Book review: A translation sales handbook
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The translation sales handbook

I believe the book “A translation sales handbook”, written by Luke Spear,  is a relatively new and unknown book for translators worth mentioning. I heard about it through some colleagues who were interviewed in this book and who shared that on Twitter. It sparked my curiosity and I bought it and read it and would like to introduce it and recommend it to readers here. Just to clarify, I was not sent the book or asked to review it.

There are already a few other really great books focusing on the business of freelance translators, such as “How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator”, by Corinne McKay, “The Entrepreneurial Linguist, by the Jenner twins and “The Prosperous Translator”, by Chris Durban, so why buy yet another business book for translators?

The translation sales handbook – A roadmap to higher rates, better clients, by Luke Spear is a very comprehensive sales handbook for translators. It is not just any sales handbook, but it is specifically geared towards translators, just like the title says. I thought this one has a unique angle and some really good arguments. It is full of practical advice and examples for the case for value pricing, how to market to direct clients and to agencies, how to position your translation services, tools for growth such as translation tools and productivity tools, business security, optimizing your website and more. Particularly the tool tips covered some for me unknown tools for writing speed, security, backup, time management and more. The last part of the book has case studies from 12 different translators, interviewed by Luke Spear, all with valuable tips and insights.  Luke Spear has also developed his own rate calculator. This calculator sets a minimum suggested rate, calculates potential growth, shows the most profitable agency/direct client model for you and takes both non-billable work hours and words per hour speed into account. I have not worked with the rate calculator myself yet, but it sounds very interesting.

My favorite part of the book was the appendix though. In the appendix you can find a roadmap for growth, the rate calculator, a sample translation brief, a sample of terms of business and further resources.

The book is written in a very practical, no-nonsense way and includes a lot of practical advice that’s easy to relate to and use right away. Many of the tips were new to me, and I have read quite a few business books and translator books already.  I highly recommend all translators to take a look at it at

Swedish Translation Services is a company owned by Tess Whitty, a freelance translator (English-Swedish), proofreader, editor, copy writer, localizer and entrepreneur.


  1. Alexandra says:

    I bought it as soon as it came out but then I kind of forgot I had it (that’s the trouble with electronic books – out of sight, out of mind ..)

    Thanks for the reminder. Will give it a read this weekend.

    • Tess says:

      I know Alexandra! I have to print out the electronic ones and put them in a small binder to read them. Otherwise it does not happen.