Production Manager In An Educational Tools Company
Job Title: Production Manager
Education: BA in French and German, Mount Allison University, Canada MA in Translation Studies, University of Ottawa, Canada
Previous Experience: I worked as a quality control manager in a translation company, where I was responsible for proofreading and doing a final check on all the translated documents before they were sent to the client.
Job Tasks: My company creates online reading and math tests for public schools, instructions for activities in a summer course, and guides to help teachers teach reading and math skills to students.
I make schedules for the writers and editors, who are creating the content, to make sure that we publish the materials on deadline. Some of what we publish is online and some of it is printed documents or manuals. I also copyedit, which includes checking grammar, proofreading, and asking questions about any parts of the text that don't make sense. I maintain a style guide, which is a list of decisions that have been made about word choices (e.g., always say "students" and never "kids"), typography (e.g., use italics for book titles, not underline), and preferences for how to write terms (e.g., say "input-output machine" not "input/output machine).
On a daily basis, I answer queries from copyeditors and pass those queries on to editors if the question is about the reading or math content. I also make sure that the manuscripts (i.e., reading and math tests) that the editors finalize get passed on to our production group. This group takes the tests from a Word document and enters it into an online authoring tool, which students will ultimately use to take the tests. A large part of my job is being a "final eye" and doing a quick proofread of either the tests or teacher guides to spot any disastrous errors before the products are published.
I am also responsible for training writers and editors how to use our authoring tool. This piece of software is a big database of all the reading and math test questions we have created for many different states.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part is that I get to work with language and people who really care about good grammar and clear communication. I also like editing and making sure that the reading and math tests are clear and easy for students to understand. Being involved in the publishing industry is exciting, and I get to see the process of how a book or product is developed from the beginning idea, through writing/editing/proofreading, and finally publication.
The worst part is that our final deadline for publishing a product is often too short and we have to work faster than we would like to. Because the work is really deadline driven, I sometimes have to work overtime to get the job done.
Job Tips: 1: Learning a second language is really helpful because if you study the grammar of another language, you learn a lot about English grammar. When you're forced to express your ideas to get them across in a foreign language, you get practice clarify what you want to say and making it as exact as possible.
2: Read as much as you can of different types of writing, including literature, newspapers (print or online), magazines, and journals. It helps give you a good sense of language, develops your ear for turns of phrases and vocabulary, and gives you a broad general knowledge, which will enable you to write, edit, copyedit, or proofread a wide variety of texts.
3: If you love grammar, read as many of the fun books about words, grammar, and writing as you can. One example is *Eat, Shoots, and Leaves.* Anything that will help you learn about language, grammar, and good communication will help you in publishing.
Additional Thoughts: Studying English, Modern Languages, Communications, Education, any of the sciences are typical places where writers, editors, and copyeditors start. Some of these people end up as production managers (or managing editors) like me. Usually the key is a love of language and a knack for clear communication.