translatorplease specializes in the translation of scholarly and literary texts from German into English. An expert knowledge of German history and culture—grounded upon years of teaching, writing, and scholarship—informs every translation.

Elizabeth Janik, translator and owner of translatorplease


About me

My name is Elizabeth Janik, and I translate scholarly and literary texts from German into English. I particularly enjoy historical projects and the additional research they involve. A details-oriented enthusiasm for clear, elegant writing informs all of my work.

In 2012, I was named runner-up in the German Book Office’s first competition for aspiring German- English translators. I established translatorplease soon thereafter, and I’ve worked as an independent translator and writer ever since.

I like to stay informed about the arts and culture in Germany today. If you do, too, please check out my online review of German culture in the English-language media,, or follow me on Twitter.

I hold a Ph.D. in History and a M.A. in German and European Studies from Georgetown University, and a Graduate Certificate in Translation from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. My book, Recomposing German Music: Politics and Musical Tradition in Cold War Berlin, explores the tangled relationship between German music and politics in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War.

I live with my husband and two sons in Norfolk, Virginia. Since I’m often thinking (and translating) globally, I act locally whenever I can. I’m an advocate for public education and refugee resettlement in my community, and I’m a regular contributor to the Hampton Roads State of the Region Report, an annual publication of the Dragas Center for Economic Policy and Analysis at Old Dominion University.

Areas of expertise

I specialize in the translation of scholarly and literary texts from German into English, including:

  • Nonfiction manuscripts
  • Book proposals
  • Conference papers
  • Grant applications

I am well-versed in the idiosyncrasies of academia and scholarly publishing, and I enjoy working closely with authors, editors, and publishers to translate works of German scholarship into accurate, clear, and polished English. I’m a stickler for detail, and I work to ensure that all aspects of a text adhere to up-to-date scholarly practice and any other given specifications.

I understand that a well-rendered English translation is essential for attracting an international readership in many different fields. I take pride in crafting translations that not only meet the highest professional standards, but are also enjoyable to read.


I am a keen proofreader and editor of English texts, particularly those that have been translated or written by non-native speakers. I specialize in sharpening and refining academic texts so they will appeal to their intended audience and meet the expectations of U.S. publishers.

  • Proofreading entails checking for errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and other details.
  • Editing is a more time-intensive process; it includes proofreading, correcting style and content, proposing broader revisions, and (where appropriate) consulting a German source text to cross-check the reliability of a translation into English.

Nonfiction manuscripts

Conference papers


Book proposals

Grant applications



A Sad Fiasco: Colonial Concentration Camps in Southern Africa, 1900–1908

April 1, 2019

The Great Cauldron: A History of Southeastern Europe

December 3, 2018

The Mission of the American Board in Syria: Implications of a Transcultural Dialogue

December 1, 2018

Latest Blog Posts

Southeastern Europe takes center stage

| History, Translation | No Comments
One of the best things about translating the work of an accomplished historian is learning more about a part of the world I’m less familiar with, about themes I hadn’t…

The Bauhaus centennial: More is more

| Art & Design | No Comments
It's been 100 years since the first incarnation of the legendary art and design school opened its doors in Weimar, Germany—and there is no shortage of new exhibitions, books, essays,…

The Spiegel Affair, 2018

| Et Cetera, Translation | No Comments
Der Spiegel found itself in the news for all the wrong reasons at the end of 2018. One of the newsmagazine’s most high-profile reporters, Claas Relotius, was found not just…

In Memoriam: Anthea Bell (1936-2018)

| Books & Ideas, Translation | No Comments
I was sorry to hear that Anthea Bell, literary translator extraordinaire, passed away on October 18.  She once stated that “by definition translation is not – and in my view…