The four-piece band was formed in Los Angeles in 1979 when singer/songwriter/guitarist Steve Barton linked up with Larry Dekker on bass and Dave Scheff on drums. A second singer/songwriter/guitarist, Robert Darlington, joined soon after and completed the lineup. The combination of 2 talented songwriters and a powerful energetic rhythm section became the key to their success.

Translator then relocated to San Francisco where they were signed to Howie Klein's independent label, 415 Records, on the strength of the demo tape they sent to college radio station KUSF: the loose and rambling yet laconic "Everywhere That I'm Not" has remained the band's signature tune. The song was featured on Translator's debut album Heartbeats And Triggers, which was produced by the widely respected David Kahne. As a result of 415 Records' national distribution arrangement with Columbia Records the debut album received good promotion and became an underground and College radio hit in 1982.

Between 1983 and 1986 the band completed 3 more albums for the same label. They also received some airplay for other songs such as "Un-Alone", from No Time Like Now (1983). The self-titled third album Translator (1985) contained fan-favorites "Gravity" and "O Lazarus". The fourth Evening of The Harvest (1986) featured "Standing In Line" and "Stony Gates of Time." For their second pair of albums Translator worked with another top New Wave producer, Ed Stasium. Though the later albums also contained many strong original songs none of them got as much recognition as the debut.

Translator's music continued to have underground appeal and was featured on at least 3 different compilation albums during the 1980s and 1990s. In 2007 all four original albums were re-issued on CD by Wounded Bird Records with bonus tracks. This was the first time that much of their 1980's output became available on CD. In May 2008 the 2 CD collection Different Time was released. It contains previously unavailable demos, studio out-takes and live recordings spanning 1979 to 1986, with one track from 1996.

In 1996, ten years after their official breakup, the band was paid its highest compliment when Beatles fans mistook their take of the instrumental "Cry for a Shadow" for a new recording by the Fab Four from the Anthology sessions (in fact it was a Translator B-side from 1983.)

Translator continues to reunite: their next live performances will be in early May, 2015. Barton also continues to work as a solo artist, including the release of his critically acclaimed recording, "Projector," produced by Marvin Etzioni of Lone Justice. Scheff has continued drumming--on a 2008 summer UK tour with Dead Kennedys and, with Larry Dekker, guitarist Peter Wiley and keyboardist and singer Cynthia Haagens, in Bang Bang Men. Robert Darlington published a collection of his poetry titled "Ether," in 2008, and a solo album, "Prism," produced by J Robbins and released in 2012.

Translator released "Big Green Lawn," a new album, in 2012. It is available at all of the usual places. Robert Darlington created a video for the single, "Soul On Fire," made entirely on his iPhone, with footage supplied by band members. It can be viewed at YouTube.

Translator's latest release is a CD from the great label, Omnivore Recordings: Sometimes People Forget, released March 31, 2015 to rave reviews. This is a 22-song collection of rare studio demos, including never before seen band photos, early posters, and great liner notes from Steve Barton.

After 37 years, the same four members of Translator are still together and still making great music!!


  • Steve Barton: vocals / guitar
  • Robert Darlington: vocals / guitar
  • Larry Dekker: bass
  • Dave Scheff: drums

Source: Translator on Wikipedia