Localization Academy

How To Use Airtable As Localization Project Manager

How good is Airtable for localization project managers? In this quick tutorial, I’ll show you how to set up simple projects in Airtable from scratch ✅

Welcome to another episode in this series! Every month we’ll check out a new project management platform and see how viable it is for localization. All online software will be either free or with a free trial so that you can try it on your own.


In this short video, I’m going to show you how you can get started with Airtable if you want to track your localization, translation or any kind of projects in this special platform. So I have just started my free trial. And this is how you start with Airtable, you have pretty much nothing except your first workspace where you can start adding things. Unlike all the other platforms that we tried before, which were specifically designed for, let’s say work management or project management. With air table, you can design databases and tables. So the approach is slightly different. But once we get started, you’re going to see that it’s very much similar to what we are doing so far in this series.

Now I’ve tried air table for the first time just yesterday to prepare for this video. And I think the best way if you are a newbie to airtable, like me is to actually for the first time start with a template instead of creating things from scratch. So that will be our first step. And that is to start with templates. And if you explore more templates under operations, you’re going to find a template, which says Project Tracker, which is the one that we’re going to use in this case. So I’m going to try this template. And as soon as it’s created, we’re going to start adjusting it. So here you can see that the Project Tracker has already opened, you have some basic guide here some explanation of what it does, but I’m going to tell you what exactly it does and show you how we’re going to change it here. On the right side, you have some extensions, which I guess from the look of it can sort of serve as some sort of a dashboard, you can visualize the data, we are not going to bother with that for this tutorial. So I’m going to close it.

And here already, you can see familiar view of a project and its tasks from what we did in the previous tools. But I’m going to explain to you where the catch is. And the catch is that we have actually two tabs here, which actually represent two tables. So the overview one, even though it’s called an overview, this is actually the table where you put the information about projects. And here the task, timelines and assignees are another table, which is about tasks. So this is very much what databases are about, he have a database. And within the database, you have different tables. And each table represents some entity or some thing that you want to keep track of. So normally, in the other project management software, you would create a project and then under the project, you would create tasks. So that software is already sort of specialized in tracking this sort of information here with air table, you have, let’s say a more robust approach. So you can design a table that represents anything, but after we use the template Project Tracker, it created these two tables. So that’s why in a way, our information about projects and information about tasks lifts in two different tables, although as you can see here, and I’m going to touch on that a little bit later, you will see that each task, of course belongs to one project, which then basically means that these are all the tasks that belong to that one project. And that should be something that you should recognize.

First thing we’re going to do just to make it more simple for us, because I’m always a little bit confused by the way they named tabs, aka the tables. By default, we’re going to rename the steps. So I’m going to first do the overview. One, I’m going to rename it to projects, and then each record here is one project and tasks, we’re going to rename to tasks Simple as that. Now let’s start first on the higher level. So with the projects, and let’s see what information we don’t need the default template on the left side here you can see a different views. Again, I don’t want to spend a lot of time explaining what a view does. But view is basically different way how you can look at the data. So you have just one sort of set of data that is recorded in your project table. And you can view the data in a different way. For example, this one has some sort of cards. Here we have a typical great or table view. And here we have some sort of a collection view we’re going to as usually stick to the table one because this one shows us clearly all the different fields and we can start removing them. What we’re going to remove is are the projects we don’t need attachments. And of course if you need the attachments, you can keep those fields just like any other fields that I will delete but you think they might serve you or your purposes. I’m just deleting this to keep let’s say the bare minimum of information that we need so that we can keep things simple. When I’m trying to delete the attachments field or the column. It tells me that there are some dependencies because Some things are clearly using this field in some other things, but we don’t care about it because we don’t need the attachment anywhere. So I’m just going to delete the field.

Same way, I’m going to delete the field for the project lead, and also the working team. Last but not least, the budget again, depends on if you want to track this thing. Of course, this might be something that’s useful to you, but I’m going to delete it. For the remaining fields that we have, I’m going to do one slight change for the due date. Right now. It’s something that you manually specify. But if you have ever seen any video from previous episodes, we usually enter let’s see a delivery task, which is the final task that’s done in the project. And what you can do with air table is that you can set the due date of the project to automatically show the latest due date that you have in your tasks table. So way that you do it is that you added the Due Date field and you change the type to roll out. So roll up basically does some sort of aggregation, or as you can see, summarization from linked records. And by default, the template that we use is already linked to the tasks because the task that we create, they want to belong to one project.

So in this case, we’re doing a roll up using the tasks table, and we are going to choose the field that is under task. And that is the due date. So the due date for each task. And instead of using this default one, we’re just going to use max value. And if I save this and confirmed change, you’re going to now see that the due date for the brand refresh and redesign project that has been created along with template is May 9 2022. And the reason why it’s May 9 22, is if we go to the task and look at Brand refresh and design and look at all the due dates for the tasks under this project, you can see that the latest one is May 9 2022. So if I change this date to let’s say today, which is November 7 2023. Now if we go back to projects, you can see the due date has been automatically changed, because it’s taking the maximum due date that we have in the tasks. Now that the project’s table is final, at least for me, let’s head to task stable, and we’re going to clean this up a little bit as well. So here you can see a bunch of fields that we have status, we’re going to keep it subtask, we’re going to keep it assigned to we’re going to keep that project lead, I’m going to delete that field kickoff and new day we’re going to keep track of here in this case basically means it’s like a start date. So I want I can also rename it to start date. And here we have the related docs, which is showing a little bit of an issue. The reason is because this I believe is related to the attachments field that we previously deleted for projects. So I’m going to get rid of this field. And here we have the important field, which is projects. And this is basically what links the tasks to the respective projects, you’ve already seen a little bit of fancy thing that we can do with the roll up that we need for the projects. Similarly, we can use this field that has been created through the template and that is days to complete. And this field is a formula. This formula basically calculates the difference in days between the due date and the start date of our tasks. In our case, however we are interested in let’s see how many work days certain tasks takes because the current formula also counts Saturdays and Sundays. So the way that you can change this is that you can use work day diff function, and this one first argument is the start date and then end date. So I actually need to change the order of these fields. And these fields basically represent the columns or the fields that we have here for each task, and it calculates dates by default. So this should be our formula. And as you can see here, it changed from nine to eight because it’s actually not counting the Saturdays Sundays now if you follow the series, you know that for status, I usually like to add some special things like hats up sin has confirmed and of Santa had confirmed we already have a bunch of statuses predefined here. And this is how you can easily add more statuses if you want to. For now I’m just going to keep it the default one as it is. And let’s go with that.

Final thing that I would like to note is the way that air table handles subtasks at least from the template that we use. As you can see here we have a field for sub tasks. But if you look at the field, it’s actually a text field along with text and you can also use rich text formatting which is what actually are allows us to add these little checkboxes. So I can just type as I would I don’t know, in Google Docs. And that’s what creates these subtasks. Unfortunately, this subtasks don’t have their own information, like the main task, like they don’t have a start date or due date. If you wanted to do that, you could do that. But again, to keep it simple, we’re going to follow the template given by air table for project management.

Now that the structure for our tables is more or less set, what I’m going to do next is to get rid of all the data that the template edit for us. So I’m just going to select all the tasks here, right click and delete all tasks. And I’m going to do the same for projects. Now we have a base, as it’s called an air table, Project Tracker with two tables, projects and tasks, and they’re both empty. So let’s start adding our usual data for our localization projects. First, I’m going to start with the more complicated one. And then I’m going to quickly add one more so that you can see how you can view what needs to be done across all your projects. So let’s start by creating Project A, and really this whole setup this grid set up this table really behave some sort of like a Google sheet. So it shouldn’t be difficult for you where the status, we can say that this one is in execution, or kickoff date, let’s say we’re going to start next Monday. And for due date, we actually cannot enter it because it depends on the task that we create for this project. And now our project has no tasks. If I want to add a task for this one, I’m going to have to switch to the tasks table. And this is where we can start adding tasks.

First thought that we’re going to add is reprocessing. And it’s going to be 10 hours of work. If we want it, we could add a special field that would contain the information about the effort, but I’m just going to put it into the title or the status, I’m going to say that let’s say this one was complete, there are no sub tasks assigned to let’s say me for start date, we’re going to say started last Thursday, and it finished on Friday. So you can see here now the base to complete, automatically calculated, and what we need to do most importantly is to link it to project a now as you can see, our task is already put on the project A and the reason why it looks like this is that this view already groups the tasks by the project. So as soon as we assign this task project a it put the project a here into this sort of like a grouping. So if I add another task here, as you can see, it’s automatically going to be added to project a. And if I wanted to add another task, that’s not part of Project A, I could either change the field or I can use it from here, which is going to add pretty much clean row without any really fine projects.

Next, I’m going to add a new task on the project a which would be translation, this one will be 15k words, and we’re going to say that this one is in progress, and I’m going to assign to myself is going to start let’s say yesterday, and since it’s 15k, it should be roughly eight days. So that’s one week plus three days here, right eight days, perfect. Now, the thing is that for our project a we’re going to have sort of like two different scopes for different language groups, we are going to have German and Japanese which actually does translation manual translation, and then we’re going to have French and Korean or which we’re going to use machine translation post editing. Now if I want to serve like a create a group of tasks under Project A in some of the platforms, you can do that right away here, the way how we do it is that we actually need to add another field which will be single select. Now I’m going to name it ask us crew camera to create the fields. And here we’re going to say that translation is part of the German Japanese group. Okay. And then if we want to show it in the sort of hierarchy, we’re going to add another grouping by another group, which will this time be the task group. Okay, so here we have the translation under German, Japanese and pre processing we have as something that doesn’t belong to any task group yet because we haven’t defined it but what I can do is I can say that this one is language independent, not a problem, as you can see here is that our translation is peering first on the list, even though it follows the pre processing that’s done for Lane In which independent group and the reason for that is that the sorting that we have for the task group is actually based on the way that options in the task group are set.

So if we want to fix that, we’re going to edit the newly created task group field and basically just drag and drop language independent group before the German and Japanese I saved this, it should be showing correctly right now another thing when it comes to sorting is that you can also and of course, I highly suggested is that you can set up a sorting here by the due date so that as we add tasks into our project, and we shuffle them, it’s going to be automatically sorted, so that we see what task follows or not. One final thing before I load up all the other projects for this task is I’m going to add the third option, which will be French and Korean. And I just make sure that that one follows German Japanese. So our order for Tosca will be language independent first, and we have the German Japanese workflow, and then we’re going to have French and Korean. And now I’ll see you in a bit as soon as I load up all the tasks, and we’re back. So now I have all the tasks here. So language independent group, the same thing, as we had before are German, Japanese, these are all the tasks that we have. So we have two rounds of the DB and QA. And we have done we have the standard translation and review, which starts everything and then we have delivery on December 1. And then for the French and Korean group, we do the mtpe. And then we just do round of DDP and a QA and the delivery ends on November 17. So this is our first project in the system.

Before I show you the Gantt chart, let me actually quickly add another project, this one will be project B. And these are the tasks for Project B are a simple translation review. And then delivery since for Project B, we don’t need to distinguish between different workflows for different sets of languages, I left the task group as empty, but that shouldn’t be an issue. So here you can already see the beautiful structure. And here are key that we set up, which I think is one of the biggest advantages of air table because this thing where you can set up multiple different layers of grouping, I haven’t seen that in I think almost none of the other platforms that I tried for so can simply lapse and expand as much as you want. And this is just the first part. Now finally, we can jump into the Gantt chart view which as usually, I’m going to say this is my favorite view and how you can visualize your projects where you are what needs to be done. And by default, the initial table that we have here already contains a view for death. It’s this one number three, so see work on Gantt chart, and here you can see something very beautiful, you can already see that it’s grouped by projects. So here we have project A and project B. Fortunately, right now, it’s still not grouped by the task groups that we edit before. But it’s again, not a big thing, because we can just add the same subgroup here like we did to the other view that we used before. So I’m going to add a task group. And as you can see here, pretty much should match what we have in this table view. So now I can see a very clear distinction, I can see that this is the language independent group. This is the German Japanese group is a French and Korean group for project A and then here we have project B, which doesn’t have any group but can see here it is translation, review, and then delivery. I think this is one of the best Gantt charts that I’ve seen before simply because of the way how you can customize it. And if you want you can already do some stuff even from here, you can double click on a task which is going to open this pop up window and you can add some more stuff to it or add comments to this specific task.

Now final thing before we wrap this video, one thing that I forgot to mention before is how we can go let’s say granular sins, let’s say for translation, we want to track German and Japanese separately, let’s say once they’re completed translation and for that, we can use the sub task field which I have left here. So if you double click into it, and you click this thing, you’re going to have this option to edit checklist. So here since this is German Japanese, we can add sort of like check boxes for German Japanese and then as we receive let’s say German translation, we can take it off and then when we receive Japanese we can take that off as well then we save the field and maybe after that we set the whole task to complete so now our tutorial should be complete.

I hope you have learned something new with this. I really started using air table just yesterday and to be honest, I was a little bit scared about it because you Now it talks about databases and tables, which is not so straightforward as hey, here’s a button to create a project, here’s a button to create a task and so on, like with the other platforms. But hopefully with this video, you see that it’s not that difficult, especially if you get started with a template that you can simply use and then adapt to your own needs. And then if you want to learn more about the features of air table, you will see that you can do much more with air table than what you can do with the other platforms. So I think it’s worth giving it a shot. As you have seen getting you get 14 days free trial with air table. And I think it’s really just working base for like Team addition, I’m pretty sure there’s a free version of air table as well, which maybe you can use for your own individual projects if you don’t need to set this up and run this throughout your organization. So thank you for watching this tutorial for air table and how to use it for localization projects. I’m Andre and I’ll see you in the next video. See ya

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