If you’re looking for a last-minute gift for your favorite translator, or if you’re looking for some winter break reading for yourself, I’ve got two recommendations for you (and of course, feel free to add your own book recommendations in the comments!). One is The Green and the Red, a French novel written by Armand Chauvet and translated by Elisabeth Lyman, and the other is The Marketing Cookbook for Translators, written by Swedish translator Tess Whitty, who also hosts the Marketing Tips for Translators podcast. Here they are!
A few comments about each book (disclosure: I received review copies of them): The Green and the Red is set in Rennes, France, and the plot can be summed up as “pork producers versus vegetarians” (seriously!). As a vegetarian, I was hooked on the first page, which features the heroine Léa desperately trying to order in a vegetarian-unfriendly restaurant in Paris–ending with her claiming to be “allergic to ham.” This gave me flashbacks to my study abroad year in Paris in the early ’90s (picking ham out of the food: been there!) and it sets the tone for this delightful story, in which Léa ultimately falls in love with the pork producer’s marketing director. The book is a fun, easy read, and Elisabeth’s translation is as smooth as it is invisible; if I didn’t know the book was a translation, I never would have guessed. However, get this: Elisabeth’s name appears on the cover, and she’s listed alongside the author on the Amazon page. So, kudos to her and to Ashland Creek Press for that recognition. I think The Green and the Red would be make a great romantic comedy movie, so maybe we’ll see it again on the big screen!
The Marketing Cookbook for Translators is a fantastic addition to the translator business book genre, and Tess draws on her international marketing background to create a thoroughly practical guidebook; no theory at all, just “how do I actually do this?” I liked Tess’ book so much that I wrote a back cover blurb for it, and here it is: “Many freelancers struggle with marketing because it feels overwhelming: in the face of too many options, most of us end up doing nothing. Tess Whitty’s ‘cookbook’ approach helps defeat analysis paralysis by breaking the seemingly insurmountable task of finding clients into steps that take as long as you have. If you have fifteen minutes, pick one marketing appetizer to get the ball rolling; if you can block out more time, pick a main dish and really dive in. Whatever you choose, you’ll reap the benefits of Tess’ international marketing background and the lessons she’s drawn from building her own freelance business from the ground up.” I really like Tess’ compartmentalized approach to marketing; there’s definitely a place for books that take the “complete overhaul” approach, but lots of people won’t make it past chapter one of that kind of plan. Definitely better to pull off a manageable chunk and actually do it; and Tess’ book will show you the way!
Readers, any other suggestions for winter break reading?