Heidi Holzer was born in Boston to a family of Swiss bookbinders with a reputation for quality work and slow service—slow because everyone in the bindery had to read the restored book before returning it to its owner. Her family’s dedication to books has given her a lifelong love of the written word, while her immigrant background created a fascination with languages and cultures. She combined the two interests and became a translator.
After studying German, Russian, and French at the University of Vermont, Heidi continued her education in East Germany, where she studied German language and literature at Leipzig University (known as Karl Marx University at the time).
On returning to the U.S. from East Germany, Heidi decided to switch gears and headed for Mexico to teach English and learn Spanish. Later, while teaching English to Guatemalan refugees in sanctuary at a Benedictine monastery in Vermont, she interpreted at public events and translated the testimonies of refugees from Guatemala’s civil war for a Washington-based human rights organization. Her most memorable gig as an interpreter was for Rigoberta Menchú Tum, the Guatemalan human rights activist who later received the Nobel Peace Prize for her work on behalf of indigenous people.
A few years later, after earning a Masters degree in translation at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, Heidi moved to Europe, where she worked for a machine translation software company in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, and a translation service provider in Stuttgart, Germany.
Since 1989, she has worked as a freelance translator specializing in patents, travel, and literary texts. Heidi is ATA-certified for translation from German to English.