Poll: If you could use only one source of reference material, which would you choose?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 13:33
Oct 7, 2010

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "If you could use only one source of reference material, which would you choose?".

This poll was originally submitted by Jenn Mercer. View the poll results »

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2010-10-07 20:27 GMT]


Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:33
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
I don't see much point in this Oct 7, 2010

Obviously there is far more information on the Web than in any collection of printed dictionaries, so if we were faced with such a choice, it would have to be the Internet.
But we are not faced with this choice, and there are occasions when printed dictionaries, particularly in some highly specialized subjects, are better; and there may also be occasions on which it is just more convenient to look things up in a reliable printed dictionary than to go hunting online.


Gilla Evans  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:33
Spanish to English
+ ...
It is interesting to consider the differences, but Oct 7, 2010

I agree with Jack, it is not a matter of choosing between them, but of knowing the value of both.

I use these two resources in a complementary way. Online resources are vast and quick, and sometimes unreliable, but paper reference works can be far more specialised and detailed. I can access useful information, often in the form of pictures, on the web, when I am researching an architectural detail for instance, but when I'm describing a wine-making process, I would not do without my Oxford Companion to Wine...

I remember translation before the web, when I would spend hours in the city library, but those days are gone, and translators today benefit from an extraordinary mass of available information, but they have had to learn a new skill in sorting through it to find the correct answer to their query.

[Edited at 2010-10-07 10:02 GMT]


Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:33
Member (2008)
English to Italian
Web Oct 7, 2010

On the internet I find the online version of my paper dictionaries, + other dictionaries (sometimes even more specific), reference material needs to be checled carefully since sometimes it is not reliable, but anyway, using the web, when you know "where", is definitely time-saving.


Phillippa May Bennett
Local time: 21:33
Portuguese to English
Other - a bit of both Oct 7, 2010

To be honest I need both - but I couldn't survive without my trusty Houaiss (Portuguese monolingual) paper dictionary (unless it some how becomes available in its full form on the interneticon_smile.gif ). However, I also need the internet for terminology that is either extremely specific or too new to have made it into the dictionaries.


Jeremy Smith  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:33
French to English
+ ...
Internet Oct 7, 2010

Although I am vehemently against Internet/electronic-reader based supports for fiction, the Internet is perfect for reference works.


Teresa Borges
Local time: 21:33
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I do agree with Jack! Oct 7, 2010

The Internet is time-saving, but printed dictionaries are more reliable...


Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:33
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
internet first Oct 7, 2010

and printed dictionairies second. Not because the first is superior, but for sheer handiness and availability. Also for glossaries in my specialty areas. However I always have printed dictionaries and would not be without them!


Reed James
Local time: 18:33
Spanish to English
+ ...
The best of both worlds Oct 7, 2010

I take the time to compile my own electronic resource with Lingo. I meticulously copy source and target terms as well as any other relevant information from online, electronic and paper sources. That way, I have all my resources in one place, I don't have to hunt for terms I know are in my database and I know beforehand that the terms I find in my database are reliable because I have studied and approved them myself.

I also recommend installing Archivarius to search the hard drive instead of going through individual PDFs. You would be surprised at what goodies are lurking there!

Reliability vs. flexibility Oct 7, 2010

Teresa Borges wrote:

The Internet is time-saving, but printed dictionaries are more reliable...

Indeed. However, dictionaries I purchased more than 10 years ago (mostly medical and other scientific ones) are now totally obsolute and unusable.

That's why I don't invest on those hard-copy references any longer. My more painstaking internet research usually makes up its alleged shortcoming expressed here.


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:33
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Oct 7, 2010

I basically agree with Jack too.
I could happily rely on internet resources 90% of the the time, but in my area I have a lot of outages and downtime so often it is not a an option, at least temporarily.

And printed dictionaries are better for some some legal or technical work, butthe proz glossary is good too...


Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:33
English to Spanish
+ ...
Google Oct 7, 2010

Anthing I cannot find in my head, I find in Google.


Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:33
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Print dictionaries and Internet Oct 8, 2010

One from column A, the other from column B.

For dictionaries, I believe that print would be the better of the two. For references, I think the Internet would be best.


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