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Poll: Which is the most useful book for freelance translators?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
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Oct 30, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Which is the most useful book for freelance translators?".

This poll was originally submitted by Chris Hall. View the poll results »



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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 12:09
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Other Oct 30, 2013

Haven't heard of or read any of these -- Are they required reading?

Small edit

[Edited at 2013-10-30 08:24 GMT]


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:09
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Other Oct 30, 2013

The book is only available in German, issued by the German Federal Association of Interpreters and Translators (BDÜ). The title would translate to: Success for freelancing translators and interpreters. Very helpful.

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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 06:09
Turkish to English
+ ...
Other Oct 30, 2013

I have never read any such book. Is that a mistake, I wonder?

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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:09
French to English
32 replies Oct 30, 2013

Well,32 replies for the time being, that is. Other. I don't look out for books on how to be a good translator and so on. I read all the time and usually have more than one book on the go. Freelance translating is such a personal thing. There is great variability : knowledge, skill, experience, geographical situation, professional situation, family situation, type of work we do etc that I suspect it is difficult to actually put together a work which speaks to a significantly large population.

When I read, it might be about one of my specialist areas (nautical, maritime, legal) or one of may areas of personal interest or study (biology, brain, psychology). I also read novels, thrillers, contemporary history, politics, biographies. In fact one of the few areas I never read in is translation itself. Needless to say, in answer to the question put in this poll : never heard of them/never read one.


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svenfrade  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:09
French to German
+ ...
Other Oct 30, 2013

With Julian and Tim.

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Noura Tawil  Identity Verified
Syria
Local time: 06:09
Member (2013)
English to Arabic
+ ...
Why not? Oct 30, 2013

I seriously doubt that anyone would read a well written book about his/her profession without learning at least a few good things.

Will keep an eye on this discussion to help me decide which one to read.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 04:09
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Oct 30, 2013

I haven’t the faintest idea about which book could be the most useful for a freelance translator. I have been freelancing full-time since 1985 and never read one! I know who are Corinne McKay (I read her blog “Thoughts on Translation” from time to time) and Judy Jenner (and her twin sister), but I have never heard of Chris Durban. I’m with Nikki, I love reading but in fact one of the few areas I never read in is translation itself…

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xxxjacana54  Identity Verified
Uruguay
English to Spanish
+ ...
My bible Oct 30, 2013

Diccionario de las preposiciones españolas. Norma y uso. By Alicia María Zorrilla.

I've used it every week, if not every day, for many years.

In second place: Law Dictionary. English/Spanish- Spanish/English. By Guillermo Cabanellas de las Cuevas and Eleanor C. Hoague.



[Edited at 2013-10-30 08:58 GMT]


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 12:09
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
My Bible#2 Oct 30, 2013

Since we're all in the knowledge business, please let me share with you a wonderful resource that's a must for those who nibble at techical translation from time to time or those, like me, who translate industrial-strength technical stuff on a full-time basis:

Newton's Telecom Dictionary (27th edition) available at amazon.com for $25.17

This is a fantastic resource -- I keep one at my side all the time. It tells you all about (quote) "Telecommunications, Networking, Information Technologies, The Internet, Wired, Wireless, Satellites and Fiber."
One of the best investments a translator could ever make.

Oh, and don't forget Roget's Thesaurus for when you're groping around for "just the right" word.

HTH

@Lucia
Thanks for taking the lead in recommending good dictionaries

Small edit

[Edited at 2013-10-30 10:39 GMT]


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Carla Catolino
Italy
Local time: 05:09
Member (2008)
Italian to English
+ ...
I agree with Lucia Oct 30, 2013

Lucia Colombino wrote:

Diccionario de las preposiciones españolas. Norma y uso. By Alicia María Zorrilla.

I've used it every week, if not every day, for many years.

In second place: Law Dictionary. English/Spanish- Spanish/English. By Guillermo Cabanellas de las Cuevas and Eleanor C. Hoague.



[Edited at 2013-10-30 08:58 GMT]


There are days like today where I have to proofread work done by other translators...sometimes the best book to invest in would be a good grammar book, dictionary, etc. (what I call my tools of the trade).


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Gilla Evans  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:09
Spanish to English
+ ...
Useful books Oct 30, 2013

I don't think there is a how-to book I would cite for its usefulness to me as a freelance translator. Most of us get there in our own sweet way.

But when it comes to translation itself, I would say that looking at the work of excellent translators and the originals can be inspiring and enlightening.

Reading Goscinny and Uderzo's Asterix books in French as a child and later seeing the wonderful versions in English by Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge was for me a masterclass in translation before I even dreamt of becoming a translator (and possibly influenced my decision to do so). If anyone thinks this is trivial, try translating humour and puns and producing a version as creative and funny as the original.


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David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 05:09
German to English
+ ...
Other Oct 30, 2013

if you still need a book before starting on this profession, I would strongly recommend "Computers for Dummies".

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Miriam Neidhardt  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:09
English to German
+ ...
Other Oct 30, 2013

My book, for example, only available in German and only from Amazon: Überleben als Übersetzer - Das Handbuch für freiberufliche Übersetzerinnen

www.ueberleben-als-uebersetzer.de

btw: All these books are not about how to become a better translator. They are about marketing: how to get more and better clients. I cannot think of any translator who would not profit from reading all of them! (And how can you not know Chris Durban? Shame on you. It's your loss!)

Miriam

[Edited at 2013-10-30 10:31 GMT]


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Lena Nemeth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:09
Member (2010)
Polish to English
It depends on the type of information you want to learn Oct 30, 2013

Although I haven't read any of books on the list, I have read various other translation-related books that focus more on how to translate, meaning the theory, rather than on business practices and the like.

As someone earlier posted, reading books on translation is quite personal and depends upon what the reader is trying to learn. Is he or she trying to find the best strategies to translate cultural references and numbers, or is he or she trying to discover how to expand or market a translation business? Various books will touch on some of these subjects while they may leave others out (again, I haven't read the books on this list yet so I don't know which topics they cover!).

Before I began translating, I read books by translation academics such as Mona Baker and Jeremy Mundy. However, I currently find that blogs written by translators are an amazing source of information and opt for the occasional 'light' translation-themed reading like Nataly Kelly and Jost Zetzsche's 'Found in Translation'. I'll be sure to look into the books mentioned here, though!


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