Summer 2017. I am busy with editorial projects for the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the International Renewable Energy Agency. My translation of Bernard-Henri Lévy's L'Esprit du judaïsme appeared in January under the title The Genius of Judaism (Random House). I continue to translate BHL's opinion and reporting for newspapers and magazines around the world. And I've just begun a new translation project: a guide to research opportunities in France available to Americans, among others. At some point I hope to get around to updating this website! But my resume, project list, and contact information are current.
What can I do for you?
Today, particularly in institutional settings, texts often are assembled rather than written. What gets left out in the process, in addition, obviously, to the author's voice and attention to the reader's eyes and mental ears, is the concern for elegance, brevity, sequence, rhythm, connection, and flow. I fix that. I pare text to its essentials, and match it to its audience. I help authors who speak other languages recognize themselves—in English. I impart consistency and an even voice to texts by multiple authors who write and think in different registers and with different vocabularies. It is a recondite but satisfying quest.
A decade as a successful association publications director taught me to apply the publisher’s and the reader’s perspectives simultaneously in all my projects. Often I serve as writer-editor and project manager (recruiting and supervising translators, copyeditors, designers, and printers). Knowledge of the entire publishing process improves coherence, speeds delivery, and adds value.
Over 35 years I have translated thousands of pages of technical, legal, and corporate French. Recent work includes illustrated histories of the French embassy residences in Washington and Ottawa, websites and marketing material for CampusFrance, a national agency responsible for promoting higher education in France, and columns and other work by French writer Bernard-Henri Lévy.
My fascination with translation began in college with Baudelaire and Rimbaud. In what sense, I wondered, were the English renditions "the same" as the originals ? Four decades later, I still don't know. In much of my work the question is moot—the translation works if it accomplishes the same purpose as the original. With literature, art, philosophy, and rhetoric, however, the question is not moot at all; it haunts and fascinates. In a deep sense, translation, like acting, is a sort of subordinated creativity—bounded in that one must operate within the bounds of the script.
Most—not all—of my writing is an extension of my editing work. I supply summaries, segues, intros, signposts, shortcuts, links, and transitions that authors, in their zeal, sometimes leave out. I'm good at speaking plainly about complex subjects. I'm logical. I choose verbs and nouns that make adverbs and adjectives unnecessary.