The Manu Is Not The Meal

If he's not standing at the barbecue, he's probably rehearsing with one of his bands. And he knows all there is to know about car mechanics, even though he prefers cycling. Meet Manu Van Bockstaele: father of three, project manager and our knight in shining armour when we have any IT issues!

What did you study?
After a few excursions into Germanic Philology and Political and Social Sciences, I ended up at the Provincial Institute for Translators and Interpreters (PHVT), where I studied English and German. 

What other jobs have you done in the past?
I spent a long time working in the automotive sector. Like many newly graduated translators, my first job was at Volvo Action Service. I was a Breakdown Coordinator, helping a lot of drivers who got into trouble on the road. I could use my language skills while gaining new technical knowledge, a combination I really enjoyed. After ten years or so at Volvo, I started working for the trailer and semitrailer manufacturer Schmitz Cargobull. I drew up quotations for the sales staff and configured trailers in line with client requirements. After that, I joined Trelleborg Wheel Systems. You'd be amazed to discover all the shapes and sizes wheels and tyres come in. Well not the shapes, perhaps. They do tend to be round :-) 

How did you end up at Blue Lines?
I met Stef at Volvo Action Service, which is the number-one meeting place for translators and interpreters in Ghent! We had a few mutual friends and kept in touch. And I’ve been married to Stef's sister Lies for ten years now, so, you know, we see each other at family parties from time to time ;-) Stef asked me to join Team Blue while I was still working at Trelleborg, and here I am! 

What do you think of your job?
I really enjoy my work. I learn a lot because we translate such a wide range of texts. If translators have any questions about the content of a source text, I always look for the answer myself first. The search, finding answers and gaining new knowledge – all these things make me happy. 

What are your hobbies?
I love to cook, especially if I can use my barbecue. Another passion is music. I play guitar with Wiwok and bass with StrawMan. Wiwok is the best five-man Dutch-language band in Ghent no one has ever heard of ;-). In 2020, we’ll have had the same line-up for 15 years and we’re going to celebrate with a big performance and a few smaller café gigs. After 15 years, we've become a super-tight band. When we're together, there's magic in the air. 

What motivates you?
I aim to please. As a project manager, you need to be able to keep different balls in the air at the same time, rather like a juggler. Clients have to be satisfied, translators need the necessary time and support, the budget must be right, the deadline must be met and so on. If it all works out, and fortunately it usually does, then I'm happy ;-) I enjoy getting positive feedback from customers too. I always share it with our translators, as they are one of the most important reasons for our success, of course. I love the fact that translators are willing to go the extra mile for us, for example by sticking to a very tight deadline or by doing thorough research and spotting a mistake in the source text as a result. Our clients really appreciate that. 

Can you tell us about your family?
I'm the proud father of three. I have two daughters from a first marriage and a son with Lies. Lisa is 19 and studying history, Hanne is 17 and in his final year of secondary school and Emiel is in his fourth year at primary school. 

Is there a particular translation project you’ll never forget?
There are definitely some projects that stick in your memory for longer than others, for various reasons. It’s sometimes difficult to understand how complicated a seemingly simple project can become. Fortunately, we always manage to bring everything to a successful conclusion. 

What kinds of things are still on your bucket list?
I would love to create a ripple in the Flemish pop and rock pond with our band Wiwok one day.
Just imagine, Wiwok: the best five-man Dutch-language band in Ghent that some people have actually heard of ;-) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwE9d85CGKs 

Is there a question (about your character) that we shouldn’t ask you? 
Whether I really am a procrastinator, because you might end up waiting quite a long time for the answer. 

Would you like a quotation?

Experience for yourself what a difference Blue Lines can make when you request a translation. We look forward to exceeding your expectations!

Request a quotation