Åsa Zimmerman


Our Head of Production on fairness culture, growth and the Plint filter

Text by Daniel Palm
Photography by Steve Warburton

From master files delivered on VHS tapes to automated and cloud-based global operations – long-time Plinter and Head of Production, Åsa Zimmerman, has seen the localization industry change from her vantage point at Plint, now celebrating 20 years of business.

Today, Plint’s media localization operations are global and handled by diverse teams of project managers, freelancers, and in-house software developers. But things looked a lot different when our company founder Per Nauclér recruited Åsa as our first project manager back in 2004. She left behind a steady job at a text translation office to join the fast-changing world of a rookie company then called Nordisk Undertext, with high ideals of making the freelancer localization business a bit friendlier.

“Back then, we localized a lot of TV series into Nordic languages, mainly for DVD production” recalls Åsa. “I learned time coding and project management from the ground up by asking tons of questions. Nordisk Undertext has always had such a fantastic culture of supporting people when they learn on the job”.

Per Nauclér, Johan Gladh and Åsa Zimmerman at Plint HQ in Gothenburg.

Countless seasons of Midsomer Murders, other British crime series, and the Lord of the Rings movies passed through the office and servers of our then fairly small company. Nordisk Undertext had been founded by subtitlers with a keen eye for new technical solutions, and soon began to develop its own software to move away from heavy-footed routines into quicker and more agile workflows.

Plint already had a very special workplace culture in the early days, and it was something that Åsa and her colleagues made sure to bring along as our company grew, launched cloud-based workflows, entered a partnership with Netflix, and finally blossomed into an ambitious re-branded company in 2019. Plint was now taking care of more and more clients, moved to bigger offices in downtown Gothenburg, and Åsa ended up becoming a Plint senior manager – quite an unexpected leap from her translation studies at the University of Gothenburg two decades ago. Instilled with the company mindset from day one, Åsa still uses her mental “Plint filter” when important decisions need to be made:

“I keep asking myself – is this the reasonable thing to do? Is it fair towards our clients, our freelancers, our vendors, and our employees? Can we execute that project in a competent and safe manner for everyone involved, or are we taking shortcuts?”

Åsa stresses that Plint’s values are not empty words. “The reason why we treat our freelancers well isn’t just that it’s the nice thing to do, or because it makes us feel good. It’s really a central part of who we are as a company,” she says. “It’s essential if we want to change the media localization business model and deliver long-term, sustainable solutions.”