Member Profile: Georges Bastin

The Canadian Association for Translation Studies is proud to launch a new initiative today: member profiles. The series will be published on a monthly basis during the fall and winter terms to encourage our members to get to know one another, learn more about the people they already know, and expand their networks.

For our inaugural post, we are featuring Georges L. Bastin, full professor at the Université de Montréal.

Why did you choose Translation Studies?

Actually, I didn’t choose Translation Studies, I chose translation. I wanted to become a translator. That’s why my language combination when I did my BA in Belgium was English, French, and Dutch. Then I immigrated to Venezuela and translated eight hours a day for three long years. After that, I turned to teaching and, gradually, toward Translation Studies so that I could become a better teacher. That’s when I decided to pursue a doctorate. My thesis focused on adaptation in translation.

What are your areas of research?

My areas of research are translation history and the pedagogy of translation, professional writing and revision. But history has been my main focus. I am on my fourth SSHRC research project. I started by studying founding documents from Venezuela’s emancipation movement. Next, I researched the independentist press, and after that, the language activities of missionaries. Right now, I’m studying travel narratives in Venezuela and Columbia in the 19th century.

What book/film/band has made the biggest impression on you recently?

I found the album You Want It Darker by Leonard Cohen very moving. And of course, I was very affected by Cohen’s death, the Leonard Cohen exhibition at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC), the publication of The Flame collection, and Canada Post’s recent tribute to Cohen.

As for books, I rarely have time to ready anything but Translation Studies research.

If you had one piece of advice to give new Translation Studies students, what would it be?

Don’t believe there are no jobs, but be realistic about your skills and accomplishments.

Follow your passion, dig into your subject and believe in yourself. Give it your all.

For doctoral students, I pass on a piece of advice that I myself received: dive deeply into a very narrow topic. Keep in mind that it’s still too early to revolutionize the discipline!