Poll: Which resource do you consult first when you encounter a difficult term?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 03:13
SITE STAFF
Nov 28, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Which resource do you consult first when you encounter a difficult term?".

This poll was originally submitted by Châu Nguyễn. View the poll results »



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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2011)
Swedish to English
+ ...
In this order Nov 28, 2014

1. My memory, the one in my head
2. Basic Windows search of old documents folder if the term seems vaguely familiar (easier than a CAT search), otherwise straight to
3. Google
4. KudoZ in an emergency

I hardly use dictionaries at all - chances are a term I don't know won't be in them anyway... Which sounds seriously big-headed, but then I stick to my specialist areas, so I know all the basic terms, and the more esoteric terms are just too specialised for any dictionary in my languages. Maybe if I did French or German it would be different.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 11:13
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Ditto! Nov 28, 2014

Chris S wrote:

1. My memory, the one in my head
2. Basic Windows search of old documents folder if the term seems vaguely familiar (easier than a CAT search), otherwise straight to
3. Google
4. KudoZ in an emergency



But I still use dictionaries...

Forgot to mention IATE and Eur-Lex, which I use on a daily basis!

[Edited at 2014-11-28 09:33 GMT]


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:13
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Nov 28, 2014

It depends on the term. If its technical or engineering, I tend to look my big Beigbeder on paper, then Routledge Technical on CD, maybe IATE online too. For other types of terms I might go to Proz first or straight into Google. Sometimes Linguee for a laugh and to compare options...

So again, there's not really a straight answer I can give, other than "it depends".


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:13
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Online database Nov 28, 2014

I don't come across too many unfamiliar terms, but I often find "difficult terms"-- I recognize the word, but I don't understand how it's being used. For that, I go first to Linguée online. I prefer parallel translations over online dictionaries, which I tend to find dissatisfying. The next step is a general Google research based on my hunches. The third step is large monolingual *source* language paper dictionaries. By that time I'm usually happy, but if not, then I might turn to bilingual online or paper dictionaries. Lastly, ProZ.

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Luiz Barucke
Brazil
Local time: 08:13
Member (2013)
Spanish to Portuguese
+ ...
A combination of these Nov 28, 2014

As everything else related to translation, it depends.

Sometimes I use online database and dictionaries, sometimes a TM, specially when provided by the client, not necessarily because I don't know what a term means, but for consistency reasons (in order to keep the same terminology).

As Muriel, I also like examples of previous translations, but I prefer MyMemory rather than Linguee.

I also can refer to paper books, but not exactly dictionaries. I use sometimes grammars and other reference books on my own target language.


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Alberto Montpellier  Identity Verified
Cuba
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...

MODERATOR
Mostly online search... Nov 28, 2014

By this I mean Proz, IATE, Google itself is a great corpus (of course, always to be taken with a grain of salt).
If it's technical stuff (very often it is) I look first in my own glossaries and dictionaries (Beigbeder and Rouledge are great).


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:13
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
It usually goes like this: Nov 28, 2014

1. Paper dictionaries - my specialist financial and legal dictionaries where applicable.
2. My own glossary of mysterious acronyms, where applicable, compiled over two decades.
2. Proz Kudoz - just in case.
3. On-line search.
4. Colleagues at Sridonium. Marvellous.
5. Prayer.


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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 08:13
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Considering "difficult term" Nov 28, 2014

This obviously implies the term is not already in my memory, which would make it easy to translate.

The first choice, my own TM and former translations, IMO also make the search classify as "easy" and "immediate", even if the term is "difficult".

So I think the question is, where do you search when you don't find the term in your human memory or in your PC memory.

In that case:

1. ProZ Search
2. Google
3. Paper dictionaries - (very rarely, because some terms/expressions you know you'll not find in dictionaries, so you don't even bother looking. Plus, if you don't find the term in Google and all the links it offers, the chances of finding it in a paper dictionary are practically null)
4. KudoZ question to the colleagues

... and following this sequence, I can count in my fingers how many times I was not able to find a translation, and had to walk around the company asking for help.


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Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 05:13
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Paper Nov 28, 2014

Paper dictionaries first because I can enhance several terms at a glance, and then read them faster than online dictionaries. Then, I check their use and availability in an Internet search.

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Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:13
Spanish to English
+ ...
Online Nov 28, 2014

Linguee
Proz
My wife
Wordreference
Bing - They give me points that I can later turn in to food and/or video games
- Image searches can be really helpful
The Translation Gods

Where applicable, I have a network of professionals that are currently working within my industries. If I'm really stumped, I ask them through LinkedIn or even Facebook groups.


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Melanie Nassar  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:13
German to English
+ ...
Agree with my colleagues Nov 28, 2014

who have posted so far. But I do notice that everyone who has posted up to now translates in language pairs with English and another major European language.

I rarely have difficulty finding a translation for a term if I exhaust all the options mentioned. Google, my previous translations, dictionaries, KudoZ, and Linguee, etc. are very helpful for German to English and I find online German-English glossaries on a wide range of subjects, although the scope is sometimes still quite limited.

However, I often wonder what it is like for people who translate between more exotic pairs, especially if neither of the languages is English. I imagine the options are much more limited for them.

I once read an article, I think it was here on ProZ, which said that translators from the major European languages into English are the elite, not because we are so special, but because we have nearly unlimited resources at our fingertips and also usually work with clients in countries with large economies. Not to mention the fact that native English speakers with a really good command of another language are much rarer than the other way around.


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Ildiko Santana  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:13
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...

MODERATOR
What Chris said Nov 28, 2014

Chris S wrote:

1. My memory, the one in my head
2. Basic Windows search of old documents folder if the term seems vaguely familiar (easier than a CAT search), otherwise straight to
3. Google
4. KudoZ (in an emergency)


Same here! The slight difference being that I have not experienced an "emergency" yet when it comes to difficult terms. ; )


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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 08:13
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Just a suggestion, Triston, Nov 29, 2014

Triston Goodwin wrote:

Linguee
Proz
My wife
Wordreference
Bing - They give me points that I can later turn in to food and/or video games
- Image searches can be really helpful
The Translation Gods

Where applicable, I have a network of professionals that are currently working within my industries. If I'm really stumped, I ask them through LinkedIn or even Facebook groups.


I see you put Linguee in first place. This is a personal opinion, but Linguee is like Wikipedia. People post things there at will, which are not verified by anyone. There is no colleague agreement or reviews to the definitions. Therefore, Linguee has many, many wrong suggestions and countless false cognates. I use it too, but it's my last choice. Be careful with the suggestions you get there.

ProZ/KudoZ, on the other hand, is a lot more reliable. Each translation you see there has been subject to the votes, agrees and comments of the community, and only one suggestions among many is selected. Plus, if you click on the links, you'll see explanations and references, links, etc. whereby you have more background to your translation.


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