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June 12, 2020 |

Top 10 Books for Translators and Interpreters 

For translators and other language experts, reading books is one of the essential activities that ensure professional growth. Books for translators and interpreters are an excellent learning source for anyone who wants to be successful in the industry. 

This book list can help you consolidate your knowledge of the language industry, regardless of your niche or level of experience. 

1. “Becoming a Translator” – Douglas Robinson

“Becoming a Translator” may seem like a book for beginners only. Still, it can be helpful for any translator or interpreter looking to see the translation industry through someone else’s eyes. 

In his book, Douglas Robinson explains how things work in this industry, points out some of the specific problems that linguists encounter, and suggests some possible solutions. If you’re a translator looking for actionable advice on how to work better, this book includes a series of tips on how to speed up processes without sacrificing the quality of your translations.  

2. “Translation as a Profession” – Roger Chriss

Many readers describe Roger Chriss’s book as one of the best you can find on how to build a translation business. “Translation as a Profession” is a guide for linguists who wish to master home business management. It teaches language professionals how to identify opportunities and consolidate a successful career in the industry. 

The author speaks from experience and covers almost all topics of interest for linguists, from working with agencies to career paths, marketing, and finance. The book also includes a series of useful resources to help readers start a translation business. 

3. “Confessions of a Freelance Translator” – Gary Smith

“Confessions of a Freelance Translator” includes useful advice for freelancers in the language industry. It’s an exciting read on how freelancers can increase productivity, become visible in the industry, and stay organized during long translation projects. The author uses examples to illustrate the most common work situations and teaches newbies how to handle challenges. 

The book is mostly a guide for beginners and linguists who wish to learn more about terminology management. Overall, it has a positive attitude and even earned Smith the 2017 Proz Community Choice award.  

4. “Translation: A Multidisciplinary Approach” – by Juliane House

“Translation: A Multidisciplinary Approach” is a complex study of cross-linguistic practices of translation. Juliane House gathered insights from world-renowned experts for this book for translators and interpreters. So, get ready to go through several different perspectives on intercultural communication.   

Among the arguments listed in the book, you can read about the social implications of translation, industry ethics, and the role of new media in the language industry.

5.  “The Prosperous Translator” – by Chris Durban

“The Prosperous Translator” is a collection of valuable information and advice on how to prosper in the translation industry. The author uses real-life scenarios to help translators get a clear idea of the challenges that need to be overcome every day. 

If you’re looking for motivation and some growth opportunities, this book includes insights that can help you reorganize your activity effectively.

6. “Exploring Translation Theories” – by Anthony Pym

The book “Exploring Translation Theories” is most useful to students looking to understand what translation is all about. Professionals who want to explore the science behind translation and interpretation will also enjoy reading this. 

The book goes through the theoretical aspects of translation and includes cultural references that help us understand the role of languages in a global, social context. It can give you a new perspective on the impact that translation has had in societies and how it continues to influence global communication. 

7. “Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages” – by Guy Deutscher

This book is a fascinating analysis of how syntax, grammar, and the way we use words shape cultures. The book dedicates a section to experiments and curiosities about languages and cultures around them. It’s also considered one of the best books for translators and interpreters interested in translation history.

The British version of the book comes with a different subtitle, “How Words Colour Your World,” as the book includes a study on the differences in expressing colors between old and modern languages. 

8. “Mox’s Illustrated Guide to Freelance Translation” – by Alejandro Moreno-Ramos

Mox is a fictional cartoon character who works as a freelance translator and has to handle most of the challenges you encounter every day. “Mox’s Illustrated Guide to Freelance Translation” is an experience, a different way to look at the ups and downs of being a freelance translator. 

The book is the first volume of a series and gathers between its covers 200 comic strips and 13 articles signed by famous translators. You’ll find most of the stories hilarious, but you’ll also start questioning some of the practices in the industry. 

9. “The Entrepreneurial Linguist: The Business-School Approach to Freelance Translation” – by Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner

“The Entrepreneurial Linguist: The Business-School Approach to Freelance Translation” is one of those books for translators and interpreters written from a business perspective. So, it’s more suitable for professionals looking to consolidate their careers and build authority in their niches. 

This book can guide you through your journey from being a translator to becoming an entrepreneurial linguist. You’ll learn how to build long-term business relationships with your clients, network, and market your services. It’s a must-read for translators in all niches.

10. “Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World” –  by Ella Frances Sanders

This book is an illustrated collection of 50 words that have no equivalent in English. Each term comes with a definition and an elegant illustration that can help you get as close as possible to the meaning behind the word. 

“Lost in Translation” is meant to encourage anyone with a passion for language learning to explore other cultures and see the world from a new perspective. 

Why Books for Translators and Interpreters?

Reading is an excellent exercise for anyone working in the language industry. Books help you develop yourself not only as a successful professional but also as a better person. 

Many of the books in our list are useful for beginners who wish to understand how the language industry works and how they can find opportunities. However, many of the titles can benefit translators with years of experience who are now ready to accelerate growth and become successful entrepreneurs.