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When the Dictionary is Wrong
Thread poster: the Train

the Train  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:49
English to Arabic
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Mar 19, 2007

Hi,

It seems that any corporation with a little bit more cash and too much time on its hands can simply whip up something in English and Arabic and dump it somewhere on the internet and call it a dictionary.

Feedo medical dictionary lists ‘fracture’ as
كسر
I did not stay around for any longer. If a word as simple as fracture has a WRONG entry in a 'dictionary', what chance do Latin words have? Is this gung-ho approach something to be proud of enough to post on the internet? I remember the Hadith by the Prophet
إذا بليتم فاستتروا

What is going on? Is this the ultimate rite of passage these days? Or someone is too happy with what they think they know. Is it a fad? It's a plague!

It always bothered me that when a translator wanted to translate a word, instead of using a dictionary, they simply performed
اجترار للمعلومات
in the same manner cows will keep re-eating what they had eaten before. Translators keep speculating and stretching things beyond their limits and suddenly a 'five o'clock shadow' becomes a creepy person sneaking around at five o'clock, a ‘test of time’ becomes a test with a certain duration. Doesn’t all look pretty this way? Then, why bother and open a dictionary?

Yes, I used to think... 'open a dictionary for God's sake!!'... Now I do not know what to think!!! [Alert. Alert. Dictionary closing in!].

This problem is not limited to the internet. It is everywhere. Is there no authority in the Arab world to regulate who publishes what when it comes to dictionaries? Where are the syndicates? Where are the stamps, seals of approvals, red wax, tax stamps, and footprints governments are too happy to put onto everything EXCEPT THIS!!

I can only beg my colleagues to use dictionaries and glossaries from reputable sources that have experience in their fields, AND have linguistic merits, AND have a reputation to protect. The more international they are, the better.

Please compare two references or more until you find something you can unquestionably trust.

Thank you everybody for reading. I hope we can have a good debate on this. I really believe something has to be done.


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S Abdullah
English to Arabic
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It's not only Arabic Dictionary problem Mar 19, 2007

المشكلة ليست محصورة بالقواميس التي تصدر من جهة عربية

بل تشمل جميع الجهات المشهورة وغير المشهورة ويمكنك مراجعة الرابط التالي بهذا الموضوع

http://www.wataonline.net/site/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=33&forum=33


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Nisreen Barakat  Identity Verified
Palestine
Local time: 03:49
English to Arabic
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Sad but True Mar 19, 2007

You are absolutely right! this is a very annoying phenomenon... But it isn't restricted to online dictionnaries, the internet CANNOT be the only reliable source of any information! Every internet user must be very careful in trusting the sites he/she consults. And we, as translators, must refer to more than one source as you have mentioned.

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the Train  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:49
English to Arabic
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I have seen it Mar 19, 2007

Hi Abdulla,
Thank you very much for replying to my posting. In fact I visited the link. Thank you for sending it to me. I could see that person talking about the 'differences' in relation to the many uses of Arab/Arabic/Arabian, etc. has missed a point that these words in English have ligit uses. For example, Arabian is a references to Asian Arab countries of the GCC area where there is -only- a reference to the heritage and old culture (for example.. Arabian horse, Arabian nights, etc.). Arabic is for everything that has to do with the language. Arab is used only for the people or the countries, the media, etc. These are specific uses and are not confused by native speakers who have enough background to know what they are referring to. The uses of the other words in the forum can be analysed as well and I can assure you that they have nothing to do with confusion at all. In fact, 'our' Arab dictionaries that confuse them up and mess them up so we no longer know what is which.

I hope to hear from you again on this. And thank you very much for reading.


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the Train  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:49
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Believe it or not... Mar 19, 2007

Nisreen Barakat wrote:

And we, as translators, must refer to more than one source as you have mentioned.



The problem is too big beyond imagination. I remember in the early Nineties I worked on this project when we were requested to copy the translation of Quran made by Al-Azhar from books to CDs. Their translation has been already on the market for several years. I nearly fell off my chair when I saw what I was supposed to 'copy' as is. It was pure blasphemy made by Al-Azhar themselves only because they have no clue which word to use. Examples were 'the companions of Prophet Mohammed WROTE Quran'. This is instead of transcribed or wrote down. Telling someone that something is wrong after years and years of thinking it is the right thing is useless. I wish there is something like a voice of authority... but what shoud I say?
إن رب البيت بالدف ضارب
It is heart-warming to see someone seeing the problem too.

Thank you very much.


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S Abdullah
English to Arabic
+ ...
you are talking about different things Mar 20, 2007

the Train wrote:

I could see that person talking about the 'differences' in relation to the many uses of Arab/Arabic/Arabian, etc. has missed a point that these words in English have ligit uses.



المشكلة عندما يتم الكلام على سبيل المثال عن نوعية من القماش سميت كذا لأن أصلها مدينة عربية، في النشرات السابقة لنفس الناشر كانت تكتب كل المعلومات، أما في الطبعات الجديدة فقد حذفت كل المعلومات وبقي الأسم فيصبح للقارئ وكأنه غربي

لا أدري إن كنت سمعت بتعريف العرب في قاموس ويبستر على الإنترنت والمعاني القبيحة التي كانت في تعريفه، هذا مثال آخر

تحويرات كثيرة واختزال لاحظتها حصلت للتعاريف المستخدمة لنفس الناشر وفرق شاسع ما بين طبعة قديمة وطبعة حديثة، ويمكنك مراجعة ذلك بنفسك إن كانت لديك طبعات قديمة وحديثة لنفس الناشر، ويمكنك أن تراجعي أي مفردة من أصل عربي أو لها علاقة بالعرب (مسلمين أو مسيحيين) وستشاهدي الفرق

فأن كانت بعض القواميس العربية على الشبكة قد قصرت في تكملة جهودها العلمية

فغيرهم قد حرّف واختزل كل ما له علاقة بالعرب (مسلمين ومسيحيين) وأتمنى أن تكون الجهود في التوعية تشمل الجانبين للوصول إلى مصادر علمية صحيحة من الجانبين

مع تحياتي للجميع


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Sam Berner  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 10:49
Member (2003)
English to Arabic
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Just to add one more conspiracy theory :-) Mar 26, 2007

Has any of you guys seen the new خارم بارم translations of websites on Google?? Everytime I have to search for a term on that engine, I start getting heartburn. I am not usually a very excitable person, لكن والله لو ربنا رمى بصاحب البرنامج الذي يقوم بترجمة الصفحات تلك لنال مني ما تناله اللحمة قبل أن تصبح مقانق.

What is most saddening is that I am coming across clients asking me to evaluate such website translation, and tell them if it is as good as say, SISTRAN German to English.

I think who ever instituted this MT program on Google has a hidden agenda


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the Train  Identity Verified
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Charity Begins At Home Mar 27, 2007

Sam Berner wrote:
I think who ever instituted this MT program on Google has a hidden agenda


If the Chinese do not seem to agree on what the proper uses of أن are, do we blame Jamaicans for their failure to use it properly? But of couse, it is Jamaicans who should be more Chinese than the Chinese, and compile accurate Chinese dictionaries, and do all they can to promote sound practices when translating, editing, writing, reading, and communicating in Chinese. Moreover, it is the Jamaicans who are responsible for the well-being of Chinese in Chinese schools, publishing houses, syndicates and media. Unfortunately, Jamaicans are not doing a good job at it. Neither for Chinese nor for Arabic. There has to be a hidden agenda indeed! One wonders by which side in this case.


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S Abdullah
English to Arabic
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ظ„ط§ ط£ط¯ط±ظٹ ظ…ط§ ط¯ط®ظ„ ظ†ط¸ط±ظٹط© ط§ظ„ظ…ط¤ط§ظ…ط±ط© ظˆظ„ط§ ط§ظ„ط¬ط§ظ…ظٹظƒظٹظٹظ† ظپظٹ ط§ظ„ظ…ظˆط¶ظˆط Mar 28, 2007

لا أدري ما دخل نظرية المؤامرة ولا الجاميكيين في الموضوع؟


أنا ذكرت لكم ملخص ملاحظات رأيتها من خبرتي مع القواميس وصناعتها لأكثر من 17 عاما

ولم أتكلم عن جهات دخلت جديد على الخط ونشروا موقع على الشبكة العالمية للمعلومات،

تكلمت عن نفس الناشر لنفس القاموس والفرق ما بين طبعة قديمة وطبعة حديثة،وفي الرابط أعلاه تجدي أمثلة للكلمات





[Bearbeitet am 2007-03-28 04:30]

[Bearbeitet am 2007-03-28 04:32]


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the Train  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:49
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An explanation Mar 30, 2007

S Abdullah wrote:

لا أدري ما دخل نظرية المؤامرة ولا الجاميكيين في الموضوع؟


[Bearbeitet am 2007-03-28 04:30]

[Bearbeitet am 2007-03-28 04:32]


I was replying to Sam's comment. Although, the whole idea of my answer is why blame them if 'our own' is even more of a mess!
I understand your point.


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Alaa Zeineldine  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 02:49
Member (2002)
English to Arabic
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Fracture Mar 31, 2007

the Train wrote:
It seems that any corporation with a little bit more cash and too much time on its hands can simply whip up something in English and Arabic and dump it somewhere on the internet and call it a dictionary.

Feedo medical dictionary lists ‘fracture’ as
كسر
I did not stay around for any longer.


What is wrong with the above translation? How else should one translate fracture?


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the Train  Identity Verified
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Hi Mar 31, 2007

Alaa Zeineldine wrote:

[What is wrong with the above translation? How else should one translate fracture?


A fracture is شرخ it is not كسر and they are two different things in medicine, as well as other disciplines.
Thank you for asking.


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Alaa Zeineldine  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 02:49
Member (2002)
English to Arabic
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Fracture Mar 31, 2007

the Train wrote:
A fracture is شرخ it is not كسر and they are two different things in medicine, as well as other disciplines.


What is the medical term for كسر?


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the Train  Identity Verified
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I know all the rest of it Mar 31, 2007

Alaa Zeineldine wrote:

[What is the medical term for كسر?


As you and I are aware there is no "usage" in medical English of the word كسر as a stand-alone term. All doctors writing their medical reports from emergency rooms and/or about cases of torture/death make a clear "distinguishment" in both Arabic and English between a fractured wrist and a broken leg, a fractured skull and a broken skull.

I am well aware that our medical dictionaries do not make this distinguishment TODAY. I had a dictionary from the Thirties that is now out of print that made the distinction.

Axiomatically, a fracture is a type of a كسر but while a fractured rib might or might not be translated as a broken rib, a broken rib -not a fractured rib- is the one more likely to puncture a person's lung.

If you visit site of the UMD, you will find fracture listed as كسر.

In our training years we saw experts dismissing our translations as "wrong" because they came out from dictionaries while what was "out there" was totally different. I hold doctors more aware of what they are talking about than linguists.

Of course, the next comment will be "But the UMD".... My answer is... But الأسيوطي


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Alaa Zeineldine  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 02:49
Member (2002)
English to Arabic
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This is not the point Mar 31, 2007

Dear "the Train",

You have correctly realized that I was making a point, but it has nothing to do with the UMD, the UMD's correct translation of "fracture" as كسر notwithstanding.

Let me first backtrack to your first post to recall your wish that "we can have a good debate on this". Yet this is made somewhat difficult when further discussion is preempted by stating that you "know all the rest of it", and furthermore, you dictate what the next response must be and at once render it futile -in your view- with the concluding argument "but الأسيوطي" which begs for relevance.

You cannot conduct a good debate with the presumption that your basic premise is beyond question. As a matter of fact, it is not.

Now to my point, which is simply that we should not be hasty in our judgment. I do not recall using the Freedo medical dictionary before, but to make a judgment based on the first term that one encounters is much too hasty, even if this entry was truly wrong. You make this case yourself when you mention that the UMD translates the same term similarly. I will also add that it would be phenomenally difficult for anyone to find a single good dictionary that does not provide the same translation for "fracture". So even if it was wrong, a single term cannot be sufficient to discount a reference.

Having said that, the translation is correct, and I was a little surprised how everyone went along with the discussion without stopping at the initial basic assumption. Leave aside the adjectives "fractured" and "broken", your premise was based on the noun "fracture".

The following definition from Dictionary.com is consistent with Webster's Collegiate Dictionary that is on my desk:

frac·ture

–noun 1. the breaking of a bone, cartilage, or the like, or the resulting condition. Compare comminuted fracture, complete fracture, compound fracture, greenstick fracture, simple fracture.
2. the act of breaking; state of being broken.
3. a break, breach, or split.
4. the characteristic manner of breaking: a material of unpredictable fracture.
5. the characteristic appearance of a broken surface, as of a mineral.
–verb (used with object) 6. to cause or to suffer a fracture in (a bone, etc.).
7. to break or crack.

The following definition is from a medical dictionary referenced by Temple University Hospital (http://www.medilexicon.com/medicaldictionary.php?t=35280):

fracture (Fx)
Type: Term

Pronunciation: frak′chūr

Definitions:
1. To break.
2. A break, especially the breaking of a bone or cartilage.

Hope this helps.


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