I recently met with long time Circle member Marguerite (Meg) Shore to discuss her distinguished career as a translator. Meg translates Italian and French texts into English, her specialty being art, art criticism, architecture and literature.
Meg’s interest in art was nurtured by her education and her years of living and teaching in Europe. As an undergraduate at Vassar with a major in art history, Meg studied with Linda Nochlin, a prominent art historian and an important feminist voice of that time. She recalls that Professor Nochlin questioned why there have been no great women artists. She put forth the theory that this was largely due to the lack of apprenticeship opportunities for talented women artists. After receiving her B.A. in art history from Vassar, Meg moved to Europe, eventually living in Rome for a number of years.
In 1993 translator Marta Schmidt introduced Meg to the Circle. She remembers how gratifying it was to find a community of translators which greatly helped to alleviate the solitary nature of the translator’s work. She remembers the collegiality of the group in those days, particularly the monthly dinner meetings and members such as Marion Greenfield, Tom Snow and Alex Gross. She served as Program Director and President of the Circle.
In 2003 Meg was introduced to the publisher George Braziller whose firm George Braziller, Inc. was known for publishing literary and artistic works as well as the work of foreign authors. Mr. Braziller chose Meg to translate the 15-year old author Randa Ghazy’s controversial book Sognando Palestina (Dreaming of Palestine). This is the story of the lives of Palestinians living under the Israeli occupation which the author based on news reports and her own research. The book was a sensation in Italy, coming under fierce criticism from Jewish critics who believed it contributed to acts of hatred against Jews.
Palestinian affairs continued to intersect with Meg’s life when in 2005 the American radical attorney Lynn Stewart was convicted of smuggling messages to imprisoned Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, the so-called “Blind Sheikh,” who was accused of inciting terrorist acts in New York City. Lynn Stewart’s interpreter, Mohammed Yousry, was also sent to prison at that time simply as a consequence of doing his job as an interpreter. Meg protested this action and pressed the ATA and the Circle to publically condemn his imprisonment. Her efforts in this regard included organizing an evening at the Circle about Yousry’s imprisonment which featured former Attorney General Ramsey Clark as a speaker. When the condemnation of this action was not forthcoming, Meg resigned from both organizations. In hindsight, she believes that it would have been better to stay in those organizations and fight for the causes that she believed it. She eventually re-joined both groups. Meg was also a grader for the ATA’s certification exam.
Meg has worked for many prominent art publishers, art galleries and museums such as the Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, the Frick Collection, the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Denver Art Museum. One of her favorite projects is the book of photographs by Italian photographer Luigi Ghirri entitled It’s beautiful here, isn’t it. She is currently finishing up a translation of Giorgio Verzotti’s book on Mario Merz, a prominent artist of the Italian Arte Polvera movement, which will be published by the Magazzino Italian Art Foundation.
Meg’s advice to fledgling translators is to read the newspapers of one’s target language every day to become better acquainted with the idioms of the country. She noted the excellent opportunity that the Circle provides to new translators for personal interaction with older and more experienced translators. In the future, Meg believes that organizing meetings around cultural topics such as art and travel could also benefit Circle members.
Thank you , Meg, for sharing your inspiring career with the Circle membership.