Art Translation

   A successful translation is more than the sum of its parts, but each part does have an essential role to play. In this section, you will find out more about several essential components of my work as an art translator: the projects I am working on and have completed recently, the indispensable specialist resources I use while translating and the professional memberships and reading material I rely on to keep my skills sharp and subject knowledge fresh.

Translation resources

   The quality of specialized art translations relies on three primary elements: deep subject knowledge, mastery of and a ‘feel’ for the source language and exceptional writing skills in the target language. All three are at their best when supported by excellent reference materials, and I invest heavily to keep my office stocked with the top reference resources for my field. I subscribe to Oxford Art Online, the Chicago Manual of StyleOxford Dictionaries Pro and Merriam-Webster Unabridged, and often use Jstor in the course of translating academic material. On my computer desktop, you will always find open digital copies of Zingarelli, Hoepli Italiano, Ragazzini, Hoepli Inglese, Inglese Tecnico e Scientifico Zanichelli and Hoepli Tecnico Inglese. In addition to these digital resources, I also have a collection of specialist dictionaries and, of course, a personal library of books on art history and related fields. Moreover, for especially complex projects such as major exhibition catalogues or catalogues raisonnés, I have sophisticated software for creating glossaries and other tools that help ensure linguistic consistency throughout large, complicated texts.


   I am currently translating a large volume on luxury watches, and recently completed a volume of essays on photography for a major international photography event and a collection of scholarly essays on Rubens. My biggest and most exciting project of 2013/2014 has been the translation of a massive volume of essays on Agnolo Gaddi’s Legend of the True Cross cycle in the church of Santa Croce in Florence. Other recent projects include the catalogue for an exhibition of contemporary art at the Giorgio Cini Foundation in Venice; the official guide to an ancient Roman villa on the UNESCO World Heritage list; a critical volume on a contemporary Belgian painter; the texts for a multi-media guide to Tomaso da Modena’s fourteenth-century St. Ursula frescoes in Treviso, a paper on the mosaics and architecture of the ancient Roman city of Turris Libisonis in Sardinia, to be published in international conference proceedings, and exhibition catalogues dedicated to artists ranging from Giorgio Morandi, Salvatore Scarpitta and Giorgio Casali to Elliott Erwitt, David LaChapelle and Milton Gendel.

Now reading

   Is it true what they say, that we are what we read? As a full-time art translator, working from Italian to English and based in Italy, the answer is yes, absolutely. I rely on a wide-range of reading material to keep my subject knowledge and skills well-honed and up-to-date. My professional memberships keep my reading area well stocked with academic journals including the Art Bulletin, the Art Journal, Renaissance Quarterly and Speculum, and I stay on top of what’s happening in the world of conferences through my subscription to the H-ARTHIST listserv. When working on projects in the world of fashion and design, I turn to such publications as WWD and Wallpaper*, and I keep up with the broader world of art and culture through subscriptions to the New York Times, the London Times and the Economist.