Danuta Borchardt was born in Poland. During World War II, while a teenager, she found herself as a refugee in London, England. There she completed her high school education and went on to graduate from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland, in 1953. She emigrated to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1959, where she completed her residency training in psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital in 1965. She then worked as a psychiatrist, and as Clinical Instructor in Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School, until she retired in 1993.
In the early 1980s she began to write short stories (in English), several of which were published in Exquisite Corpse. Her work has appeared in An Exquisite Corpse Reader, and in the Cybercorpse on the internet.
She has worked as a translator from the Polish into English since her retirement in 1993. In 1999 her translation of Witold Sulkowski’s “The Bonny Hind” appeared in Two Be. Her translation of Witold Gombrowicz’s Ferdydurke was published by Yale University Press in 2000 and received the National Translation Award in 2001. In 2003 she was given a Fellowship of the National Endowment for the Arts to retranslate Witold Gombrowicz’s Cosmos, which was published by Yale University Press in 2005. Her translation of Witold Gombrowicz’s Pornografia, for which she received the Found in Translation Award, was published by Grove Atlantic in 2010. Her translation of Gombrowicz’s Trans-Atlantyk was published in March 2014 by Yale University Press. She is currnetly writing a memoir about how she came to translate Witold Gombrowicz .