Sean Williams, PhD

freelance translator

I have always been in love with language.  I was a voracious reader as a child, and picked up languages quickly.  I began studying Spanish at age 11, became briefly fluent in Nepali, and picked up a smattering of Japanese, Chinese, German, and ancient Greek along the way.  My love of reading, pursued through countless novels, non-fiction, newspapers, magazines, and anything else available, eventually led to a PhD in philosophy.  I learned French in the course of my graduate study, lived for several months in Paris, and read, translated, and worked in French extensively, as my concentration was in French phenomenology.

I worked as a professional translator to support myself during graduate school, and also pursued a simultaneous career in outdoor education, working as a mountaineering and sea kayaking instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School (  This led me to spend a cumulative two years in Mexico and Chile, advancing my Spanish as I lived and worked in a bilingual environment. 

My translation work is now full-time, and I have expanded my business and range of services accordingly, using TRADOS and becoming a Proz Certified Pro.  I am a member of the American Translator’s Association, and regularly pursue ongoing training and professional development.  I intentionally maintain a wide range of specializations and areas of interest. I have found that while some concentration is helpful to gain ever-greater fluency in a subject area, it is just as important to keep my work interesting and challenging, with more variety than repetition. I think this keeps me on my toes.

The foundations of my translation work are my academic and intellectual experience, my wide reading and travel, and my experience living and working in both French and Spanish.  I have found that my academic background and variety of interests help me to gain fluency in new fields very quickly.  I look forward to expanding both my commercial work and my academic and literary work in the future.