Ellen Elias-Bursac has been translating novels and non-fiction by Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian writers for thirty years, including writing by David Albahari, Neda Miranda Blazević Kreitzman, Svetlana Broz, Slavenka Drakulic, Dasa Drndić, Igor Stiks, Vedrana Rudan, Slobodan Selenić, Antun Soljan, Dubravka Ugresić, Karim Zaimović.
She is vice-president of the American Literary Translators Association.
She has taught at the Harvard Slavic Department, Tufts University, ASU and the New England Friends of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and spent over six years at the ex-Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague as a translator/reviser in the English Translation Unit.
Her translation of David Albahari's book of short stories "Words Are Something Else" was given an award by AATSEEL in 1998, and ALTA's National Translation Award was given to her translation of Albahari's novel "Götz and Meyer" in 2006. Her translation of Dasa Drndić's novel "Trieste" was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2013.
She co-authored a textbook for the study of Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian with Ronelle Alexander, now in its 2nd edition, received an NEA translation grant (2010), and participated in the Banff International Literary Translation Centre in June, 2011.
Her book "Translating Evidence and Interpreting Testimony in a War Crimes Tribunal: Working in a Tug-of-War" was given the Mary Zirin Prize in 2015.