Meet the Translator: Elizabeth Hughes Schneewind, MA, LCSW

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Elizabeth specializes in the translation of German texts into English. Her exposure to German began as a fourteen year old when she lived in Frankfurt for a year. This was followed by attendance at the University of Munich and at Brown University where she completed an MA in philosophy. She is an ATA certified translator.

At Brown, as she was studying the work of the influential German philosopher Franz Brentano, it became obvious that the existing English translations of his work were not of high quality. Rather than working with a substandard translation, she did a completely new translation of one of his seminal works. She later translated some his lectures on ethics at the request of a foundation that had been set up to propagate his work.

Although Elizabeth eventually pursued a career in social work, opportunities often arose that allowed her to use her translation skills. Among the philosophers whose works she has translated are Hans Reichenbach and Viktor Kraft.  Other projects have included the translation of the memoirs of a gentleman who lived in Alsace during the Franco-Prussian war as well as the published book “For the Love of Cats”. A recent project centering on the life of a Swiss national who lived in Russia and experienced the demise of the Soviet Union will be published this spring.

Elizabeth has been a member of the Circle for about 9 years. She has enjoyed the monthly meetings and remembers in particular the discussion on literary translation that occurred last year. Her advice to fledgling translators is to “get the word out” about one’s skills possibly through direct advertising in relevant publications. She also strongly advocates extensive reading of literature in both the source and target languages.

We thank Elizabeth for sharing her translating experiences with the Circle.

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