I graduated with a Modern Languages degree from Oxford University in 1966. I then went, rather disastrously, into teaching, and subsequently followed a quite heterogeneous and abnormal career path, which included a few years in the 1990s as an artists’ model at the local college of further education (which had a good Fine Arts department). It was not until about the year 2000 that I turned again to my language skills. I picked up one of my old set texts - it may have been Borchert or Böll, I forget - and, idly, began to translate into English. I found the process strangely satisfying, so I looked around for an author who had not been translated. I found Nicolas Born’s novel Die erdabgewandte Seite der Geschichte, set in the Bohemian circles of Berlin in the 1960s (his other novel Die Fälschung is available in English as The Deception, translated by Leila Vennewitz, and was filmed by Volker Schlöndorff, with Bruno Ganz playing the leading role). I translated it, and actually looked for a publisher. I had no luck. But I approached a translation agency, picked at random from the Yellow Pages, and, on its advice, took the Institute of Linguists’ Diploma in Translation. After that, it was not long before I came across inquiries for translators for a project translating the Pauly Encyclopaedia of the Ancient World into English, and the rest is, literally, history, mostly of the ancient kind. But I still feel a kind of yearning about Nicolas Born’s novel. I enjoy yoga, walking, cycling, and music, and try to paint watercolours.
Selection of translated titles:
- Jörg Rüpke: The Roman Calendar from Numa to Constantine (Kalender und Öffentlichkeit). Wiley, 2011
- Jörg Rüpke: Fasti sacerdotum (Fasti sacerdotum). Oxford University Press, 2008
- A number of contributions to the English translation of:
Brill´s New Pauly : encyclopaedia of the ancient world (Der neue Pauly). Brill, 2002 ff.