Translators have usually discovered their profession thanks to a love of language that manifests in many ways. Translators are multi-lingual and, through their fluency in multiple languages, have access to different cultures in ways that the monolingual can never understand.
The books on this list explore everything from how language and culture are inextricable, through theoretical approaches to translation, to the ups and downs of a translation career. Within this list is something for every translator, whether they’re looking to advance their career or increase their knowledge of contemporary theories of language. Read on – in whatever language suits you.
1) Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World By Ella Frances Sanders
Translators are language nerds, first and foremost, and they are obsessed with the subtleties and nuances that each language possesses. This beautifully illustrated book from Ella Frances Sanders launches us into the magical world of language by exploring so called ‘untranslatable’ words – expressions in other languages that capture meaning in a way that English can’t compete with.
Often, these words are linked to the heart of the unique culture in which they were born and, in this sense, Sanders’ fantastic book is an adventure into a foreign land. Sanders’ illustrations bring us closer to the meaning of the words contained within this book, offering a glimpse into meaning beyond language.
2) The Entrepreneurial Linguist: The Business-School Approach to Freelance Translation By Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner
Jenner and Jenner bring the reader an informative guide to the business side of translation in this well-received tome. For any translators looking to advance their career or break out of the 9-5, the authors offer practical and actionable advice.
The theory behind this book is that entrepreneurship is something that every translator can tap into, and the doors that becoming an entrepreneurial linguist can open up are astounding. These translatory twins reveal how to earn your living whilst pursuing a healthy balance in your working life.
3) Mox’s Illustrated Guide to Freelance Translation By Alejandro Moreno-Ramos
The first in a series of volumes designed as part of a training program for freelance translators, these cartoon strips will amuse and inform any budding translator, as well as raising a few eyebrows about the practices of the industry. Mox, the eponymous hero of these cartoons, is a freelance translator experiencing the trials and tribulations of the translation life.
As an introduction to the world of translation, Mox is an excellent guide. The charming format of these cartoons will keep you turning pages and thanks to the experience of Moreno-Ramos as a translator the books are packed with great advice.
4) Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages By Guy Deutscher
Deutshcer’s academic background as a linguist gives him a fascinating perch from which to explore how language and culture intertwine. As anyone pursuing an interest in foreign languages will have slowly begun to discover, the way you use language can change the way you see the world.
Deutscher is an excellent communicator and he effectively articulates how grammar, syntax and the way meaning changes in different languages shapes the way culture is formed. From subtle differences to cultural shifts, this book emphasizes the challenges of translation as not just making one understood between languages, but across fundamentally different worldviews.
5) Exploring Translation Theories By Anthony Pym
For any translator looking to explore the science of how translation can be possible and gain a deeper understanding of their profession, Anthony Pym, a distinguished scholar, brings this accessible account of the current translation theories.
Taking a theoretical, rather than practical, approach to translation, Pym will offer even veteran translators a deep insight into their work. The significance of translation cannot be understated and the case Pym makes for translation as a world-building exercise is profound.
6) The Prosperous Translator By Chris Durban
Chris Durban’s The Prosperous Translator is a must-read for any translators looking to advance their career. Durban packs this book with clear advice on the way the translation industry functions, illuminating the murky depths of the translation world.
For the translator who’s looking at exploring new career opportunities, Durban’s articulate and actionable advice can provide the motivation you need to take the next steps in your career. By using real-life scenarios from his long career, Durban makes it clear that anyone can become a successful translator if they learn how to play the game.
Adios, Adieu, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye
From contemporary linguistic theories to captivating cartoons, this list has something to offer every translator. Take a break from translating to enjoy these books in any language of your choosing.
Katherine Rundell is a writer at History essay help and Academized Reviews. She is a poet, essayist, and reviewer with a passion for the fall and winter months, as well as the owner of a mean recipe for eggnog. Also, she is a manager at Do My Assignment writing service.