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Announcing the ProZ.com dictionary and reference board
Thread poster: Jared Tabor

Jared Tabor
Local time: 20:48
SITE STAFF
Mar 18, 2009

Dear members,

I am pleased to be able to announce the new ProZ.com dictionary and reference board.

The dictionary and reference board, which has been suggested and discussed on various occasions, is designed to be a searchable database of dictionaries and other works of reference which may be of use to language professionals. Similar to the Blue Board, members may:

  • post records for works they have used
  • provide feedback entries on records
  • search the database by fields such as title, author, publisher, language pair(s), areas of expertise, etc., to find works which may be of use or of interest for their work.

    Thanks go to Nikki Graham and Cindy Chadd, the first two members of the dictionary and reference board team, the team which will help to guide members in using the feature. Nikki and Cindy responded to a call for volunteers made in a suggestion thread on this topic a year ago, and have been working on the project since. Their time spent testing and providing feedback is much appreciated.

    The dictionary and reference board, in beta phase, can be found at http://www.proz.com/references/ , or by clicking on ""Dictionaries & references"" under the Terminology tab.

    As always, thanks to site members for making this kind of feature possible.

    Best regards,

    Jared

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  • Stéphanie Soudais  Identity Verified
    France
    Local time: 00:48
    Member (2006)
    English to French
    Mar 18, 2009

    Thank you very much, this is a great idea!
    Stéphanie


    Edited to delete my suggestion


    [Edited at 2009-03-18 18:20 GMT]


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    Stéphanie Soudais  Identity Verified
    France
    Local time: 00:48
    Member (2006)
    English to French
    Advanced search Mar 18, 2009

    Why not make the "advance search" feature always visible? I failed to see it when I first visited the page...

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    Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
    France
    Local time: 00:48
    Member
    English to Hungarian
    + ...
    Defining key aspects Mar 18, 2009

    Great new feature, thank you Nikki and Cindy for working it out, and for the staff for implementing it. It can be an extremely useful reference.

    However, I would propose to discuss a very important point: the evaluation aspects. In its present form, it resembles very much the Blue Board. It has been argued that more evaluation aspects would be welcome there, and that suggestion would be quite easy to implement here, as there are very few records yet.

    What makes a dictionary a good one? Here are some aspects:
    1.) Accuracy/Reliability: the equivalents are accurate.
    2.) Completeness: the dictionary covers the subject field well.
    3.) Easy navigation (typography, layout, cross-references, legends, etc.)
    4.) Extras (e.g., contains pronunciation, usage patterns, etymology, warning for incorrect usage, etc.)
    5.) Other aspects (such as availability, quality of manufacturing, pricing, etc.)
    6.) An average of all these indicators - a single grade given preferably by the reviewer (rather than calculated as an average, as the weights of the aspects could vary from reviewer to reviewer).

    These are just some rough aspects, so this is what I would propose:

    1.) Suspend the entries for the time being.
    2.) In a separate thread, let us discuss according to which aspects should the dictionaries be evaluated.
    3.) When that is done, the present entries can be updated, if Nikki and Cindy are fine with it.
    4.) The database can be re-opened to the great public.

    I think many other features can be added on the fly but defining the key aspects should definitely be done beforehand (for consistency's sake).

    Attila


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    Kristina Kolic  Identity Verified
    Croatia
    Local time: 00:48
    Member (2007)
    English to Croatian
    + ...
    Congratulations! Mar 18, 2009

    Thank you for this very useful addition!

    This is something that we have been waiting for a long time and that will certainly be very helpful to all of us. There are so many dictionaries advertised on the web and elsewhere that it has become very difficult to judge their quality without having to buy and try it out first.

    I have so many dictionaries on my shelves that I purchased thinking that they might be useful, but, as it turned out, I only used them once or twice. The ratings made by peer translators will definitely make a substantial difference and help us make the right decision as to the most useful dictionaries.

    Attila just made a good point by mentioning the different aspects that should be considered when rating a dictionary. If raters were to be asked to provide information about these aspects, the overall rating would be even more valuable and interesting. I do not know, however, how it could be implemented since I am not an expert in this field so I will let you guys decide. But I like the idea


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    Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
    Spain
    Local time: 00:48
    Member (2005)
    English to Spanish
    + ...
    Agree! Mar 18, 2009

    Attila Piróth wrote:
    However, I would propose to discuss a very important point: the evaluation aspects.


    I entirely agree with Attila. Some dictionaries are great in some aspecs, weak in others. Being able to score each of the aspects would be very welcome.


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    Erik Hansson  Identity Verified
    Germany
    Member (2002)
    Swedish
    + ...
    Great initiative! Mar 18, 2009

    Thanks Jared for informing us about this new feature. One small suggestion: let's introduce a "date stamp" so one could easily see when a book was put on the list and how old the latest evaluation is.

    Maybe it's also possible to define the books in different categories, like reference "less than one year", "1-3 years" and "more than three years", showing the titles in different colours? Most of the dictionaries are out of date after just some years, at least for technical fields.

    Erik


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    Alejandro Moreno-Ramos  Identity Verified
    Spain
    Local time: 00:48
    Member (2008)
    French to Spanish
    + ...
    Beta but already useful! Mar 18, 2009

    Thanks to it I just discovered a technical dictionary I didn't know. According to the feedback received, it must be superb, so I am going to buy it this week.

    Sometimes I browse Amazon's site looking for good dictionaries, but it has too much uninteresting information and it's usually a waste of time


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    Arnaud HERVE  Identity Verified
    France
    Local time: 00:48
    English to French
    + ...
    Awesome Mar 18, 2009

    We now need a form for both languages, and field categories. Like scrolling lists.

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    Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
    United Kingdom
    Local time: 23:48
    Partial member (2003)
    Spanish to English
    Thank you all for comments / use so far Mar 18, 2009

    Attila Piróth wrote:

    However, I would propose to discuss a very important point: the evaluation aspects. In its present form, it resembles very much the Blue Board.


    Jared can correct me if I'm wrong, but a lot of the programming has been based on the bluebaord, which is why we have actually managed to get this far in the time we have had available, and this was also the original idea of the D&R Board (and also why it is called board as well).

    It has been argued that more evaluation aspects would be welcome there, and that suggestion would be quite easy to implement here, as there are very few records yet.

    What makes a dictionary a good one? Here are some aspects:
    1.) Accuracy/Reliability: the equivalents are accurate.
    2.) Completeness: the dictionary covers the subject field well.
    3.) Easy navigation (typography, layout, cross-references, legends, etc.)
    4.) Extras (e.g., contains pronunciation, usage patterns, etymology, warning for incorrect usage, etc.)
    5.) Other aspects (such as availability, quality of manufacturing, pricing, etc.)
    6.) An average of all these indicators - a single grade given preferably by the reviewer (rather than calculated as an average, as the weights of the aspects could vary from reviewer to reviewer).



    These are actually in line with our original ideas, which were as follows:

    rating for the dictionaries from 0 to 5 on the following:
    - accuracy of terminology
    - includes explanations to help differentiate one possible translation from another
    - value for money
    - user-friendly format
    - useful

    To be honest, I'm not quite sure how these got lost in the process, but we wanted the board to be as simple to use as possible without making it too burdensome for people when giving feedback. Your points 1-3 coincide with our own ideas, but personally, I feel 4 and 5 are perhaps asking a bit much. What we could maybe do is be more specific about the information asked for when the feedback box pops up. At the moment it says:


    Please enter a short comment related to your feedback on this work in the field below

    But we could change this to include more prompts, for example (if we don't add more boxes):

    Please provide comments on this work in the field below (such as how accurate and reliable it is, often you use this dictionary, if it is user-friendly, its strong and weak points, etc.)

    What do you think?




    [Edited at 2009-03-18 22:01 GMT]


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    xxxMihai Badea  Identity Verified
    Luxembourg
    Member (2004)
    English to Romanian
    + ...
    Great news! Mar 18, 2009

    I’m very glad this idea was eventually implemented. Thank you, Nikki, Cindy and staff for making it possible.

    Nikki Graham wrote:

    To be honest, I'm not quite sure how these got lost in the process, but we wanted the board to be as simple to use as possible without making it too burdensome for people when giving feedback. Your points 1-3 coincide with our own ideas, but personally, I feel 4 and 5 are perhaps asking a bit much. What we could maybe do is be more specific about the information asked for when the feedback box pops up. At the moment it says:


    Please enter a short comment related to your feedback on this work in the field below

    But we could change this to include more prompts, for example (if we don't add more boxes):

    Please provide comments on this work in the field below (such as how accurate and reliable it is, often you use this dictionary, if it is user-friendly, its strong and weak points, etc.)

    What do you think?




    Personally, I’m OK with an overall score only. For me, the comments are much more important. I think the phrasing suggested by Nikki is better than the current one because it encourages people to provide detailed comments.

    I’d also have a question. Is it possible to provide feedback in other languages than English? For some books (e.g. a Romanian book on translation theory), this might make sense …


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    Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
    United Kingdom
    Local time: 23:48
    Partial member (2003)
    Spanish to English
    We need volunteers for other languages Mar 18, 2009

    Mihai Badea wrote:

    Personally, I’m OK with an overall score only. For me, the comments are much more important. I think the phrasing suggested by Nikki is better than the current one because it encourages people to provide detailed comments.

    I’d also have a question. Is it possible to provide feedback in other languages than English? For some books (e.g. a Romanian book on translation theory), this might make sense …


    Thanks for your input. Yes, it is possible to provide feedback in other languages. However, Cindy and I cannot understand everything, so we need more volunteers. This means that any feedback given in a language we don't understand won't be vetted until someone joins the admin team who does.


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    xxxMihai Badea  Identity Verified
    Luxembourg
    Member (2004)
    English to Romanian
    + ...
    Count me in Mar 18, 2009

    Nikki Graham wrote:

    Thanks for your input. Yes, it is possible to provide feedback in other languages. However, Cindy and I cannot understand everything, so we need more volunteers. This means that any feedback given in a language we don't understand won't be vetted until someone joins the admin team who does.


    Thanks for your answer.

    I’m willing to help with vetting feedback in Romanian.

    I think it might be a good idea to add an entry about this aspect (feedback in other languages) in the FAQ …


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    Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
    United Kingdom
    Local time: 23:48
    Partial member (2003)
    Spanish to English
    Fantastic! Mar 18, 2009

    Mihai Badea wrote:

    I’m willing to help with vetting feedback in Romanian.


    That's great. Could you submit a support request asking to join the team? Thank you!

    I think it might be a good idea to add an entry about this aspect (feedback in other languages) in the FAQ …


    Yes, good idea.


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    xxxtazdog
    Spain
    Local time: 00:48
    Spanish to English
    + ...
    Date stamp - good idea Mar 19, 2009

    Erik Hansson wrote:

    Thanks Jared for informing us about this new feature. One small suggestion: let's introduce a "date stamp" so one could easily see when a book was put on the list and how old the latest evaluation is.



    I think this is a good idea, too. Thanks for the suggestion!


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