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6 Must-Read Nonfiction Books for Translators and Interpreters

Are you a translator or interpreter looking to expand your knowledge and enhance your skills? Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting out in the world of language services, continuous learning is key to staying ahead in this dynamic field. Luckily, there's a wealth of nonfiction literature out there tailored specifically for translators and interpreters.



6 Must-Read Nonfiction Books for Translators and Interpreters


Here are six essential books that belong on every language enthusiast's bookshelf:



How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator

01. "How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator" by Corinne McKay (2006)

This hands-on guide, now in its fully revised third edition, equips translators of all language combinations with the essential tools to establish and grow a thriving home-based business. From crafting a translation-focused resume and cover letter to devising an effective marketing plan, McKay shares practical insights garnered from her own experience as a Certified Translator. Whether you're just starting out or seeking to enhance your established career, "How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator" is your indispensable companion to achieving success and satisfaction in the world of translation.





Translation in Practice

02. "Translation in Practice: A Symposium" edited by Gill Paul (2019)

This collection brings together insights from leading translators and scholars, offering practical advice and theoretical reflections on the art of translation. Covering a wide range of topics, from literary translation to specialized fields such as legal and medical translation, this symposium provides valuable perspectives on the challenges and rewards of translation in practice.





Translation as Transhumance

03. "Translation as Transhumance" by Mireille Gansel (2017)

This book offers a poetic reflection on the art of translation, drawing on the author's own experiences as a translator. Gansel explores the connections between language, culture, and memory, making it a thought-provoking read for anyone interested in the intricacies of translation.








Is That a Fish in Your Ear

04. "Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of Everything" by David Bellos (2011)

Bellos delves into the fascinating world of translation, examining its role in various aspects of life, from literature to law. Through engaging anecdotes and examples, he explores the challenges and complexities of translation, shedding light on its profound significance in bridging linguistic and cultural divides.








The Prosperous Translator

05. "The Prosperous Translator: Advice from Fire Ant & Worker Bee" by Chris Durban (2010)

Drawing from over five decades of combined experience, Durban and Eugene Seidel share their pithiest advice for building a thriving translation practice. From navigating the freelance/agency landscape to finding direct clients and mastering the art of pricing, this book offers practical insights for translators at all stages of their careers. Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting out, Fire Ant and Worker Bee's no-nonsense approach will help you unlock new levels of prosperity and satisfaction in your translation endeavors.






6. "The Entrepreneurial Linguist: The Business-School Approach to Freelance Translation" by Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner (2010)

   Translation is not just a profession—it's also a business. In this insightful book, Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner offer a business-school approach to freelance translation, providing readers with practical advice on everything from marketing and branding to client relations and pricing strategies. Packed with real-world examples and actionable tips, this book is essential reading for translators looking to succeed as entrepreneurs in the language services industry.




In conclusion, these six nonfiction books offer valuable insights and practical guidance for translators and interpreters at every stage of their careers. Whether you're interested in the broader implications of translation, seeking to improve your language skills, or looking to build a successful freelance business, there's something for everyone in this curated selection of books. So why wait? Start expanding your horizons and enhancing your skills today with these essential reads.






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What a great choice of books. I've read a couple of them and Bello's and Gansel's I found fun and insightful especially if you're looking to "get away" from MT and let yourself be entertained.

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En réponse à

Our fantastic director, Andrew Morris, contributed many of these suggestions. I'm glad that you enjoyed the post. Stay tuned to our blog for upcoming recommendations on books and other media!

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