Tell us about your education. What did you study?
I took Latin and modern languages at secondary school. Then I did a Master’s in multidisciplinary translation, English and Dutch, at the Institut Libre Marie Haps in Brussels.
What other jobs have you done in the past?
I’ve been working for Blue Lines since I graduated. Before that, my professional experience was limited to a few student jobs at Orval Abbey, Mobistar and Delhaize.
How did you end up at Blue Lines?
During the second year of my Master’s, I had to do a 12-week work placement. My partner was working at the Port of Ghent at the time and suggested that I find a placement in Ghent so that we could move in together. So I went looking for placements at translation agencies in the Ghent area and Stef replied to my application quite quickly. I passed the translation test and did my placement from February 2011 to the end of April 2011. At the end of my placement, Stef and Sofie were looking to expand their team and they asked me if I was interested in carrying on working for them as a freelancer. So here I am, still on the team after more than 10 years!
How would you describe your work at Blue Lines?
I’m a project manager and proofreader. My colleagues and I receive requests for translation from the clients, we draw up quotes, and once they’ve been accepted we contact the freelance translators and proofreaders. Once the proofreader has delivered their work, we carry out a final check before delivering to the client. As I’m the only French speaker on the team, I’m responsible for proofreading all the French texts we handle. During quiet periods, we also have other tasks to do, such as looking for new translators, marking translation tests, improving our workflow etc.
How would you describe Blue Lines?
I’ve been working for Blue Lines for more than a decade now. To begin with it was just me with Sofie and Stef. I had my own little routine… There are so many of us now, and that has really changed the dynamic. Changes are always implemented with a real group spirit, and everyone is allowed to express their opinion or feelings. Blue Lines is rather like a family: despite their differences, everyone has a place. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and it turns out that we complement one another perfectly.
How do you feel about your work?
I love my work! I never get bored! I’m very curious by nature and I love reading the texts that come in for translation, no matter what the subject is (except maybe economics and finance, because most of that goes over my head, hahaha). I learn new things every day. I also love being in contact with the clients and translators (except on the phone hahaha), and I love working hard to complete a project on time, making sure all the clients’ wishes are met. I also work as a freelance translator for other clients. When people ask me what I do, I explain that I’m lucky enough to see things from both sides: on one hand, I’m the project manager who contacts the freelance translators, while on the other hand I’m the freelance translator who gets contacted by translation agencies. This dual experience is a real bonus! I can put myself in everyone’s shoes, which helps me do my work to the best of my abilities: now and again I have to make the people on one side aware of the needs of the people on the other side, and vice versa.
Do you have any hobbies, passions, secrets or amazing stories to tell us?
My biggest passion is horse riding, and particularly my own horse, Faith. He’s a breath of fresh air. Faith is therapeutic for me; whenever I’m with him, he helps me relax and forget about any problems I might have. I’m also a really big fan of Lord of the Rings. My house is bursting with posters, statues, books, DVDs etc. My best friend is also a fan, and we have a kind of Christmas tradition where we give each other presents connected with Lord of the Rings.
Could you tell us about your family?
My husband and I have a daughter, Alice, and a son called Maxime.
What’s the biggest challenge in your job?
Staying diplomatic… I’m often very direct – too direct – and when I’ve got something to say, I say it. But with the clients, you have to be polite. I’ve got better at it over the years but just to be on the safe side, I still ask my colleagues sometimes whether my reply is acceptable or a bit blunt 😉
What motivates you?
Doing a job well, and my perfectionist side. I like knowing that people are happy with my work; that puts me in a good mood and encourages me to work even harder. I also love being able to pass on positive feedback from clients to the translators. I’ve developed something close to a friendship with some of the translators. I like asking them how they’re doing and finding out what they did at the weekend, for example. I know I can count on them and they can count on me. It makes my day-to-day work even more enjoyable.
What job could/would you never do?
Working for a call centre. I hate using the phone. Long live SMS and other chat applications 😉
What skills do you think a person needs to be a good project manager?
You have to be able to withstand pressure and stay calm. You need to have an eye for detail, be organised and be able to juggle several tasks at the same time. And finally, I’d say that being able to anticipate the needs of clients and translators can also prove very useful, but that comes with experience.
Is there a particular translation project you’ll never forget?
Difficult to say – I’ve done so many over the years…
What’s on your bucket list?
I’d love to take my horse to the seaside one day, go on a “Lord of the Rings” tour of New Zealand and visit Yellowstone in the USA again.
What question should we not ask you?
“Where do you see yourself in 5, 10 or 20 years?” I have enough trouble figuring out what I’m going to eat tonight, let alone plan for the next decade 😉 Seriously though, my path in life has taught me that there’s often no point making long-term plans, as you never know what the future holds. When I was younger, I always wanted to plan everything, but I ended up having to change everything, and that really stressed me out. Nowadays, I just don’t worry. I take life’s challenges as they come and I look for a solution in the moment, knowing that it might be a temporary solution. After all, you can’t take anything for granted.