Alumni portrait: Alexandre Mitchell, researcher, translator and fiction writer
Born in Oxford, Alexandre Mitchell studied Classic, Ancient History and Archaeology in Strasbourg before pursuing a multifaceted career.
A bilingual researcher in archaeology, Alexandre Mitchell founded his own company Expressum Limited which offers very specific services: the translation of scientific texts from French to English in the fields of archaeology, philology and history. “I noticed that the French-speaking university community really lacked accurate and faithful translations of scientific results. Today, you can’t disseminate research without using English.”
Although he occasionally works with collaborators, Alexandre usually works on his own on the translations of texts from a variety of material: scientific journals, conferences, websites and books. “I remember a text that I corrected and translated, which dealt with the plague in Antiquity. It was fascinating. The wonderful thing about this job is that I never stop learning and I remain well-informed about research.”
Research on Greek Antiquity
Before he created his company, Alexandre Mitchell was a lecturer in Oxford, Reading and London. “Between administrative tasks and teaching, I never had enough time for my research. When I left, it gave me time to publish and give conferences” he explains. Today, he is an Honorary Research Associate at the University of Oxford and a scientific collaborator at the University of Fribourg. His interest in humour in ancient Greece resulted in a book published in 2009 by the prestigious Cambridge University Press, “Greek vase painting and the origins of visual humour”. He also has an interest in the history of medicine and the way diseases were represented during Antiquity. Current research focuses on Classical Greek and Roman reception in editorial cartoons since the turn of the 20th century published in British and American newspapers.
A Mesopotamian thriller
On top of this Alexandre is also writing an archaeological thriller, The 13th Tablet, the first volume of a trilogy inspired by the Mesopotamian themes and myths that he studied in Strasbourg. He has already started working on the second volume. “I’ve always been fascinated by three things: literary writing, scientific research and making a living. It was a pleasure for me to be able to write without footnotes for the first time.”
Studying in Strasbourg
“I had a great time studying in Strasbourg. I learnt so much. I really liked my professors, especially Gérard Siebert who told me to write in an elegant, precise and jargon-free language. I also remember Laurent Pernot who taught Greek, Edmond Levy and Benoit Tock who taught History. They are references in their fields. I learnt archaeological drawing from Zemaryalaï Tarzi, a great man and Dominique Beyer taught me how to look at objects,” he recalls. His commitment to Unistra lead him to register to our alumni network in order to keep in touch with the University. “If researchers from Strasbourg need my services, I will give them a discount,” he adds with a smile.