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Poll: Knowing that maybe the best option is to use all of them at some point, I prefer…
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 14:05
Dec 11, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Knowing that maybe the best option is to use all of them at some point, I prefer…".

This poll was originally submitted by José Miguel Braña Montaña

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Noni Gilbert  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
On-line dictionaries Dec 11, 2007

Although my first point of call is almost invariably KudoZ.


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:05
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
CD-Rom dictionaries Dec 11, 2007

This probably depends on your language pair, but I am lucky enough to have several really good CD-Rom dictionaries installed on my computer, and they probably account for 90% of the things I look up.

They are fast and reliable. There is no excuse for not checking and getting the term right and spelling it correctly if I can find it in one of those dictionaries...

Then I like my hard-copy collection, again because they are detailed and reliable.

I do appreciate how lucky I am with English as my target, and my source languages are spoken in affluent countries where a fair amount of resources are available and expert lexicographers have the funds to compile dictionaries.

There are still masses of terms and expressions I have to go 'out into cyberspace' to look for, and I often check KudoZ to see if there are any good comments in an unusual context.
Online dictionaries, Google for parallel texts, and clients' own websites and glossaries are also valuable sources.

THANKS to all contributorsicon_smile.gif


José Miguel Braña Montaña  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:05
Member (2007)
French to Spanish
+ ...
Not a simple answer for me Dec 11, 2007

I have suggested this poll because I'm not sure of the "right" answer and wanted to know what fellow translators think about it.
I love books and I keep using all printed dictionnaries I have, however lower costs and diversity are for on-line dictionnaries. KudoZ glossaries can be very helpful but, as it has been discussed several times, you cannot trust answers 100% (can you with other dictionnaries?).
The option I clearly like less are CD-Rom Dictionnaries.
Looking forward to reading your comments.
Best regards,



chopra_2002  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:35
Member (2008)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Not enough choice for Hindi Dec 11, 2007

Unfortunately, we don't have much Online and CD-Rom dictionaries and glossaries for English to Hindi and I have to rely on paper dictionaries most of the times.


Ivette Camargo López  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:05
English to Spanish
+ ...
Agreed, not always easy Dec 11, 2007

José Miguel Braña Montaña wrote:

KudoZ glossaries can be very helpful but, as it has been discussed several times, you cannot trust answers 100% (can you with other dictionnaries?).

Hola Miguel,

I basically agree with your above comment.

However, I honestly believe that the "quality/accuracy assurance" of Kudoz is not nearly as organized/strict as that of "official" dictionaries published by linguistic-related editors, which, at least to me, makes "official" dictionaries (online, printed or on CD) a lot more reliable in general.

Obviously it also depends on the editing company/expert team that has published the "official" dictionary/glossary and the target audience for which the said dictionary is published.

In the latter case, Kudoz can sometimes (not always) be a useful source of regional differences/nuances, but you can find some "official" dictionaries that also include such differences.

For example, I personally like the "official" Oxford tetralingual (English, Spanish, French, German) general dictionary/CD because, at least in Spanish, it includes entries for different versions of Spanish (for Spain AND Latin America).

But I guess what would also be ideal is that all "official" dictionaries/terminology sources were updated at least every 5 years, because terms can become outdated.




Diana Arbiser  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:05
English to Spanish
+ ...
Very hard to answer Dec 11, 2007

I answered "Other" on this poll. I have to say it's impossible for me to state a preferred type of dictionary/glossary. I use them all, one way or the other, because different translations require different resources. And it's the use of them all which makes me feel I am delivering a good translation.


Parrot  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
My first port of call is paper dictionaries Dec 11, 2007

Where the bilingual ones don't work, I look up monolingual.

Then the on-line dictionaries and glossaries.

(Somewhere in-between are the few specialized CD roms I have installed on hard disk).

Then, Google and other search engines/online tools.

Really last port of call is KudoZ, so my questions tend to have a few complications and basic answers tend to drive me crazy, but that's lifeicon_biggrin.gif


Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:05
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
KudoZ must be the last door to knock Dec 11, 2007

Parrot wrote:
Really last port of call is KudoZ, so my questions tend to have a few complications and basic answers tend to drive me crazy, but that's lifeicon_biggrin.gif

Due to two obvious reasons:
1) If you have the answer at your fingertips / in your bookshelf, go and pick it.
2) Rules enforcement:


Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:05
Member (2004)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Questions about "mosts" and "bests" invite simplistic, misleading answers Dec 11, 2007

I like CD-ROM dictionaries for their convenience: I can use them on long train trips without carrying heavy reference books or having an internet connection.

I like online glossaries (such as IATE) and physical books because they offer a wider range of specialized reference material than is available on CD.

Google and KudoZ searches are also useful but are seldom where I'd start my search.


Alana Quintyne  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:05
French to English
+ ...
Combination Dec 11, 2007

I use both printed dictionaries and Kudoz term searches and glossaries. Depends on the type of document I'm working on.


Reed James
Local time: 17:05
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I keep it all in one place Dec 11, 2007

Ideally, I would store every known word in my language pairs right between my ears. As it stands, I do remember a fair number of them, and have an inkling about thousands more. Nevertheless, I still have the need to look up words wherever I can find them.

One of my favorite methods is asking someone who knows. I find that there is no better dictionary than a living one. Then I would go to my paper dictionaries. I have quite a few piled up next to my desk. After that, I would go to Babylon which is conveniently loaded on my computer, and I can call it up by pressing F10. My last source would be KudoZ. Often, I look up words in several places just to see what differences there may be.

As I said before, I keep it all in one place. Unless I am utterly and hopelessly swamped with work, I always record my terminology findings in Lingo. I have devised several glossaries with detailed definitions, source, descriptions and collocations. That way, I have an "official" source that I know I have used before and have looked up in what I believe to be a reliable source.


Elena Carbonell  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:05
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I chose for printed dictionaries Dec 11, 2007

Maybe because I just bought two or because I loooooooooooove books...anyway I use printed dictionaries, digital, online dictionaries (eurodicautom!!), google search and of course kudoz web search.
I use the printed dictionaries as a safety net (what would happen if my computer went dead on me??) and as a reference when I am working on paper (reading a translation I already made).
Another point is that a few of my specialized dictionaries simply don´t exist on digital form and the other way around so my guess is that there is not a right answer for this poll.


Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:05
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
CD-Rom dictionaries Dec 12, 2007

My first choice is CD-Rom dictionaries:

  1. Normally they permit to perform both headword searches (equivalent to looking up a word in a printed dictionary) and full-text searches (i.e., looking for a word not only as a headword, but also wherever it is used in definitions and examples): this greatly improves the usefulness of the dictionaries.

  2. Often their search engines also permit even more refined searches: you can limit your search, for example, just to nouns, or to words that collocates with other words, and so on.

  3. When they are offered as standalone products, they are quite a bit cheaper than the equivalent paper dictionaries (although when they are not offered as a standalone product, the Dictionary+CD-Rom combo usually costs more than the paper dictionary alone)

  4. Often they are upgraded fairly frequently with more up to date information.

  5. Even if the Internet is down, you can still use them (true also of paper dictionaries, of course, but certainly not of online ones).

I also love books, have thousands of them (and hundreds of dictionaries), but there is really no comparison: I now rely on paper dictionaries only when they do not have a CD-Rom version.

A revealing comparison is when the same dictionary is available as a CD-Rom, as an online dictionary, and also as a paper dictionary (e.g., the excellent Picchi's EN-IT dictionary, published by Hoepli): the content is the same, but the CD-Rom version offers advanced search features not available online, and both the CD-Rom and the online versions permit faster searches than the paper dictionary.

My second choice would be the online version of good quality dictionaries.

My third choice paper dictionaries (true: paper dictionaries continue to work even when your computer is down - useful to those of us who still translate in longhand or on a typewriter, but how many is that?).

There is so much unreliable, misleading and wrong information in the KudoZ system (together with lots of excellent answers), that I would rate this resource last, after CD-Rom dictionaries, online quality dictionaries, ad-hoc specialized online searches, and even paper dictionaries.

[Edited at 2007-12-12 01:22]


Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:05
English to Spanish
+ ...
Google Dec 12, 2007

Just like Reed, I store everything I can fit between my ears, but if I can't find it there, then I go to Google, the biggest dictionary in the world.

Of course using Google also requires a lot between the ears if you want good results, otherwise you can be badly misled.

I have hundreds of paper dictionaries gathering dust, that's all they are good for now.

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