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Announcing the ProZ.com dictionary and reference board
Thread poster: Jared Tabor

tazdog (X)
Spain
Local time: 01:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
not just dictionaries Mar 19, 2009

Attila Piróth wrote:

What makes a dictionary a good one? Here are some aspects:
1.) Accuracy/Reliability: the equivalents are accurate.
2.) Completeness: the dictionary covers the subject field well.
3.) Easy navigation (typography, layout, cross-references, legends, etc.)
4.) Extras (e.g., contains pronunciation, usage patterns, etymology, warning for incorrect usage, etc.)
5.) Other aspects (such as availability, quality of manufacturing, pricing, etc.)
6.) An average of all these indicators - a single grade given preferably by the reviewer (rather than calculated as an average, as the weights of the aspects could vary from reviewer to reviewer).



Thanks for the suggestions. Nikki's already addressed this, but I wanted to point out the fact that the board is also for reference books other than dictionaries, so some of the specifics mentioned here wouldn't necessarily apply in every case. I think it might not be practical to have different forms for different types of references, so that might be an argument for keeping it more general.


 

tazdog (X)
Spain
Local time: 01:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
Good idea, Nikki Mar 19, 2009

Nikki Graham wrote:

But we could change this to include more prompts, for example (if we don't add more boxes):

Please provide comments on this work in the field below (such as how accurate and reliable it is, often you use this dictionary, if it is user-friendly, its strong and weak points, etc.)

What do you think?



I like this idea, Nikki, but I think maybe it should say "reference" instead of "dictionary" (or just "how often you use it").


 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:10
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
How can I add a dictionary to the list? Mar 19, 2009

What a good idea! I've had a look at the dictionary and reference page, but can't see how to add a dictionary to it that I'd like to recommend. Am I being dim? Please could someone explain?
Jenny


 

tazdog (X)
Spain
Local time: 01:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
menu at left Mar 19, 2009

Jenny Forbes wrote:

What a good idea! I've had a look at the dictionary and reference page, but can't see how to add a dictionary to it that I'd like to recommend. Am I being dim? Please could someone explain?
Jenny


Hi Jenny,

In the menu at the left, click on "Add a new resource". It will bring up the form to fill in.


 

Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:10
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
Agree with Cindy's word changes Mar 19, 2009

So it could say:

Please provide comments on this work in the field below (such as how accurate, reliable and user-friendly it is, how often you use it, its strong and weak points, etc.)

Any more comments on this?

Cindy, you also made a good comment about the board not just being for dictionaries, and, therefore, that a more general rating (as it is now) might be better.


 

Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 01:10
Member
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Simplicity vs usefulness Mar 19, 2009

Hi Nikki,

Nikki Graham wrote:
Jared can correct me if I'm wrong, but a lot of the programming has been based on the bluebaord, which is why we have actually managed to get this far in the time we have had available


Yes, the strong connection between the is obvious, and it certainly was a great time saver. Perhaps programmers could comment on how much time they would need to introduce a system that accommodates multiple aspects.

These are actually in line with our original ideas, which were as follows:

rating for the dictionaries from 0 to 5 on the following:
- accuracy of terminology
- includes explanations to help differentiate one possible translation from another
- value for money
- user-friendly format
- useful


Yes, they are similar -- but I seriously think that a brainstorming on which aspects should be chosen is necessary. Neither you nor I mentioned another aspect: whether a dictionary is unique in the given language pair and field or there are competitors. And I am sure that thousands of daily dictionary users will come up with great ideas.

To be honest, I'm not quite sure how these got lost in the process, but we wanted the board to be as simple to use as possible without making it too burdensome for people when giving feedback.


I think that these aspects can be formulated in a very clear fashion, so that people in a professional website will not find them burdensome. It will take them a couple of minutes more to fill out the feedback form -- but it will be much more useful. Otherwise there will be lots of comments like "I like this dictionary, I use it daily", which, is not the most informative/helpful. By providing a more detailed structure, this can be avoided.

One more point: rating the feedbacks, just like on Amazon, would be quite useful. Just a yes/no answer to the question: Did you find this feedback useful? I think it will be a great incentive for evaluators.

Question to programmers: How easy would this feature be to implement?

Your points 1-3 coincide with our own ideas, but personally, I feel 4 and 5 are perhaps asking a bit much.


Perhaps - but my point was not about giving a definitive list, just to point out its importance. If you take a look at the Dictionary review section of the ATA chronicle, you will find two-page evaluations of dictionaries. And it is precisely because of their being detailed, and the multiple aspects that the reader can take an informed decision whether to buy it or not.

As far as programming is concerned, I suppose it makes very little difference whether we have 3, 5, or 8 aspects.

What we could maybe do is be more specific about the information asked for when the feedback box pops up. At the moment it says:

Please enter a short comment related to your feedback on this work in the field below

But we could change this to include more prompts, for example (if we don't add more boxes):

Please provide comments on this work in the field below (such as how accurate and reliable it is, often you use this dictionary, if it is user-friendly, its strong and weak points, etc.)

What do you think?


It is certainly a better wording. However, I wonder whether it will influence the reviewers fundamentally.

Cindy Chadd wrote:
I wanted to point out the fact that the board is also for reference books other than dictionaries, so some of the specifics mentioned here wouldn't necessarily apply in every case. I think it might not be practical to have different forms for different types of references, so that might be an argument for keeping it more general.


Hi Cindy,

Yes, I realize that it is not only for dictionaries but other reference books as well. However, even its name contains "Dictionary" specifically, and I suppose the majority of the works covered will be dictionaries.

I agree that the same aspects may not apply to all references. I am convinced that the best approach would then be defining the categories first: dictionaries, textbooks on translation, style guides, etc., and then work out different aspects for each. Once again, programmers' input would be welcome, but I think it is relatively easy to establish a framework with, say, up to 10 aspects, and then choose the aspects separately for each category of reference books. Perhaps even two main categories, dictionaries vs. other references may be enough -- but I am convinced that discarding the option of evaluating dictionaries from multiple aspects just because it would not be applicable to style guides is not the way to go.

Admittedly, this is not as simple as it could be. The structure of reviews on Amazon is much simpler -- but I don't think that is the example we should follow. This reference board can become a de facto industry-standard database of reference books, so if simplicity goes against its usefulness, the choice should be simple.

Attila


 

Ivette Camargo López  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:10
English to Spanish
+ ...
You got my compliments, too Mar 19, 2009

Hello Nikki, Cindy and all,

I think it's great that this project is finally on. I remember (a while while back) some of the discussions about this.

I wanted to volunteer for this, but I have had a rather hectic time for the last 6 months, between work and personal priorities/matters, but I will write it in my to-do list to at least contribute with some entries.

Great suggestions for improvements, too.

Cheers,

Ivette


 

Caroline Lakey  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 01:10
French to English
Great idea Mar 19, 2009

What a great idea. Thanks!

 

Mihai Badea (X)  Identity Verified
Luxembourg
Member (2004)
English to Romanian
+ ...
I'm already part of the team Mar 19, 2009

Nikki Graham wrote:

That's great. Could you submit a support request asking to join the team? Thank you!



Thanks for your suggestion, Nikki. Jared was very quick and has already added me to the team.

I hope more people will join the team. This sounds like a very exciting experience!


 

Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:10
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
Welcome! Mar 19, 2009

Mihai Badea wrote:

Thanks for your suggestion, Nikki. Jared was very quick and has already added me to the team.

I hope more people will join the team. This sounds like a very exciting experience!


Thanks very much for joining us! If you have any problems, just give us a shout!


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:10
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
I would listen to Attila Mar 19, 2009

Attila Piróth wrote:

I think that these aspects can be formulated in a very clear fashion, so that people in a professional website will not find them burdensome. It will take them a couple of minutes more to fill out the feedback form -- but it will be much more useful. Otherwise there will be lots of comments like "I like this dictionary, I use it daily", which, is not the most informative/helpful. By providing a more detailed structure, this can be avoided.


Agree.

Your points 1-3 coincide with our own ideas, but personally, I feel 4 and 5 are perhaps asking a bit much.


Perhaps - but my point was not about giving a definitive list, just to point out its importance. If you take a look at the Dictionary review section of the ATA chronicle, you will find two-page evaluations of dictionaries. And it is precisely because of their being detailed, and the multiple aspects that the reader can take an informed decision whether to buy it or not.

As far as programming is concerned, I suppose it makes very little difference whether we have 3, 5, or 8 aspects.


I agree, I wanted to write exactly the same comment.

I agree that the same aspects may not apply to all references. I am convinced that the best approach would then be defining the categories first: dictionaries, textbooks on translation, style guides, etc., and then work out different aspects for each. Once again, programmers' input would be welcome, but I think it is relatively easy to establish a framework with, say, up to 10 aspects, and then choose the aspects separately for each category of reference books. Perhaps even two main categories, dictionaries vs. other references may be enough -- but I am convinced that discarding the option of evaluating dictionaries from multiple aspects just because it would not be applicable to style guides is not the way to go.


Again, agreed.

Admittedly, this is not as simple as it could be. The structure of reviews on Amazon is much simpler -- but I don't think that is the example we should follow. This reference board can become a de facto industry-standard database of reference books, so if simplicity goes against its usefulness, the choice should be simple.


The bold emphasis is mine, I wanted to highlight the main point here.
The idea is great, the possibilities are great, let's not be satisfied with a less than great solution.

I would listen to Attila, when it comes to dictionaries. He authored a serious dictionary and definitely an expert on the topic. (Details available in his profile.)
Sorry, Attila, didn't mean to put you on the spot, but I think your opinion should be taken with the appropriate weight.

Katalin


 

Terry Gilman  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:10
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Also agree with Attila Mar 19, 2009

Investing to do this now ("frontloading") will save a lot of grief later.

Great idea. Congratulations and thank you!
Terry


 

Jared Tabor
Local time: 20:10
SITE STAFF
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks everyone Mar 19, 2009

Hello all,

Thanks very much for the feedback so far, and thanks again to Cindy and Nikki. The suggestions made so far will be evaluated for possible implementation. Remember that if you have any trouble using the feature, or would like to volunteer for the team, please feel free to contact staff via support request. Thanks!

Best regards,

Jared


 

Niraja Nanjundan (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:40
German to English
Thanks, Jared, Nikki and Cindy Mar 20, 2009

I tried out the dictionary and reference board in the testing phase and like all of you find it a great idea. As Attila and Katalin have pointed out, it could become a unique resource in the future, but I agree that a lot of work still has to be done on it and Attila has made some good suggestions.

Many thanks to Jared, Nikki and Cindy for all their work on it so far - it wouldn't even be at the stage it is without their efforts.


 

Ivette Camargo López  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:10
English to Spanish
+ ...
Update Mar 20, 2009

Good day,

About the volunteer team: I checked yesterday and I realized that I was already registered in the private forum for this project. So let me know if I still need to submit a support ticket to join the volunteer team.

Improvements: I just checked again the beta reference library and I have to say that, in general, I like its simplicity.

Attila, your comment about the ATA work/dictionary reviews in their Chronicle is interesting, but I guess the main difference is that here we are trying to create a general "reference library", which maybe is something more basic than complete reviews of a work.

However, I agree with you, Attila, in the sense that, at least in the feedback area, the entries could be improved.

I just saw some entries that, for example, in the feedback space merely give the same description of the book, but say nothing about why we should buy them or, like Attila suggested, at least give a yes/no straight answer about this (I think this would be a great feature, at least to get the reviewer's general/personal feeling about the work reviewed; I guess the idea is that the rating number given should answer that?).

On the other hand, I don't know how the entries are being vetted (and if they are being vetted), but I guess they could be vetted organizing the volunteer team to actually take the time to check the entries that are being submitted and see if, when the reviewer did not really give a useful feedback comment (or did not complete all the fields), we can contact her/him to request more details, improve the feedback comment and then vet it. [P.S.: maybe add a checkmark icon or something indicating that the entry has been vetted by the organization team.]

Also, some fields should be mandatory, like the publishing date. I just saw an entry with no publishing date reference, and I think knowing this information is very important.

Finally, I tried the basic search tool, and it worked for the word "Spanish", but not for the word "Romanian", of which I had just seen an entry, so maybe there is a bug or something here.

Cheers,

Ivette

P.S.: I forgot, are we planning on allowing to include online/Internet entries, too?
And I just added another note in the vetting comment above.

[Edited at 2009-03-20 09:13 GMT]


 
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