Art Translation and Editing
Since 2009, I have been translating and editing art historical writing, in addition to doing my own research and art criticism. I got my start as a graduate student, when I would often exchange scholarly feedback with colleagues in Germany and Switzerland. Over the years, those same people began approaching me to translate and edit their work. Whether you’re a German-speaker who needs your work translated or you are presenting your English-language research to non-experts, adapting art-related texts for different audiences involves a good deal of creativity and interpretation. Hence The Creative Interpreter!
When I translate and edit art historical writing, I draw on several areas of expertise. First, writing about art involves translating images into words. It can be harder to describe art than you might think! Second, during a total of four years in Germany and Switzerland, where I taught and later conducted research for my doctorate, I learned how art historical conventions differ on each side of the Atlantic. In my translation and editing work, I therefore draw on both my Ph.D. in Art History and my international experience to help clients communicate clearly and effectively.
For artists’ foundations and museums, I have worked on brochures, exhibition catalogue essays, exhibition wall labels, funding applications, lending inquiries, newsletters, press releases, and web site copy. Projects for scholars have included peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and conference presentations. I have also translated and edited international essay collections, ensuring overall coherence and clarity while maintaining each scholar's distinct voice. Many of these projects have involved formatting texts according to The Chicago Manual of Style, or adapting publishers' style guides. Additionally, I provide feedback on professional materials such as cover letters, CVs, and fellowship applications.
Overall, I approach writing as a collaborative process, and adapt to each client’s preferences.
Why work with Sarah?
PhD in Art History
Expertise in Modern European Art, but have taught all periods and an advanced class in art historical writing.
Seamless Cross-Cultural Communication
Adapt German-language content for English-speakers, and tailor specialist research to general museum audiences.
Spent four years in Germany and Switzerland with support from the Fulbright Foundation and the Volkswagen Foundation.
CLIENTS ARE SAYING...
"I have worked with Sarah McGavran on several projects and warmly recommend her as a stylistically assured translator and an extremely accurate proofreader. It is always a pleasure to work with her."
Dr. Christian Berger,
Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellow, Courtauld Institute of Art, London
"The Zentrum Paul Klee has been working regularly with Sarah McGavran for two years. Due to her training as an art historian, she knows how to translate specific themes and terms accurately. Additionally, she has a fine sense for both languages, allowing her to convey the undertone and style of specialist academic and general educational texts alike."
Dr. Fabienne Eggelhöfer,
Zentrum Paul Klee,
"I appreciate both the linguistic quality of Sarah’s translations from the German to the English as well as her art historical expertise. Her outstanding ability to make disciplinary connections ensures that all arguments are clearly relayed in the foreign language, so that they maintain their precision."
Dr. Jana Teuscher,
Curator, Hans and Sophie Taeuber-Arp Foundation, Berlin