Top 2017 Christmas books for translators

December 6, 2017
Top 2017 Christmas books for translators

The Christmas break can be a great time to catch up on your reading. It’s also a good opportunity to discover new authors, new novels and new non-fiction books, whether you’re treating yourself or receiving gifts from others. As such, we’ve taken a look at some fabulous books for translators that are sure to help you enjoy the festive season. 

The Bad Girl by Mario Vargas Llosa

The Bad Girl weaves issues of nationality, language and culture throughout the story, which follows 15-year-old Ricardo from 1950s Lima to 1960s Paris. Ricardo falls in love with the beautiful but enigmatic Lily as a teenager, but Lily vanishes from his life when her lies about her identity are exposed. Ten years later and half a world away, Ricardo falls for Comrade Arlette – could she be the same person that he fell in love with a decade ago? 

Mox III: Rise of the Machines by Alejandro Moreno-Ramos

This is the ideal book for modern translators. Mox III: Rise of the Machines takes an irreverent look at the world of translation, from idiotic customers to overly fastidious editors and ridiculous machine translations. If you ever feel weighed down by the profession, this book is all the reassurance you need that you’re far from alone! A cracking read that every freelance translator is sure to identify with. 

The Translator by Leila Aboulela

Although originally published a decade ago, The Translator remains a fascinating read. It follows the fortunes of Sammar, a young widow from the Sudan, who works in a British university providing Arabic translation services. The culture clash between lost, grieving Sammar and new Scottish love interest Rae is wonderful to explore and is a must read for anyone who loves literary fiction. The novel was nominated for numerous prizes when first published and still stands up as an excellent tale. 

Freelancer Marketing Ideas

Working as a freelance translator means there’s always something else you can learn. If you plan to use the Christmas period to brush up on your freelancing skills, Freelancer Marketing Ideas is a great place to start. It’s the ideal book for those who aren’t keen on either learning about or carrying out marketing activities, as readers can dip in and out of it at their leisure, implementing one idea at a time. 

Indeed, why not make a New Year’s Resolution to put one idea from the book into practice every week during 2018 and see what impact it has on your professional translation work?

Is That A Fish In Your Ear? by David Bellos

This is another book that is perfectly suited to the translation community. David Bellos takes the reader on a journey through the use of language and in how we understand other people and the world around us – and how others understand us. Is That A Fish In Your Ear? examines everything from news stories to biblical texts to Swedish films, looking at the role that translation plays in delivering information. This is a book that will take you from laughter to nodding your head in whole-hearted agreement – a great gift for anyone who works in the language industry. 

Final thoughts

There are so many books out there – both fiction and non-fiction – that translation professionals will enjoy, that we always struggle to pick just five! Which other titles will be on your reading list this Christmas and why? Is there one essential read that you would recommend to your fellow translators and freelancers? Share the details below to spread the love for your favourite translation book, whether it’s just been published or is a classic from years gone by. 

By Ofer Tirosh

Ofer Tirosh is the founder and CEO of Tomedes, a language technology and translation company that supports business growth through a range of innovative localization strategies. He has been helping companies reach their global goals since 2007.



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