Kim Metzger wrote:
Ron Stelter wrote:
However, I still come across a lot of words/phrases that seem to be almost impossible to know unless you've lived in Germany twenty years. Or Austrianisms. Or Swissisms. I guess I would like to have a "be all and end all" dictionary that would almost always come through for me when my other dictionaries let me down.
I think I can say for a certainty, Ron, that there is no be-all and end-all dictionary for translators. One set of dictionaries is fine for one type of text and another set for another kind of text. Muret-Sanders is a very fine dictionary especially for the more academic types of texts such as history, political science, literature, etc. But even then, dictionaries are only part of the solution. There is no substitute for research. When I get a text to translate that's about a subject that's new to me, I will usually spend a lot of time reading parallel texts in English to get a feel for the language used.
I don't think dictionaries let translators down. Translators can let themselves down. I think a translator who has received no formal training in translation (such as myself) needs to establish some rigorous guidelines. These are some of the basics, I think:
1. Stick to one foreign language and translate only into your native tongue
2. If you don't master the source language, spend a few years in the country
3. Constantly work on improving your writing skills in your target language
4. Read voraciously – both in the target language and in the source language
5. Develop online research skills and amass online glossaries and other resources
So in my opinion, the bottom line is no dictionary has ever been written that will substitute for the hard work that has to go into becoming a translator. There is no shortcut.
Lots of luck, Kim
[Edited at 2004-03-28 18:48]
[Edited at 2004-03-28 19:10]