Born in London, I spent my infancy with my extended family in my grandparents’ home to the music of Gershwin and Rachmaninov on the gramophone and the smell of the paper my lithographer grandfather brought home for me to scribble on. Home-grown apples were wrapped and stored under the bed, while chickens pecked around in the garden and our dog Rex raced to and from the allotment with messages tucked in his collar. Life was a jumble of sounds and images, an exciting adventure.
My father's work took the family briefly to Wolverhampton and then to Shrewsbury, where I spent my youth. My early fascination for other cultures and foreign languages led me to study French and German at Liverpool University and, after meeting a young Dutchman on holiday in Italy, to settle in the Netherlands, in Amsterdam. While I mastered Dutch, I discovered my native English to be my prime asset and I held editorial secretarial positions with international publishing houses and a fashion consultancy until the birth of my daughter. After retraining as an English teacher and holding posts at secondary schools, I found my niche teaching young adults on the new pilot vocational courses.
Ten years later, following an interlude in Andalusia, I left teaching in pursuit of a new calling and took a course in periodical journalism at the London College of Printing with a view to embarking on a career as a journalist. However, while waiting for my first article to be published, to tide me over, I took on a translation assignment - and loved it.
Since then I have freelanced continuously as a Dutch into English translator largely in the visual and performing arts, working for quality photography publishers, leading museums and cultural institutions in the Netherlands.
For several years I worked in partnership with Nicoline Gatehouse under the name Gamester & Gatehouse, but for the last twenty years I have been operating on my own again, occasionally collaborating with other translators and for a while alongside other ventures. In 2015 I teamed up with the British editor Sue Hart.
Many of the publications I have translated have been on photography or in some way connected with it. They include the fifteen volumes of the prestigious Prins Bernard Cultuurfonds series of monographs on Dutch photographers, the Rijksmuseum’s major surveys of nineteenth and twentieth-century photography Modern Times, New Realities and Everyone a Photographer, and the mammoth, award-winning catalogue Stuff by Amsterdam’s Archaeology Department, presenting the finds from the construction of the city’s new North-South metro line.
Translation remains a joy: the sound of the words and the images they evoke, the rhythm of the sentences, the beauty of feats or works of art they describe, the stories of the people who created them. The challenge is to render that narrative in a language that the author feels is their own.