Poll: Do you collect unusual dictionaries and reference books?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
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Jun 12, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you collect unusual dictionaries and reference books?".

This poll was originally submitted by Christine Andersen

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A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:04
Spanish to English
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Collector's item Jun 12, 2007

I’ve moved house and from one place to another so many times that I stopped collecting anything a long time ago.

As for dictionary or reference books, I can’t even remember the last time I opened a printed one. In my specialty (science) the Internet is the only way to keep up to date. Knowledge changes so quickly that any printed book that’s more than a year or two old is already a collector’s item.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:04
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
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Voted No, but... Jun 12, 2007

My all-time favourite is a Duden Bildwörterbuch (Duden's German picture dictionary) from.... 1935! It has plenty of soldier uniforms and army-related terms... :-/

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Marie-Céline GEORG  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 01:04
English to French
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No, not unusual Jun 12, 2007

I voted no because I have a bunch of dictionaries in my speciality fields but I don't consider them unusual at all. Although I use Internet a lot for research, too, I love books and dictionaries!

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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 20:04
Portuguese to English
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I wouldn't say I exactly "collect" them, but... Jun 12, 2007

I do have a Port-Eng dictionary of swearwords, a couple of idiom dictionaries, a synonym-antonym dictionary and the Duden Pictorial dictionary.

Amy


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Trans-Marie
Local time: 00:04
English to German
+ ...
I’m obsessed with it Jun 12, 2007

I have to confess I’m obsessed with collecting dictionaries and reference books. For instance, when we were sailing along the Newfoundland coast, I found a collection of wonderful drawings of the various shapes of icebergs with the proper names of their shapes underneath each drawing, like blocky, wedge, drydock, pinnacle…

Dictionaries and reference books are a lovely thing to have on your shelf. Sadly, I have been using online dictionaries more and more often because this way I can retrieve information much faster and the quality of online dictionaries has improved over the last years I must say.


[Edited at 2007-06-12 15:43]


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 01:04
Member (2003)
Danish to English
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I can't resist them! Jun 12, 2007

I suggested this poll because I wondered if I was the only biblio-maniac (and suspected not )

I discovered recently that I have far more books than I was aware of! There is only space for books I use at least occasionally for work in my 'den'.

Our large living room is partly lined with bookshelves and the rest with windows. I can't resist buying books at flea-markets and second hand shops. Of course, I buy new books too that might come in useful some day. I have some exciting ones about old furniture, dressmaking and tailoring, architecture, elderly versions of Larousse and Webster and Pears' Cyclopedia... They are more fun to read at bedtime than actually useful, but they have earned me some KudoZ points too.

Likewise cookery books (food from round the world in at least four or five languages...) - I keep some in the kitchen, some as reference in the living room and a few plus actual dictionaries where I work.

Glass is another of my passions... but I keep those by the coffee table.

I have a media Danish to English dictionary or lexicon, with fascinating definitions that are stilll partly valid for printing terms. Copyright 1972 and signed by the author in 1981. I simply couldn't leave that in the second-hand shop!

Why do I never get any jobs about embroidery? The pictures in the books and histories are so beautiful. I suppose I would never finish the job before deadline!

I'm lucky to work in English - books are cheap and plentiful, but the Danes have plenty as well, and I go for any other language I can read or imagine I could learn too, especially if I like the pictures!

We have not moved house for 25 years... but I am not sure that has anything to do with it, judging by the way my parents used to pack and move their books at regular intervals when I was a child.

Of course I use the Net, but there is nothing like riffling through a real book when there is only rubbish on TV.

Strangely, I read very few novels. They get dropped and forgotten except in the summer holiday, when I can read for two or three days on end and actually finish one.

You can always finish reading an entry in a lexicon - well, almost!


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Stephanie Mitchel  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:04
French to English
Visual dictionaries Jun 12, 2007

Visual dictionaries are my favorite. I have the Facts on File English/French and the MacMillan Multilingual Edition. I learn so much just paging through... not only about the items depicted but also about the languages I don't know.

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Csaba Ban  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 01:04
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
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dictionaries, travel phrasebooks, etc. Jun 12, 2007

My favourite collectible items are maps and atlases (I have several drawers full of maps, plus several shelves full of atlases, and their number is growing almost by the week), but I also die for old dictionaries, grammar books and phrase books.
Travel phrase books are a unique genre on their own. They allow a glimpse into everyday life and travel. They are amusing and educational. I have dozens of them from different language pairs and some multilinguals, the oldest one dating back to around 1870. (De-It-En-Fr)
My oldest grammar book was published in 1852. Actually, it's a French course book for Hungarian speakers. My oldest dictionary is dated 1868, German-Hungarian. Both of these are especially interesting, as they include now extinct verb forms and abundant vocabulary that existed in Hungarian until about the 1870s.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:04
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
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Umberto Eco once said Jun 12, 2007

Christine Andersen wrote:

I suggested this poll because I wondered if I was the only biblio-maniac (and suspected not )

I discovered recently that I have far more books than I was aware of! There is only space for books I use at least occasionally for work in my 'den'.


that every book he owned (including given ones) was costing him a pretty penny in terms of floor space occupied (Milan prices).

That said, cookery and travel guidebooks have their own shelves. And just wait till I get my hands on that Akkadian dico...


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:04
English to Spanish
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Tons Jun 12, 2007

I have tons of references I collected back before the dawn of the Net. They now serve to collect dust.

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Niraja Nanjundan  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:34
German to English
My collection Jun 13, 2007

When I saw the poll question, I didn't realise cookery books could be included as reference books. I love collecting them and have cookbooks on Indian, Italian, Chinese, Thai, Moroccan, Indonesian, Turkish and French cuisine. I've tried out at least a couple of recipes from each book.

I also collect travel guides and books on art and architecture.

As for dictionaries and work related books, I seem to have collected quite a few dictionaries of synonyms over the years.

[Edited at 2007-06-13 02:29]


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 01:04
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
But they keep the dust off the shelves!! Jun 13, 2007

Henry Hinds wrote:

I have tons of references I collected back before the dawn of the Net. They now serve to collect dust.


Well, never mind!

Good books should have just a little dust behind them, and I love the smell of my French dictionary. (Cassell's Paperback 1987) It reminds me of the Grammar School library and my first real sweetheart... Although the one I actually used, a birthday present in 1965, doesn't smell any more, and is too dog-eared and coffee stained to be much use. But the tiny slips of paper with advice from our French teacher are still there!

Get a feather duster, or one of the modern plastic ones, and don't worry if you occasionally have to blow the dust off an old friend before you renew your acquaintance!



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Tjasa Kuerpick  Identity Verified
Slovenia
Local time: 01:04
Member (2006)
Slovenian to German
+ ...
Internet is fast - but... Jun 13, 2007

I am sitting right now in my own library - my favourite place, when I read these poll dicussion.
I agree that searching via Internet is a very fast way to find the proper terms. But not all sources are reliable, you have to be pretty careful in using the suggested terms. Even pages that are frequently used are not free of mistakes. We have to remember that many dictionaries are made by persons, who are interested in a particular field, or by many persons, who enter a translation as a suggestion, or just passed by and had an idea, how a term could be translated. On the other side, there are as well many dictionaries made by persons, who work in their specialist area and these pages have proofed to be very valuable.

After all the difference between an online dictionary and a printed one (not always, but in most cases) is that the process of publishing a technical or speciality dictionaries is connected with much more work. A dictionary, which is going to be published in printed form, is usually checked many times by a technical committee, proofreaders, editors, and translators. With this process, the quality of a dictionary improves very much. So I think, it is still very useful to have printed books around, when you work on a translation.

Besides I like the wonderful smell of old books 


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