The Portrait of the Artist as a young man”, I used to long for something seemingly forbidden: the life of an artist. But what does it mean ‘to be an artist?’ Well, I soon realized that having a few poems published in a poetry anthology at the age of 15 – written in a second-hand Brother typewriter – didn’t make me a poet. Nor did the deep admiration I felt for the cursed French poets and the American Beat Generation. They were like kindred poetic spirits to me, but I was far from being a daredevil. Maybe a bit of an enfant terrible. Unconventional, yes, but never quite controversial. It was twenty years ago when the ink of my typewriter dried. I never wrote poetry again. Nevertheless, I embraced another dream, not less a cliché: to be a novelist. Naive or not, the fact is that it conditioned many important decisions in my life, very much inspired and validated by Oscar Wilde when he wrote, in “The Picture of Dorian Gray”:

“To have ruined one’s self over poetry is an honour.”

Like many of you, I like to indulge in wishful thinking, but I don’t think I’ll ever become a novelist. Indeed a writer of stuff, but not a novelist. I lack the discipline and the focus to create an intricate labyrinth of events. And what about the characters? If I managed to create a new world out of words, it would be most likely populated by characters that would either be a reflection of myself or somebody I know. I always felt like the process of writing a novel is something overwhelming to me – I look up to Cervantes, Faulkner, Saramago, Dostoyevsky, to name a few. Although I’m in love with the romantic idea behind the process, writing a novel is something way out of my league. If only it would be as simple as Susan Sontag puts it:

“A writer, I think, is someone that pays attention to the world.”

I guess this sums up my relationship with writing. I pay attention to the world, and I write stuff. To write a novel, I would oblige myself to master no less than the art of architecture, like Ariadne – the one from “Inception” –, and have the knowledge to unfold the blue thread, like Ariadne, the Cretan princess so that I wouldn’t lose my way out of the maze of my creation. Just imagine the creative process behind an author carefully choosing words – for what they mean, for what they sound like, for how they relate to the terms surrounding them. How fascinating is that? Now imagine the translator’s endeavor to fully understand the meaning and intent the author put in every word to ensure that the words he or she chooses in the target language truly preserve the original message, the author’s style, and the story’s atmosphere. I am dissecting, deconstructing, understanding, connecting, exposing intertextuality. This is what I call the bliss of literary translation.

My Sturm und Drang

I’m already picturing myself. Yes, I can imagine myself as a literary translator. I cannot talk about this out loud without fearing to blush and expose my adolescent enthusiasm and passion for the ritual of interpretation. If you’re an introvert like me, you know you don’t want to do this around the wrong people. That’s why I write about it instead. Luckily, just a few of you will ever read this. So, here I go. All this love for language and its subtleties took root in the early days of my life when I was lucky enough to have been exposed to at least five languages before the age of five. “My mother is Spanish and my father is Portuguese” – a sentence I had to repeat over and over again, not only to explain why my name is “Noélia” – a weird name while living in Portugal – but also to explain why I can speak both Portuguese and Spanish so good and switch from one language to the other in nanoseconds. This is because I’m bilingual. I was born in Spain – Granada – and my mother tongue is Spanish, meaning it was the first language I learned how to speak and kept speaking it to this day. My second language was Portuguese, and soon after, it became my primary language, meaning that it became the language I think in now. My third language was German when I went to live in Switzerland with my parents. I was pretty fluent when I was at kindergarten, at the primary level, of course, but I lost all of it when I went to school in Portugal. There was a fourth language. By the time I could read, I had a fairy tale book in Italian that I would read repeatedly. I also used to watch cartoons in Italian and listen to many Italian songs. While in Switzerland, during Easter and summer vacations, Italian was the closest language to Portuguese and Spanish. Only by the time I was 10 did I start to learn English at school, but at the age of 15, I developed a genuine interest in the English language. To put this into perspective, I barely had access to the internet back in the 90s, but I remember the first thing I “googled”: “the Doors”. Of course, I couldn’t find anything in Portuguese. So, if I wanted to know the meaning of something, I had to grab my Longman’s dictionary and start translating into a piece of paper. It was pure revelation translating The Doors’ lyrics. The next step was to read Jim Morrison’s biography, and I ended up with a list of writers, poets, philosophers I desperately needed to read, and here’s how my journeys to the public library started. Soon after, I was poorly translating Rimbaud from English into Portuguese. What’s important here is that through music and books, my “doors of perception were cleansed”. It was like the world opened up to me.

But contrary to William Blake’s poem, there’s nothing mystical about this. On the contrary, my perception of the world was always filtered by a scientific, somewhat skeptical, and relativist mindset. When I was in high school studying Natural Sciences, I loved Biology and Chemistry, but Philosophy and Literature were my cups of tea. I understand now that I was only searching for lenses that I could use to interpret and make sense of the reality around me. But how could a lyrical mind also be passionate about science and have rationalist thinking? I found the answer to this many years later when I discovered Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos”; also when I listened to “Children of the Sun,” written by Brendan Perry from Dead Can Dance and, more recently, when I listened to “Fireflies“, from the last album of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. All these elements have a common thread connecting them. This is how I pursue my sense of wonder. Looking for connections that exist at the border of sensation and thought, aesthetics and science. This restlessness for observation, interpretation, and understanding is my Sturm und Drang. This anxiety of wanting to create art but not being able to also keeps me forever young.

Ariadne Revisited

In a labyrinth forged by memories and narrative, I’m passionate about following threads of intertextuality on others’ works of art. It is what is left for me, and it feels almost like a ritual. Novels, poems, plays, lyrics, paintings bring them to me, and I’ll uncover them, layer by layer, to find the tip of Ariadne’s thread that will lead me to one of the possible exits. This is not an exact science, you see. I could fake my way out of the labyrinth. But here lays the ambiguity I need for my mind to ramble: literary interpretation. You need to have your share of cultural background and books read – or half-read – to be possibly good at it. And that was how, in my teenage years, my love of Literature and interpretation took over my passion for science. Immersing myself in a work of art makes me feel at home. If only I could make a living out of this without bringing ruin and misery to my life. Oh, wait! What if I were to choose my graduation course, back in 2002, based on the one with more Literature related signatures? Yep! That’s how I decided on my graduation course: Portuguese and English Literature, so I could spend five years reading, interpreting, and writing. Isn’t this the fundamentals to become a decent literary translator? But why didn’t I go for a Translation course right away if what I wanted was to be a literary translator? Indeed, being a literary translator would be the closest I could ever get from being a writer. But I had to take the most challenging and longest way. How could I ever become a decent literary translator if I weren’t able to detect all the hidden references, understand all the nuances, word-play, idiomatic expressions, literary movements, social and historical contexts back from the ancient Greeks to the modern days? And suppose you are a rationalist like me. In that case, you’ll only be satisfied if you go back to human prehistory and primordial times by reading Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking, and Yuval Noah Harari. The truth is, I wouldn’t find this rich tapestry of influences in a Translation course in the early 00s.

When I finished my Portuguese and English Literature graduation, almost 13 years ago, I spent some time working in a book publisher, editing and rewriting entire novels in Portuguese so they could be published. It was all about interpretation, reorganizing sentences, and even detecting flaws in the storyline. Despite this promising start in what I thought was “the literary world”, the fun didn’t last long, and I started to resent all the hypocrisy involved in the book publishing industry— paying to have your original work rewritten and call it “proofreading”? I eventually kept on doing this job as a freelancer too. There are plenty of people with incredible imagination and creativity, but they don’t have the writing skills. For a moment, I almost envy them and thought I would instead exchange places. Exchange my writing skills in Portuguese for their imagination to create stories. Eventually, all of this was too extenuating and not rewarding anymore. The book publishing world was quite deceiving and disappointing to me.

This is how I turned to technical translation. I needed the money not to ruin myself over “poetry,” as in Oscar Wilde’s words. I started working as a freelance translator for a while until I realized I needed the validation only proper training can provide to apply for an in-house job as a professional translator. I needed to learn the trade of adulthood at once, so I tried hard to become a more pragmatic person. This was when I invested in a post-graduation in Translation and Multilingual Communication, where I would put my multilingual skills to test in all the possible facets – law, science, advertising, subtitling, literary, technical, among others. After working an extenuating full-time job doing customer support for Spanish markets, I went to classes at night just to find myself doing freelance translations at the weekends. I was miserable, but I had the purpose of developing my skills in mind, which kept me going for a few years.

Tread softly

The workaholic ordeal lasted for a decade, to be precise. Ten years, very much needed for my personal and professional growth. But I also found the best things I could ever ask for in life. I met my life partner, and I had a baby boy – he’s only five months old now, peacefully taking a nap beside me while I’m writing this. I also bought some books, to read only a few of them. And I’m not a literary translator yet. I guess I never really tried that hard to be a literary translator. But, again, I like to indulge in wishful thinking once in a while. There’s a book that I’m currently reading that I’m dreaming about translating into Portuguese. Sentence after sentence, I feel the urge to do so. My constant thought is that I want my son to read it in Portuguese when he becomes a teenager. But how could I risk translating a book without previously knowing a book publisher would be interested in publishing it? Experienced literary translators out there, what would you do? I got this feeling, from my experience, that literary translation is a hermetic niche. Why would it be any different now? Or maybe these are all excuses I come up with because I haven’t tried hard enough to get there. Perhaps something has been holding me back all this time. I’d be honest if I say I sold my “soul” to the corporate world. A comfortable and stable full-time job as a copywriter and translator at a multinational can provide you peace of mind, indeed. A feeling of accomplishment too. I can claim I’m a linguist, a transcreator, a translator, a content writer, all in the same job. But again, I’m not quite there yet.

To cut a long story short, this is how I started taking the first steps to what would be my career as a “translator”, considering the term in its broadest sense. At the very beginning, those were very unintentional and genuine steps. But, despite the hardships of adulthood, the original feeling from my teenage days keeps coming back, reminding me of who I am and where I want to go. I keep treading softly, so I never lose balance in life. I’m slowly collecting threads and weave them consistently into my web. I trust they will serve me well when my opportunity comes to translate a piece of Literature. I don’t think it’s too late for me. I like to imagine that the books I’ll translate are yet to be written. In that case, I tell myself I should be reading more books by young talented authors and let the 20th-century giants rest in peace. This will be a challenge. Another challenge would be to publish more. Not to be obsessed with perfection. Not to be afraid of judgment and criticism. For example, not to be scared of publishing this story, where my flaws are well exposed, starting with the English grammar. I’ve decided to be bold for a change. Write and publish. Write and post again. I promise not to fear the stumbling blocks in my way. I promise not to be embarrassed to stumble on my steps. Slowly but surely, I’ll keep treading towards literary grounds.

The secret life of books: an apology for historical fiction


Everything begins when you smell a book like the first contact that invites you to understand its essence. And after this first contact, as you venture yourself through its pages, with Ariadne’s thread in your hand, have you ever felt the urge to follow it and find your way out of the labyrinth? Works of art are cluttered with secret intertextualities. What’s more, each point of inflection of the thread in the maze represents intertextuality, and being aware of those references, or clues, may, or may not, get us closer to the way out, to the authenticity of a book.

This is the secret life of books! Books are made up of many other hidden books, subterranean intellectual currents, and characters more accurate than their authors. But no matter how genuine and honest all these elements can be, they always become fiction when permeated by a writer’s imagination, always bind to a given historical and cultural context.

“The Murder of Sherlock Holmes”, by Santiago Posteguillo, not translated into English.

You’ll never get out of the labyrinth

Pursuing the authenticity of a novel is nothing but an illusion that all readers like to believe. Let me tell you: you’ll never get out of the labyrinth! Not even writers have total control over the fictional plot or maze they’ve created, and that’s why they’re the first to get caught up in constant battles with the Minotaur that patrols every turning point of the maze. Ultimately, the writer also fails to grasp all the layers of meaning that their text can contain and inevitably gets lost in their entanglement.

When a novel is finally published, things only get more entangled because there will be a different meaning for each reader. I like to linger around the pages, with the torch of plurality wielded, and accept that a literary work must be open to multiple interpretations and, therefore, poses nothing but dead-end labyrinths. Like an atheist that agrees with a Cosmos without a God, I accept relativity by venturing into a space journey into the literary universe.

Assuming readers have enough power to warp space-time, let’s think of a well-known writer with several biographies at your disposal to unveil all of his or her secrets. It is possible to attempt to build a bridge between the writer’s life and the fiction created by an author (remember Barthes’ distinction between author and writer by saying that “the author is something more profound than a writer” in “The Death of the Author”, 1967?). But again, we may be facing a fictional author too! Nevertheless, all details from biographies also give you the illusion of a better understanding of a novel. In the end, these details will only entice your curiosity to read it instead of illuminating you.

It’s all about reinventing narratives

Enthusiasm is what I recall whenever I attended my Literature classes years ago. I remember how my teachers would lecture on the biographical details and provided what students thought was unnecessary historical and socio-political context. It was a parallel narrative to the narrative of the book we were studying, but it was that alternative narrative that would arouse my desire to start reading it.

For instance, when I had to read Aristophanes, which I resisted at first, I learned that romantic love was invented in ancient Greece more than 2000 years ago. The way Aristophanes presented the subject in his plays was usually under the form of an amusing allegory. However, his way of perceiving that emotion is an echo that still reverberates today. Since then, love has been the central theme of countless novels up to the nineteenth century’s Romantic movement. After that, it feels like there’s nothing more than writers reinventing the narrative of love with the lenses of post-modern liquid times. And when a book narrates love differently, it has repercussions on its readers and how they feel and act in a particular society.

With this, I think it is inevitable to mention Shakespeare (or, perhaps, was it Marlowe?), who reinvented the way of understanding the “I” or the “self”, directly influenced by the Greco-Roman classics. Innovative for his time’s literary patterns, Shakespeare’s plays have incorporated 1,776 words into the English language. For new realities and fictions, Shakespeare had to invent new words. And it is incredible to observe how each epoch expanded the limits of language and thinking; expanded the boundaries of how we think, feel and perceive the world around us.
Much of this, thanks to artistic production!

Dwarfs standing on the giants’ shoulders

Having said this, I think we are nothing more than dwarfs standing on giants’ shoulders, reinterpreting and narrating in different ways what we have learned from history books, from the novels of giants, always limited or circumscribed by a specific socio-cultural context.

An invisible thread stretches out from primordial cave painting to the works of art we produced to this day. Therefore, very little of what we think, read, paint or write is original. I dare to say that there is no originality. Everything is pastiche!

From the history of the origin of alphabetical order to the night when Frankenstein read Don Quixote (through the eyes of his ingenious creator, Mary Shelley), there is a whole universe of intertextualities, blatant pastiche, and mysteries to be solved behind a book and behind an author.

Here’s a glimpse of my intertextuality: “On the Giants’ Shoulders“, by the brilliant Umberto Eco

Is it possible that Frankenstein read Don Quixote?

As Santiago Posteguillo himself admits – author of “The Night When Frankenstein Read Don Quixote”, written in Spanish – “this volume recreates some of those moments, fleeting flashes of great moments in the history of universal literature.”

The short fiction that makes up Posteguillo’s book tells us about what remains between the lines of some of the greatest novels, such as Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”. They describe how it is an actual historical fact that she read Don Quixote while she was in Switzerland. It is also a real historical fact that she learned Spanish to read Don Quixote in Cervantes’ language – Spanish.

But there are also these “fleeting flashes” referred to by Santiago Posteguillo. The fleeting flashes are historical facts transfigured into fiction. And that is why I make this apology for historical fiction using this book because Posteguillo did not restrain his narrative to biographical or historical rigor.

Imagination as liberation

Beginning with facts well known to readers and inviting them into a light and delicious reading, Posteguillo recreates the rest of the plot, like an omnipresent time traveler who can even describe those artists’ moods and memories of their quirky fictional characters. And it is here where you can tell Santiago Posteguillo is a Professor of Literature and a historical novelist. In fact, these short narratives could be the key that will awaken his most uninterested student.

“I have been teaching literature for many years and I discovered some time ago that the curious, the anecdotal or the mysterious facts of writers’ life is what attracts students to their works, which is what really matters: that they read their novels.” Santiago Posteguillo (Source: El Espectador)

Therefore, reading “The Night When Frankenstein Read Don Quixote” feels like an invitation to travel back to your bookworm teenage years when you used to marvel at every new book. As if these series of short essays were written for beginners, to remind you of something very naive: there’s something more to a writer or a novel than it meets the eye. In the end, and with an ironic wink, I confess that this book could also be the much-desired light and fast reading, for all those too-many-moments in which we do not have much free time to enter into the grand narratives of the classics. Even so, it counts as Santiago Posteguillo’s admirable attempt to teach young readers that they can imagine their way out of the labyrinth!

A voyage to self-awareness: we are all stardust

Disclaimer: “Intellectual capacity is no guarantee against being dead wrong.” ― Carl Sagan, Cosmos

At the beginning of a new year, I can’t help thinking that the Gregorian calendar is nothing more than necessary fiction to keep us all on the same page. Even so, 365/6 days is the amount of time the Earth takes to revolve around the sun, and this is all the knowledge I need to appreciate this day. And while it may seem discouraging, I start the new year with the reminder that we are all stardust fit in a tiny lapse of time and that we don’t matter that much in the vast universe. Again, this is precisely the knowledge I need to treasure even more every moment I am alive. And this is Carl Sagan’s lesson for self-awareness: 

“Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.”

Therefore, I think we all ought to give meaning and purpose to this mote of dust by being the best versions we can. But this was not an epiphany I had on New Year’s Day. In fact, this is the thread I followed on my voyage to self-awareness. I’d instead embrace uncertainty and ambiguity than accept unreasonable explanations. Of course, context played a significant role in determining my unapologetic skepticism. But how did I get to this? Well, I don’t believe in isolated causes or any superstition. It’s always a broken thread of different reasons that stretch from childhood to adulthood that somehow collide and determine who we are. But, for the sake of this narrative, I have to start somewhere, and what is evident right now is that I’ve been immersed in Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos”. After watching the TV series many years ago, I decided to read the book. I must confess I’m very drawn to the message it conveys in a way that whenever I feel the urge to talk about it to someone, I let go of the idea because I don’t want to sound like I’m trying to convert someone into “saganism”. This is not a religion, not even a substitute for religion. 

“Cosmos” is the simple, cold, and elegant observation that “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of star-stuff.” And you don’t have to be an astronomer or a scientist to grasp this. Physics and math were never my forte. Even if I’m always inclined to search for the scientific explanation of phenomena, whenever it comes to interpreting them, numbers are not exactly the way through I understand the world. I always resort to whatever “words” could explain better what the “numbers” have proved. And Carl Sagan just happened to be one of the pioneers who spoke of scientific topics in an engaging, accessible, even poetic way. Everybody could understand the most profound scientific questions on the nature and origin of the world.

“In the last few millennia we have made the most astonishing and unexpected discoveries about the Cosmos and our place within it, explorations that are exhilarating to consider. They remind us that humans have evolved to wonder, that understanding is a joy, that knowledge is prerequisite to survival. I believe our future depends on how well we know this Cosmos in which we float like a mote of dust in the morning sky.” – Carl Sagan, Cosmos

I genuinely find joy in learning because, like the Cosmos itself, it feels like my “little universe” is expanding too, through new perceptions created by language, i.e., through reading books such as “Cosmos”. But there were other references. For instance, Edgar Morin’s “The Paradigm of Complexity”, when I was around 16. At that age, I could barely grasp the true complexity of this book, but I do remember the joy I felt, even if I could only scrape the surface of its meaning. Going back to the early 90s, I recall the same sense of enjoyment of learning and understanding while watching the French cartoon series “Once Upon a Time… Life/Earth/Man”.


As with any other cartoon, it pictured the struggle between good and evil. On the one hand, you had the “good” characters, represented by the cells and defense mechanisms. On the other hand, you had viruses and bacteria that threaten to attack the human body. Through anthropomorphic representations of cells and cellular functions within the human body, it was easier to understand how the human body worked: almost like a Fordian factory, led by the brain, Maestro, the bearded older man. Following back the thread, I also remember watching Disney’s “Fantasia” countless times, and it did help to put some pieces together and start making sense of the world around me. It portrays the evolution of life from ocean microbes right through to the dramatic extinction of the dinosaurs, to the mythological Roman-Greek era, up to a very phantasmagorical ending, I must say. Combining all these visual narratives, I like to think they must have facilitated my engagement with scientific subjects.


Following now the thread forth to middle school, I recall being eager to read through my science books at the beginning of every school year, anticipating what I was going to learn! Around 95/96, I learned a very worrying piece of information from my unsupervised explorations. There was a note at the back end of the book, like a “Did you know?” section, that mentioned:

“Asteroid Toutatis will visit the Earth in 2004” (originally, in Portuguese).

I mean, who writes that on a science school book? In my mind, “will visit” actually meant hitting the Earth. It reminded me of “Fantasia” and the asteroid that supposedly got the dinosaurs extinct. I didn’t ask the teacher what that meant because I wasn’t supposed to be reading that page yet, but I wondered why nobody else was feeling terrified too. The year 2004 eventually arrived, and no news about Toutatis visiting the Earth. Well, Toutatis passed safely by Earth, but the scientific community considered it a near-miss. Allegedly, it was the closest asteroid to pass by the Earth since homo sapiens started to patrol the sky with telescopes. The fact is, that thought that an asteroid would hit the Earth helped me get that sense of how fragile we are if we start thinking of ourselves within a much larger system: the “Cosmos”. Realizing the complexity of our human body, alongside our insignificance compared with the immensity of the universe, can be a terrifying voyage to self-awareness for a child. Still, I don’t regret the line of events and experiences that led me to what to this sense of wonder and awe.

Having said this here’s another unapologetic quotation from “Cosmos”:

“Every aspect of Nature reveals a deep mystery and touches our sense of wonder and awe. Those afraid of the universe as it really is, those who pretend to nonexistent knowledge and envision a Cosmos centered on human beings will prefer the fleeting comforts of superstition. They avoid rather than confront the world. But those with the courage to explore the weave and structure of the Cosmos, even where it differs profoundly from their wishes and prejudices, will penetrate its deepest mysteries.” – Carl Sagan, Cosmos