It’s cold and rainy here in Germany and everyone’s coming down with the first round of autumn sniffles. I’m not the type for taking invigorating walks in the woods to boost my immune system. Instead I prefer to vigorously lounge in a comfortable armchair and give my brain a workout with some stimulating reading.
Here are some books I’ve recently read that could be interesting for you:
Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravation, Ammon Shea
Boy, did I enjoy this! I purchased it after reading Stan Carey’s review on his blog Sentence First. One thing Stan may have downplayed is how hilarious the book is. I rarely read books on grammar or language usage and find myself sniggering and chortling along. I did while reading this book. A word of warning: If reading singular “they” makes you sputter with rage, this book is not for you.
The Business Guide for Translators, Marta Stelmaszak
This book is hot off the press and full of useful advice and links. I have to admit that I merely skimmed over the first part about economics, which is a longish list of definitions. (Sorry, Marta) In my defense, I was already familiar with the terms. For those who aren’t, Marta provides a concise little definition of each term and some links for further reading – very useful.
Anyway, the rest of the book was very interesting. Marta introduces various business and marketing strategies and explains how they apply to the language industry. Having a clear and well-structured business strategy is no easy task, but Marta manages to present necessary steps without making it too daunting. She also has a very calm and level way of discussing those thorny issues that often cause translators to declare war on one another (pricing, agencies, etc.).
Reading the book enables you to analyze your business approach from different angles and act on facts instead of vague ideas and wishful thinking. Steve Vitek wrote a short review of the book, if you want to find out more.
Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works, Janice Redish
Now, this book has been around for a while and I am ashamed to admit that it spent almost 2 years languishing on my reading stack. I first read about it on Catherine Jan’s blog Catherine Translates where she posted a short list of web readability tips she had excerpted from the book.
If you translate websites or have your own website, this is a good book to read. It helps you focus on what website users need from your writing or translations. Having all this information in one place really brought it together for me.
How the World Sees You, Sally Hogshead
I don’t normally read books like this. But one evening while browsing through various blogs, I stumbled upon Duct Tape Marketing’s recommendation for the book along with a code for a free personal test on the book’s companion website. On a whim, I headed over there and took the test. And then I went and bought the book.
What Sally Hogshead does is to analyze your effect on others. She uses what she calls the science of fascination to identify how others perceive you at your best. If you are looking to brand yourself or come up with a USP, this book can be pretty helpful. By providing qualities that others value in you and then helping you write a short personal tagline, Sally gives you a starting point for your business development. She also advises you on how to recognize other archetypes she has introduced and which ones you would work best with. It’s a different way of looking at personalities and I found it quite enlightening.
What have you been reading lately? Any recommendations?