Alice Gordenker

Alice Gordenker is a Tokyo-based writer who translates regularly for museums, artists and NHK’s international programming. She has translated about all sorts of arts and traditional crafts, from pottery to painting, and has developed a special focus on photography. She has handled all aspects of translation for museum exhibitions, from catalogs and captions to the invitations for openings, and has written press releases and web pages as well as artist statements and profiles.

In addition, she has written English narration and subtitles for videos and television programs about Japanese art for NHK and other clients. After the 2011 earthquake in Tohoku, she started doing volunteer translation for museums destroyed by the tsunami and helped arrange an exhibit in Oxford, England about efforts to rescue damaged collections. Her latest major translation is the catalog for the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography’s 2014 retrospective on early photographer Shimooka Renjo, which was published as a bilingual book by Kokusho Kankokai. She studied Japanese and Japanese art at Princeton University, and has lived in Tokyo for over 15 years.


Writing and Translating for Museums and Artists

There are over 600 art museums in Japan, and countless galleries, but only a fraction provide English-language materials about their collections or exhibitions. Of those that do, it’s usually only part of the material that gets translated, and the quality of the English can be...