Is Jim Breen\'s WWWJDIC Server reliable?
Thread poster: krishna mallick

krishna mallick
Local time: 02:54
Japanese to English
+ ...
Sep 5, 2002

I am using Jim Breen\'s WWWJDIC Server for quite sometime and getting most of the words for translation. Is this reliable? though it does not give the translation in paragraphs but word to word only.

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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:24
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
As a dictionary, it is reliable Sep 9, 2002

I think Jim Breen\'s WWWJDIC server is one of the best dictionary servers (if not the best) available on-line. It has word-search, and also kanji lookup by several methods. It also has a text translation function from Japanese to English, however it is not a real text translator, it just parses out the words and gives a glossary of those in English.

I guess you know that you can choose from various special dictionaries, life-science, computer, engineering, places, etc. When you are working with a field-specific text, you might want to make sure to check the appropriate dictionary, not only the general J-E/E-J dictionary.

As for reliability, I am not sure what your benchmark is for that.

This dictionary gives you just as much info as any good printed dictionary would, except for sample sentences. In fact, this dictionary server is more like a combination of several dictionaries.

However, just as with a printed dictionary (or set of dictionaries) it is up to the translator to use it correctly, and choose the right translation from the numerous possible choices. We, translators must understand the context, the grammar of the sentence, the structure, and based on that use the correct translation of the unknown word.

I am using Jim Breen\'s dictionary all the time. If I find a word that looks strange, or doesn\'t fit the context, I always make sure to check some other sources (on-line or off-line), as nothing is perfect, and even this dictionary can have omissions or typos. (I must say I found ONE such mistake during the past three years or so... Pretty good, I think.)

So, I am not sure what you are looking for, but let me tell you that there is no good machine translation out there, only some questionable attempts for whole sentence or paragraph translation by a computer. What they output as \"translation\" is more-less useless garbage. Don\'t waste your time trying to find a good one. It doesn\'t exist.

Jim Breen\'s is a very good dictionary. But again, it is just a dictionary.


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Peter Coles
Local time: 22:24
French to English
+ ...
Example Sentences Jan 18, 2003

I agree wholeheartedly with Katalin\'s assessment of Jim Breen\'s dictionary.

However, it\'s moved on from when she write it and now includes example sentences BUT these example sentence come with some major health warnings.

To understand why you need to understand where they come from. Jim\'s site has a detailed explanation, but in essense Japanese-English sentence pairs were supplied by Japanese students of English, supposedly based on bilingual media that they were using.

So what are the health warnings?

Firstly, some of the students were clearly less conscientious than others and there are many errors. These tend to be in the English translations of Japanese phrases which are often just plain wrong (sometimes hilariously). To date I\'ve only found one spelling mistake in a Japanese phrase (wrong kanji used).

Secondly, many of the phrases do not represent normal usage in either Japanese or English. For example, there are pairs that seem to represent the Japanese translation of an English proverb and multiple attempts to translate it back to English, producing strange Japanese and very odd English.

Thirdly, the examples tend to cover only the most common words / kanji, i.e. those that a professional translator should already know how to use or translate.

Nevertheless Jim is working hard to tidy up the database and welcomes feedback, in particular the supplying of examples for kanji not currently represented and corrections for those that are not represented well. I for one wish him every success.

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Troy Fowler  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:24
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
spits out a few odd-balls now and again Apr 5, 2005

I don't have anything specific, but the Breens dictionary will come up with some odd, some-what off-the-mark translations of terms every now and again. I used to use Breens exclusively, but now use the アルク dictionary is my primary one...its really good, and provides more complete-sentence examples (unlike Breens). Check it out:

However, Breens does have obscure terms that come in really handy sometimes. I needed to find the translation for Awamori Okinawan liquor for a recent translation (泡盛), and Breens was the only dictionary that had it.

Good luck.

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Kurt Hammond  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:24
Japanese to English rocks Mar 17, 2006

I agree with "rasputin" - My first resource is - If I can't find it there I'll then check Breen and then go off to Google or any technical glossaries I might have, or a native speaker I can ask.

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