Widely acknowledged as the go-to book on American-English style, The Chicago Manual of Style – now in its 16th edition – is an absolutely indispensable resource for translators; however, for some, the very idea of spending 65 dollars* on a book can result in sleepless nights and cold sweats, which is perhaps why the good folk at The Chicago Manual of Style Online make the entire 1st edition available for download absolutely free of charge. Yes, that’s right: free! Don’t believe us? – then click on ‘complete facsimile of the 1st edition‘ at the top of this page. However, before you get too excited, we’d better mention that the 1st edition is a bit dated…
Wikipedia is so helpful to translators that most of us would rather not admit quite how much we rely on it — partly because, as everyone knows, Wikipedia has a certain less-than-perfect reputation when it comes to accuracy. However, a surprisingly large number of translators don’t realize that the Wikimedia Foundation (the organization that actually operates Wikipedia) also runs a number of other collaborative wiki projects that can at tmes also be very enlightening. Projects such as Wiktionary, Wikiquote, Wikibooks, Wikisource, Wikimedia Commons, Wikispecies, Wikinews, Wikiversity and Wikimedia Incubator might come in handy the next time you need a quick reference on somethng while translating. Let’s take a closer look!
As we all know, translators all too often remain in the shadows. For example, although a huge number of people will have delighted in English translations of works by the famous Japanese author Natsume Soseki, very few of those people will be able to recall the name/s of the translator/s who actually wrote the words on the pages they read. The same is, of course, true of books that have been translated into any language: from any language. It’s also true of course that translators who translate novels generally get their name printed somewhere in the book (all be it usually in relatively small print), however, we think that’s just not enough: we think that every truly outstanding translator deserves his or her own Wikipedia page! You may think that your favourite translators already have their own Wikipedia pages but, in many cases, you’d be wrong. Furthermore, as translators ourselves, we think that translators are perfectly positioned to plug this gap in Wikipedia’s knowledge. After all, if WE don’t have the passion, the knowledge and the interest to fill this hole in the world’s knowledge then who does?!
Translators like to read: if they didn’t, they probably wouldn’t be translators. Reading for fun is all well and good, but sometimes it’s nice to read for professional development. But what to read? We’ve put together a list (in no particular order) of six must-read books to start you off.