Can interpreters benefit from a book written by a translator?

April 30, 2013 § 3 Comments

Dear colleagues:

I recently finished reading “Thoughts on Translation,” Corinne McKay’s new book. It is a compilation of some of her most popular, interesting and well-written posts in her industry-acclaimed blog of the same name (http://thoughtsontranslation.com/) I personally know Corinne as a friend and colleague from a period of my life when I lived in Colorado, her home base.  I know first-hand of her commitment to the profession as a well- respected colleague, top-notch translator, and active professional who serves as a board member of the American Translators Association (ATA) and was, during my days in the Denver metro area, a very popular president of the Colorado Translators Association (CTA)

The linguistics family has many members, and I have always considered interpreters and translators as siblings in that family tree, with interpreters being the older sibling because long ago there was interpretation before humans began writing.  I know that many interpreters, like me, spend part of their professional career translating, and many translators devote part of their time to interpreting, so that in itself should be a good reason to venture yourselves into the pages of “Thoughts on Translation,”  even if you are primarily an interpreter.  Interpreters, translators and our other “linguistic cousins” such as transcribers, proof-readers, editors, voice-over talent, dubbing actors, and localization experts have much in common; we work with languages.  Now, if you add the ingredient of “freelancer” to that mix, you will come to realize that many times what is good for the translator is good for the interpreter and vice-versa.

“Thoughts on Translation” is directed to translators, but many articles in the book deal with issues common to interpreters and translators. In chapters 1 and 2 Corinne is really talking to all freelance linguists as she explains what it takes to become a successful freelancer in our sibling professions. Tips on how to market your services, setting realistic goals, and membership in professional associations are universal in our careers. On latter chapters she touches upon essential topics like the freelance mindset, how to deal with difficult clients, and how to use online resources; all relevant to the professional interpreter.   Finally, she writes about money! Those of you who regularly read my posts know how important it is, in my opinion, to deal with these monetary issues without feeling guilty or uncomfortable because you want to make a good living.  The book is very well-written, entertaining, funny, and of course, extremely useful. It constitutes a great tool for those who are just starting as professional interpreters, and it is a good resource for all of my veteran well-established friends and colleagues who, from time to time, need a text to quote in a particular situation.

I encourage you to read “Thoughts on Translation” available from Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/) Barnes and Noble (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/) and In Trans Book Service with our dear Freek Lankhof (http://www.intransbooks.com/) I also invite you to share your thoughts regarding how books by translators can be a useful resource for interpreters.

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§ 3 Responses to Can interpreters benefit from a book written by a translator?

  • Thanks Tony for this thoughtful review; I really appreciate it and I think that more bridges between translators and interpreters are always a good thing!! It’s your turn to write a book next🙂

  • Margaret Wolfe-Roberts says:

    Tony, thanks for your timely review. I just bought a copy of Corinne’s book at a conference; now I am looking forward to reading it with even more interest since I know it applies to freelance interpreters as well as translators!

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