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Poll: What kind of dictionaries do you usually use?
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 22:18
Feb 15, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What kind of dictionaries do you usually use?".

This poll was originally submitted by Monika Jakacka

View the poll here

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Nicholas Ferreira  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:18
Spanish to English
+ ...
A translator is as good as his tools Feb 15, 2007

Hard copy dictionaries are important, but I rely more heavily on free online dictionaries for my work, owing to their ease and speed in consultation, and ability to find related words quickly.

My essential tools are:
- between Spanish, French and English. Great for any term, as well as common expressions and idioms. The archived forum entries have answered many a question for me.

- KudoZ search: for the more challenging expressions and nuances.

- / to find the exact, precise word to express or understand a concept in English

- Mediadico: OK for consultations in French. Helpful because it integrates directly with Microsoft Office.

Then there are an assortment of other sites I use on occasion for specific needs: regional expressions in Spanish or English, idioms, acronyms, Latin phrases, pop culture, etc.

And of course the "almighty Google" to confirm that my way of saying something has been said before in the history of humanity. Creativity is a good thing, but not necessarily in the field of translation!

In summary, the abundance of online resources are a huge asset, and should greatly contribute to the quality and hopefully accuracy of the translations we produce.


Pamela Peralta  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:18
English to Spanish
+ ...
I have a question Feb 15, 2007

I need you to clarify one thing for me, Monika. Are you including ProZ's glossary in the dictionary category?



Victor Dewsbery  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:18
Answer missing Feb 15, 2007

How do I indicate "several of the above"?


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:18
Spanish to English
+ ...
I don't have a broadband connection... Feb 15, 2007

because of where I live ... so using online dictionaries is much slower than CDs. I'm also rather wary of some online dictionaries, and have never been a fan of Webster. I mainly use the Oxford Superlex, Routledge Technical and Business dictionaries, as well as several hardbacks.
Resouce banks like PubMed and Proz glossaries are also useful, but they're not dictionaries per se...


Local time: 07:18
French to English
+ ...
Books Feb 15, 2007

Although I love books and I do have (quite) a number of specialised dictionaries, my main tool is my collins on CD. I also use the eurodicautom for technical stuff and one or two glosseries I've compiled for myself on exel.


Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:18
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Paper Feb 15, 2007

When working at home, I prefer the paper version because I can stand up every 10 or 15 minutes and that's good to be healthy.

When I'm not at home I use the CD version as it would be very pathetic and weary to be escorted by a 2 kilogram dictionary everywhere.

[Edited at 2007-02-16 03:21]


Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:18
Member (2004)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Exactly Feb 15, 2007

Victor Dewsbery wrote:

How do I indicate "several of the above"?

Exactly. For almost every project I use a mix of paper dictionaries, free or fee online dictionaries, and other types of resources as well.


Parrot  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:18
Spanish to English
+ ...
I'm with Victor Feb 16, 2007

A quick sweep of the shelves indicates there are more than 30 dictionaries doing active duty here, but I can't say I'm paper-based because I make extensive use of on-line resources. (A lot of that paper is specialized, and hence too important to ignore, but they don't cover every specialist field I sometimes have to deal with).


Claudia Aguero  Identity Verified
Costa Rica
Local time: 23:18
Spanish to English
+ ...
Several of the above Feb 16, 2007

I use a combination of sources: paper dictionaries, eurodicautom, term search, free online dictionaries. In many cases, I also browse websites of well-known companies in the field I'm working at that moment, it's a good way to confirm the use of certain expressions.


Ikram Mahyuddin  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:18
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Combination Feb 16, 2007

I think most of translators use combination of dictionaries. However, I find myself mainly using CD ROM dictionary.


Miranda Joubioux  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:18
French to English
I put paper, but that's only because there's nothing that encompasses all of them... Feb 16, 2007

I put paper, because the majority of my work is specialized, therefore requiring specialized dictionaries and other works of reference.

Although online dictionaries are useful, particularly GDT and even Kudoz they are far from being sufficient.
If there were more CD dictionaries on the market, I' probably use them more, but unfortunately paper dictionaries are always first to be published.

However, this said I would find it very difficult to go back to the days when there was hardly anything on the Internet. For research purposes alone it's a fantastic tool.


French Foodie  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:18
French to English
+ ...
combination, but... Feb 16, 2007

Like others, I use a combination, but I voted paper for this poll because I find the tools I turn to the most are my unilingual paper dicos (Petit Robert for French and Oxford for English), which I find more useful than a bilingual dictionary, and because my spelling is awful and I like to double check.
I am also a frequent user of the excellent Oxford Guide for Writers and Editors for niggly little questions like whether the Seven Years War has an apostrophe or not.

I don't use many online dicos, but I do use a lot of online tools such as Britannica online and Grove Art Ency. online - much easier and faster than pulling those huge tomes down off the shelf!


Karen Stokes  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:18
Member (2003)
French to English
New Oxford Spelling Dictionary Feb 16, 2007

Mara Bertelsen wrote:

I am also a frequent user of the excellent Oxford Guide for Writers and Editors for niggly little questions like whether the Seven Years War has an apostrophe or not.

Hi Mara,
Yes, I like the Guide a lot too. Do you know the New Oxford Spelling Dictionary - it's in the same format as the Guide - and so much quicker (not to mention lighter) than leafing through one of the bigger Oxfords if you just want to check a spelling: good on US/UK variants too.


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:18
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Several of the above... Feb 16, 2007

If it goes on frequency, then my collection of CDs wins out because it is so quick and easy to press a couple of keys and check on this and that... But for some jobs I use the paper ones even more, and have even bought a paper copy of a free on-line dictionary.

The CDs are closely followed by a really neat Danish-English on-line dictionary that is permanently installed and only costs a very small yearly subscription.

Otherwise it depends on the source language. I have practically no electronic resources for Norwegian, but good hard-copy dictionaries.

I often wonder how other 'small' languages cope! The three I work with are spoken in countries among the most affluent in the world, and they spend a lot of resources on good dictionaries. There are some really brilliant specialist lexicographers who also receive funds from the EU, I believe. I've had the privilege of being taught by two or three of them.

But however brilliant people are, compiling dictionaries takes a lot of time and resources. And the 'smallest' languages need them most...

Hats off to those who work with dictionaries and make the resources available in any form!


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