Martin Chalmers grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, and after many years in Birmingham and London now lives in Rixdorf in Berlin. He studied history at the universities of Glasgow, Birmingham and Bochum. Martin Chalmers has translated many leading German-language authors into English. His book translations include Europe, Europe and The Silences of Hammerstein by Hans Magnus Enzensberger, The Passport (Der Mensch ist ein grosser Fasan auf der Welt) by Herta Müller and The Orphanage by Hubert Fichte. He edited and translated a selection of stories by Erich Fried under the title Children and Fools and edited Beneath Black Stars, a volume of contemporary Austrian fiction.
Other translations include Summer Resort by Esther Kinsky and Brussels, the Gentle Monster or the Disenfranchisement of Europe by Hans Magnus Enzensberger. In 2004 Martin Chalmers was awarded the Schlegel-Tieck Prize for The Lesser Evil, his translation of the post-1945 Diaries of Victor Klemperer.