Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Review: How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator

How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator

I don't usually read self-help or how-to books.  However, I made an exception for Corinne McKay's book How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator.  I follow McKay's blog, Thoughts on Translation, and found her first through her website, Translate Write, while researching freelance translation.  McKay is a member of the American Translators Association and frequently talks at their conferences.  McKay was a high school French teacher for 8 years before making the decision to work from home translating documents from French into English.  After a lot of hard work, she is now quite successful.  She wrote this book a few years ago to help aspiring freelance translators start their businesses.

This book was a god-send for me.  For years, I've wanted to work towards freelance translating.  I know I have the language and writing skills.  My major concern was just getting started.  How do I find my first clients?  How do I market myself?  How exactly does one do translation as a full-time job?  And especially, what about those pesky taxes?

This book answered all my questions and then some.  It was so informative, and you can tell that McKay has really "been there and done that".  McKay gives examples of translation-related resumes and cover letters, as well as invoices and terms of service letters/emails to clients.  She talks about office set-up (not something I really needed to know, but is great if you want ideas for working more efficiently and I may take into consideration someday if ever I have my own place with my own office).  I especially loved how she always listed resources, like links to associations translators can join, links to software programs that aren't necessary but are extremely helpful to translators, information about getting certified, both as a translator and interpreter, and a ton more.

If you have ever considered freelance translation as a career path, or are fluent in a second language and looking to increase your income or even start a fun money-making hobby, this book is definitely for you.  I cannot emphasize enough how helpful this book has been to me.  I'll definitely always keep it handy as I start to build my own career as a freelance translator.  To order your book, type in Corinne McKay's name or the book title at  For more information about the author and her experience as a freelance translator, visit her website.  And don't forget to check out her blog, where she is always posting new and interesting information and tips for freelancers.

Title: How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator
Author: Corinne McKay
Date of Publication: 2006
Number of Pages: 137, including Glossary
Genre: Nonfiction, how-to
Source: Personal Copy


  1. I'm definitely reading this book thanks to your review. Thanks Kelly!

  2. Hi Kelly! I just now (a year and a half later!) noticed this lovely review of my book. Thank you so much, I really appreciate it. If you'd like to review the second edition, just let me know!

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