Top 2019 summer reads for freelance translators

June 5, 2019
Top 2019 summer reads for freelance translators

Whether you’re jetting off to an exotic destination half the world away or spending your summer working every available hour, a pile of good books to see you through the warmer months can help with everything from travel to more successful freelancing to relaxation. As such, here is a selection of fantastic books covering a range of topics to inspire your ‘to read’ pile over the summer. 

Dear Freelancer by Brittany Melton

Dear Freelancer: Words of Wisdom to Help You Thrive in the World of Freelancing is a fabulous book for those looking to navigate the emotional side of the freelance translation lifestyle. Freelancing can be hard, particularly when it comes to coping with the ‘feast or famine’ nature of the freelance lifestyle. Freelance web developer and agency owner Brittany Melton shares her trials and tribulations in order to furnish readers with the encouragement and mental strength needed to freelance successfully, no matter what the lifestyle may throw at you. 

Greek to Me by Mary Norris

Mary Norris’ Greek to Me – Adventures of a Comma Queen takes readers on a delightful journey through the art of expressing oneself correctly. With three decades of experience at The New Yorker, Norris knows a thing or two about punctuation! This engaging tale delivers not only an inspiring look at language but also an entertaining glimpse of the author’s love of all things Greek and her solo travels in the land of the alphabet’s birth. 

Point It by Dieter Graf

Even those who translate for a living can be caught out when they visit a country where they don’t speak the language. Therein lies the genius of Dieter Graf’s Point It. The concept is simple – the 1,300 pictures, drawings and maps provide a dictionary that transcends language, all in a handy passport-sized guide. Used by everyone from UN peacekeepers to Olympic athletes, Point It is the essential travelling companion for anyone planning to push the limits of communication way beyond their comfort zone this summer.  

Contagious by Jonah Berger

Contagious: How to Build Word of Mouth in the Digital Age is the ideal summer read for anyone looking to improve their marketing capabilities, as well as those providing marketing translation services. The value of word of mouth is incredible – and this book shows you concisely and convincingly how to achieve it. 

Mouthful of Birds by Samantha Schweblin/translated by Megam McDowell

Long-listed for the Man Booker International Prize 2019. Samantha Schweblin’s dark and intense Mouthful of Birds is the perfect book for those looking to escape reality this summer. Spellbinding and eerie, the short stories have an unearthly feel about them that will keep your spine tingling and your fingers turning the pages. The ultimate summer read for those who enjoy fiction in translation, along with the thrill of a book that really sets your pulse racing. 

Found in Translation, edited by Frank Wynne

Our list of 2019 summer books wouldn’t be complete without Found in Translation, edited by Frank Wynne. This joyous collection of 100 tales from around the world celebrates the art of translation as much as it honours the texts themselves. You can dip into this a story at a time or lose yourself in it for hours while lying by the pool, with the authors and their translators transporting you around the world. Not to be missed!

Final thoughts 

Which of these books will make your reading list this summer? And what else do you have lined up? Is your focus on relaxation, self-improvement or something else entirely? Leave a comment to let us know which books for freelance translators you would recommend this summer and why. We look forward to reading your recommendations! 

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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