eBook Review: The Translator Diaries by Lloyd Bingham

In a slight shift from my previous book review posts (How about these mini reviews or this review of Balance Your Words), this review is focused on an eBook that is available online for free. Based upon the blog series of the same name, ‘The Translator Diaries’ can be downloaded or read online here on Lloyd Bingham’s website.

The original blog series provides a new interview with a professional translator in each post and this eBook sees both series (containing seven interviews each) condensed into one handy collection. A fellow tweeting translator, I followed Lloyd’s series with great interest as each interview came out and I was eager to find some time to read through the eBook to see how he went about converting the blog to another format.

The first thing that strikes you is that the collection is extremely well presented and well thought out. Rather than simply providing all interviews in succession as I had feared, resulting in a dry, repetitive reading experience that would have been rendered slightly pointless by the interviews’ ready availability online, the eBook breaks the interviews down by subject matter and provides each interviewee’s opinion as a neat, standalone quote – with each bite-sized snippet following a brief introduction to the issue at hand (ranging from finding clients to developing specialisms).

And this format really serves to highlight what I always considered to be the standout feature of Lloyd’s interview series: its ability to ask pertinent questions which lead to valuable insight rather than just gleaning simple biographical information which, while interesting, won’t leave a lasting impression or provide substantial benefits.

In terms of audience, the eBook is primarily geared towards new translators and translation students – as attested by its subtitle of ‘Practical advice on starting out as a professional translator from successful freelancers’ – and it does a great job of providing a range of views on the key issues that you will encounter when entering the profession. The selection of interviewees encompasses an appropriately wide range of backgrounds and, more importantly, results in an even wider range of opinions on the topics covered, reflecting the lack of clear-cut answers to issues in the industry (for example, are translation-specific degrees really necessary when so many professional translators do an excellent job without them?).

Overall, the obvious verdict is that Lloyd’s eBook shouldn’t be missed. As free resources go, this is right up there with the best a new translator can get, with an impressive amount of information packed into just 28 pages from cover to cover. While the content may prove less relevant to established professionals who have encountered all of these issues first-hand, there is enough interesting food for thought to keep you turning pages (or scrolling down) and its inviting length means you can speed through the content over the course of a leisurely lunch break.

Well put together, light and insightful, the eBook provides an infinitely more compact and engaging experience than simply reading through each interview in isolation, so give it a try today.

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