Interview with Michael Bastin - CEO at BeTranslated
Michael Bastin, the Project Manager at BeTranslated is passionate about languages ever since he was a kid, and all his experiences are connected to foreign languages, and especially the one from the Dominican Republic had a strong impact on what is today BeTranslated.
In this interview, Michael will share more about this topic, but also free time, hobbies, and, productivity
Hi Mike, welcome to TechBehemoths! Please tell us a little about yourself. Your background and how did you come to this point?
Well, I’m a language lover, I have been interested in languages since I was ten, which was when I started learning German. My first exposure to foreign languages was at a holiday camp and that was when I decided to become a translator. This was also my first experience abroad. I studied languages in high school, travelled to the US and then did my degree in translation at the University of Mons. Then I became a serial ex-pat, and lived between the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and Mexico. I lived in the Dominican Republic for 16 years until I finally decided to move closer to my natural market which is France and Belgium. However, I wasn’t so keen on the idea of returning to the grey climate of Northern Europe, so I chose Spain, which I thought offered the best of both worlds.
When and how did you start your business? Is there an interesting story here?
The interesting story of how it all began was that I developed an interest in SEO well before it was popular, before Google even existed. This was a big factor for me starting my own business and has been a passion of mine for a long time now. As for how BeTranslated came to be, during my time working for iLanguage.com in the Dominican Republic, I was given the task of writing a business plan. But they didn’t really take it into consideration, so after two years I started planning my own company based on my own business plan. Back then, my boss had the idea of having 400 translators work at the same location and I was more like, yeah, let’s only work with translators when there’s work, hiring project managers and working remotely. Back then, this wasn’t as common a model as it is today. So that’s how it all began with BeTranslated in August 2002.
What do you think you’d be doing right now if your business didn’t exist?
I would probably be working for somebody else. I would most likely be in charge of some SEO department or be working as a production manager, or perhaps in online marketing. I do occasionally wonder what my life would have been like if I had chosen this path, but I think every entrepreneur has this feeling.
What’s your technique for staying productive throughout the day?
Coffee! I’m not really Steve Jobs, I don’t have any magic solution. I just make it happen, I’m self-motivated. I just wake up every morning and say, “Let’s do this!”. Bringing in interns helps me stay motivated because it refreshes my passion for the job. Teaching the younger generation gives me a sense of purpose, beyond just thinking about how to bring in revenue. Passing on the knowledge I have accumulated over the years to the new generation, that’s what motivates me. It keeps me young. And of course, my dog Milo, the office mascot, also helps me stay motivated.
How do you define “being successful”?
For me it would really be to have my business run itself without me being there so many hours
,that’s what I would say. Lots of vacations, not being stressed. Handing the stress over to someone else!
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
For me it’s work hard and rest hard. I really enjoyed travelling when it was possible. That’s always been my motivation in life. Meeting with friends, playing poker, going to the beach. Before Covid, I would often go to the Dominican Republic with my family.
What are your recommendations for a business or developer novice?
You have to really believe in what you do, to believe that what you’re doing makes sense and that you’re going to reach your objective one day. Don’t try to reach your objectives too quickly because then you’ll feel lost afterward. I met my objectives very fast, and it can sometimes feel a bit “been there done that”. It’s about creating new objectives. When I came to Spain I focused on making the .com website, now I have the UK one, the FR one, and we now even have our website in Korean, Lithuanian, Russian... It’s also about keeping up with new technical challenges.
My advice would be to set your short-term, mid-term and long-term objectives, and build up to your final goals.
My last recommendation would be to preserve the work-life balance. It’s a cliché but it is also very true.
Thanks for your time and wise advice, Michael. Your story is inspiring and insightful with a lot of valuable lessons to learn from. Good Luck to you and BeTranslated team, and looking forward to hearing from you soon.
BeTranslated is one of the most reputable companies on TechBehemoths. If you like this interview and think Mike and his team can help you with translation projects, don't hesitate to contact him on TechBehemoths, or, on social media: