RALPH COSTA – November 15, 1913 – October 10, 2008


A giant of NCTA has passed away. Ralph Ranulfo Costa, beloved and respected Bay Area translator and linguist, and influential member from the early days of our organization, died at age 95 on Friday, October 10, 2008, in San Carlos.

Born November 15, 1913 in Concepcion, Chile, Ralph immigrated to the U.S. in 1953, where his passion for books and language led him to fulfill one of his life’s dreams: the establishment of his own business, “Costa Foreign Language Service.” An accomplished linguist, Ralph achieved fame in his own right by translating hundreds of documents, primarily in Spanish and French, over a period of more than 50 years. Among these was a technical publication, The Demodulator, which was circulated internationally. He also compiled a dictionary of technical terms that was later to become a standard in the industry.

A long-time member of the American Translators Association and the ninth member of NCTA, Ralph offered a steadying hand in the beginnings of our organization, unselfishly contributing his talents and expertise to help guide our fledgling association, and acting as a mentor for young translators, like this writer. An inspiration to all who knew him, Ralph conducted himself always with dignity and honor; a quiet man, he spoke volumes with his friendly and refined demeanor – and yet never ceased to surprise with his gentle, but wonderful sense of humor.

We offer our condolences to his wife of seventy years, Betty, and to their daughters Mercedes and Betty, and their son Hugo, and their families. A gentle titan of our industry is gone. SG