Michael Kandel, while at Harcourt, copyedited English translations of manuscripts by Umberto Eco, Günter Grass, Octavio Paz, Amos Oz, José Saramago, Georges Simenon, and others plus manuscripts by Mark Helprin, Northrop Frye, Paul Monette, Wendy Wasserstein, and others. He acquired books, genre and not so genre, by such authors as James Morrow, Kage Baker, Patricia Anthony, Jonathan Lethem, Ursula K. Le Guin, Jean Mark Gawron, Jan Lars Jensen and Ian McLeod.

Now at the Modern Language Association, he copyedits essays and books by professors. A Slavist, he translated several books by Stanislaw Lem and wrote a few articles about him. Two of Kandel's translations of Lem, The Cyberiad and The Futurological Congress, were nominated for a National Book Award in 1975. More recently Kandel translated, for Words without Borders, "Yoo Retoont" and "Balm of a Long Farewell," by Marek Huberath, and, for Restless Books, Huberath's novel Nest of Worlds. He also collected, edited, and translated an anthology of Polish short stories titled A Polish Book of Monsters, for PIASA Books.

Kandel is the author of four novels, Strange Invasion (Bantam Spectra, 1989), In Between Dragons (Bantam, 1990), Captain Jack Zodiac (Broken Mirrors Press, 1991), and Panda Ray (St. Martin's, 1996), and about a dozen short stories.