Editor and Language Specialist
Basel, Switzerland

After graduating with a double major in the Humanities and Philosophy, I opted for the unorthodox path of doing a PhD at the bilingual (French-German) University of Fribourg in Switzerland, where I immersed myself in the study of ancient philosophy, especially Plato, as well a range of modern and classical languages, including Ancient Greek, Latin, and Classical Arabic. Following doctoral research stays at the Humboldt University in Berlin and Christ’s College, Cambridge—where I wrote the final draft of my book The Embodied Soul in Plato’s Later Thought (Cambridge University Press, 2018)—I held various postdoc positions in Ancient Greek and medieval Islamic philosophy in Paris, Rome, Munich, and Pisa. During this time, I published several academic articles, edited a book of articles on Plato’s Timaeus (Brill, 2020, open access), and gave talks in the UK, Brazil, Japan, the Czech Republic, Italy, France, Hungary, and Germany.

Disillusioned with the constraints of academia, I decided to try my hand as a freelance editor and translator based in Basel, the cultural capital of Switzerland and adopted home of the great Renaissance humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam. Thanks in no small part to the broad education I received in HUMS, with its emphasis on intellectual rigour and clear, concise writing, I have been able to carve out a niche at the upper end of the market, providing premium editing, translation, and text-composition services to a diverse clientele, ranging from scholars, writers, filmmakers, and museums to chefs, elite athletes, aspiring influencers, and death metal bands.

Being self-employed gives me unparalleled freedom to indulge my intellectual and creative interests, most notably writing, travel, photography, and language learning. Living in a dynamic border city in the heart of Europe, I speak French, German, Spanish, and Italian on a daily basis. I also continue to read widely in Ancient Greek, Latin, and Arabic, and have dabbled in many other languages, including Persian, Old English, Portuguese, and Japanese. My current focus is on Swiss German, the main language spoken in Basel, which—despite its name—is about as different from Standard German as Portuguese is from Spanish. For me, the fascination of language learning lies not only in exploring new cultures and building new relationships, but also in being able to realize the dream I had as an undergrad of one day being able to read the works of authors such as Homer, Plato, Nietzsche, Borges, Ibn Khaldun, and Petrarch in the original.

In addition to introducing me to a vast world of art, literature, and philosophy that I intend to spend the rest of my life exploring, the Humanities program also made me a part of a close-knit community of dedicated teachers and gifted students, many of whom remain important figures in my life over a decade later. More profoundly, by initiating me into the endless diversity of forms that the human aspiration for understanding and self-realization has taken, my time in the Humanities program helped me to develop the intellectual confidence, curiosity, and sense of adventure necessary to pursue my passions on my own terms, however far off the beaten path they might take me.

Chad Jorgenson is a Swiss-based language and writing specialist. A former scholar of Ancient Greek and Islamic philosophy, he is currently living the high life as a freelance editor and translator. 

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