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Helene-Jaccomard

Emeritus Professor Hélène Jaccomard

School of Humanities

"Be bold, you are not an imposter! Keep on reading widely and learning wisely. Support others, and women in particular, in achieving their ambitions."

Hélène Jaccomard’s career spans three decades in research, teaching and organisational leadership at The University of Western Australia, where she also earned her doctoral degree in the early 1990s.

In 2014, she expanded her affiliation with French studies to Translation Studies, teaching and publishing simultaneously in both fields. Her publications encompass five books, nearly 65 peer-reviewed articles and three translations. In 2008, she was appointed the Managing Editor of the French studies journal, Essays in French Literature and Culture, established at UWA, and now in its sixth decade of existence. Under her stewardship, the journal expanded its reach significantly and is now available online and Open Access, and attracts world-renowned researchers.

Beyond her institutional roles, she is a member of the Advisory Board for the Australian Journal of French Studies at Monash University and the editorial team of The Aalitra review at Melbourne University. Internationally, Hélène Jaccomard’s contributions to French Studies in Australia were formally recognised in 2009 through her induction as an Officier des Palmes academiques by the French Ministry of Education.

Most important experiences while at UWA

My 33-year career at UWA exemplifies the remarkable growth opportunities within the workplace. It commenced in the 1990s when I joined as a part-time tutor and research assistant in French Studies. As the 2000s unfolded, I was privileged to secure a permanent position, and rapid promotions ensued, eventually reaching Level E. Additionally, I seized the chance to broaden my horizons in Translation Studies.

Throughout this journey, the unwavering support of my colleagues and the professional staff played a pivotal role in shaping me into a fully-fledged academic. Their belief in my potential often surpassed my own self-assurance, making this career path a truly enriching experience.

Where did you think you would end up, when you began your career?

Initially, my aspirations were modest, envisioning a role focused on teaching and research as a permanent staff member. Little did I know that my actual career path would far exceed these humble expectations.

What are some of your most significant achievements?

My achievements encompass a range of significant contributions, including:

  • Advocating for the significance and applicability of learning foreign languages.
  • Nurturing curiosity and fostering critical thinking in my students.
  • Pioneering the creation and growth of a ground-breaking program, the Master in Translation Studies, which introduced the first professional degree in foreign languages in Western Australia.
  • Authoring five books, publishing more than 65 peer-reviewed articles, crafting nine book chapters, and producing a dozen non-refereed publications

What has been the most interesting aspect of your career?

The most captivating facet of my career lies in the harmonious fusion of my passion for diverse languages and cultures, my fervour for imparting knowledge and expertise, and my aspiration to be part of an intellectually-aligned community, all within the framework of a versatile and fulfilling professional journey.

It has been truly captivating to witness so many of my students realise their full potential, evolving into accomplished professionals as translators, linguists, academics, or diplomats.

The diverse leadership roles I undertook, including positions as French Studies convenor, Chair of European Languages and Studies, and Arts Faculty Associate Dean (Education), consistently presented me with novel and exciting challenges.

Where are you planning to go from here? Are there new interests you are looking to get involved in?

I aim to uphold a strong affiliation with the University in a dual capacity: firstly, by overseeing the completion of the three PhD theses I am currently supervising, and secondly, by sustaining my 18-year role as the editor of the French Studies journal, Essays in French Literature and Culture.

Furthermore, a longstanding aspiration of mine has been to venture into the realm of literary translation into French, particularly in the domain of Australian novels and non-fiction works. Leveraging my research on translation and my experience with three previously translated books, I am eager to pursue this ambition.

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