Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Considering ending my Oxford Dictionaries Pro subscription after corpus search feature removed.
Thread poster: Michael Beijer

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:41
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Feb 10, 2014

I am considering ending my subscription to the paid version of Oxford Dictionaries (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/) since they recently removed the corpus search feature as part of their new and 'improved' interface. I am amazed that a company like Oxford University Press would simply remove a feature this important, without consulting any of its users.

I am currently looking for a replacement. Does anyone here have any tips?

If you used the old search interface or care about this issue in any way: please write to them and tell them that you are unhappy. Maybe if enough of us email them they might reconsider.

Here is what Oxford had to say, in reply to an email from Emma Goldsmith, which I have quoted from the IntelliWebSearch mailing list:
Emma:

Hello,
I'm a translator and use the excellent Oxford Dictionaries site (pro version) many times every day.
I'm trying to get used to the new layout and have four comments/questions.

(...)

4. I can’t find the corpus search feature (concordance) at all. I trust you haven’t removed it, so please point me to its new location.

Oxford University Press: I’m afraid it is not currently possible to search the bank of example sentences independently on the redesigned site. We’re really sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you. However, all the example sentences are viewable integrated with dictionary definitions: almost every one of the hundreds and thousands of English headwords and senses is linked to a selection of up to twenty example sentences. More information about our example sentences is available here: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/words/example-sentences-help
(https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/IntelliWebSearch-l/conversations/topics/1812 )

That is, it is now no longer possible to do a search on longer phrases, such as 'specifications of use', to see if it is correct English. It is now only possible to search on 'specifications', 'of', and 'use'. They obviously still have the data, so why on earth are they no longer letting us access it!

Michael

[Edited at 2014-02-10 22:54 GMT]


 

S E (X)
Italy
Local time: 20:41
Italian to English
reply from Oxford Dictionaries on 28 January Feb 10, 2014

reply from Oxford Dictionaries on 28 January in answer to my letter asking that the Example Sentence feature (corpus search) be reintegated. In my letter I had explained the ways in which I used this feature in my daily work as a translator:


Thank you very much for contacting Oxford Dictionaries.

I’m afraid, as you have seen, it is not currently possible to search the bank of example sentences on the redesigned site. We’re really sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you. However, all the example sentences are viewable integrated with dictionary definitions: almost every one of the hundreds and thousands of English headwords and senses is linked to a selection of up to twenty example sentences. More information about our example sentences is available here: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/words/example-sentences-help

We are always looking to improve the experience of our customers, though, and we are very grateful for your feedback, which we will certainly consider when making future updates to the site. It is useful to know the ways in which you used the site as a translator.

Kind regards,
Oxford Dictionaries


I won't be cancelling my subscription, as I still use it daily even without that feature, but its removal is a huge loss. (The 'alternative' suggested by Oxford Dictionaries in no way replaces the Example Search feature.)

If enough people write to them, I imagine they would bring the feature back. So if you used it, do write!

Sarah


 

The Misha
Local time: 14:41
Russian to English
+ ...
Folks, I may be missing the bigger picture here, Feb 11, 2014

but really, what's so super-duper about these Oxford folks, and what do they have that you can't get for free by googling your phrase in quotation marks? After all, it's not like these learned dons are making the samples up themseves, right? I checked that link, and they even admit it themselves that the stuff comes from newspapers and what not. That means it's all out there, so why do you even want anyone standing between yourself and the stuff that everyone can find and use freely? Oh, and you pay for that privilege too? Really, enlighten me, what is it I am missing here?

My almost three decades in this business suggest it's not so much what reference sources you use but rather HOW you use them and WHAT you do with them. Correct me if I am wrong.


 

urbom
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:41
German to English
+ ...
Why not search a corpus of natural language? Feb 11, 2014

Rather than searching through a corpus of isolated sentences chosen as dictionary examples, why not search in a corpus of natural language? There are several available online, either free or with a free trial period.

1. corpus.byu.edu
Interface includes access to Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA, 450 million words), British National Corpus (100 million words), Global Web-based English Corpus (GloWbE, 1.9 billion words) and others.

Tutorial videos: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3FB2495C0B9D542B
Explanation of the benefits of using COCA over Google for linguistic research, with example searches: http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/compare-google.asp

2. Collins WordBanks online.

3. The Sketch Engine.
Includes very large (1 billion+ words) corpora in many languages. Powerful search features. List of resources available on the Sketch Engine site: https://www.sketchengine.co.uk/documentation/wiki/Website/LanguageResourcesAndTools

Tutorial videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheSketchEngine

Try the Sketch Engine's demo collocation dictionary, which is simple to use and provides an example sentence for each collocation: http://www.forbetterenglish.com/?language=English





[Edited at 2014-02-11 06:54 GMT]


 

Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:41
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Yes, please write to Oxford Dictionaries Feb 11, 2014

Michael Beijer wrote:

If you used the old search interface or care about this issue in any way: please write to them and tell them that you are unhappy. Maybe if enough of us email them they might reconsider.


I'd also encourage people to write. To make it easier, here's the e-mail where I sent my comments:
ODO.UK@oup.com

I see that they send out a boilerplate reply, because they sent the same one to Sarah, but if enough people write, maybe they will have second thoughts about axing the corpus search.


 

Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:41
German to English
access through Brigham Young University Feb 11, 2014

I don't know how the interface compares in terms of convenience, but this site offers access to the BNC (among other corpora):

http://corpus.byu.edu/bnc/

I don't know why the other responses were hidden until now, I didn't mean to repeat something that someone else had already said.


[Edited at 2014-02-11 13:40 GMT]


 

urbom
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:41
German to English
+ ...
the price of (non-)membership Feb 11, 2014

Michael Wetzel wrote:

I don't know why the other responses were hidden until now, I didn't mean to repeat something that someone else had already said.


[Edited at 2014-02-11 13:40 GMT]


No problem - I'm a non-paying user so all my posts have to be approved by a mod. Sometimes it takes up to 24 hours.


 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:41
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@The Misha: Feb 11, 2014

The Misha wrote:

but really, what's so super-duper about these Oxford folks, and what do they have that you can't get for free by googling your phrase in quotation marks? After all, it's not like these learned dons are making the samples up themseves, right? I checked that link, and they even admit it themselves that the stuff comes from newspapers and what not. That means it's all out there, so why do you even want anyone standing between yourself and the stuff that everyone can find and use freely? Oh, and you pay for that privilege too? Really, enlighten me, what is it I am missing here?

My almost three decades in this business suggest it's not so much what reference sources you use but rather HOW you use them and WHAT you do with them. Correct me if I am wrong.


The reason it is such a shame that they removed this functionality is twofold: the quality of their corpus, and the fact that it was so perfectly integrated into the best online English dictionary available today.

Have a look at their description of their corpus:
'A corpus is a collection of texts of written (or spoken) language presented in electronic form. It provides evidence of how language is used in real situations, which allows our editors to write accurate and meaningful entries. The Oxford English Corpus ensures that we can track and record the very latest developments in language today. By analysing the corpus and using special software, we can see words in context and find out how new words and senses are emerging, as well as spotting other trends in usage, spelling, world English, and so on.

The Oxford English Corpus is based mainly on material collected from pages on the World Wide Web (some printed texts, such as academic journals, have been used to supplement certain subject areas). It represents all types of English, from literary novels and specialist journals to everyday newspapers and magazines and from Hansard to the language of blogs, emails, and social media. And, as English is a global language, the Oxford English Corpus contains language from all parts of the world – not only from the UK and the United States but also from Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbean, Canada, India, Singapore, and South Africa.

The extensive use of web pages has allowed us to build a corpus of unprecedented scale and variety – the corpus contains nearly 2.5 billion words of real 21st century English, with new text being continuously collected.

As the corpus develops and more text is added, it becomes possible to trace language change over time: words becoming more or less common, features spreading from one region to another, and the emergence of new meanings.'

(http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/words/the-oxford-english-corpus )

Michael


 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:41
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@Michael & urbom: Feb 11, 2014

Thanks for the tips, I will check them ASAP.

Here are a few I already had bookmarked in Chrome:

http://www.webcorp.org.uk/live/ (very good!)
https://wse1.webcorp.org.uk/home/
http://www.natcorp.ox.ac.uk/

Michael


 

Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:41
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
What WAS so super-duper about Oxford... Feb 11, 2014

urbom wrote:

Rather than searching through a corpus of isolated sentences chosen as dictionary examples, why not search in a corpus of natural language?


The Oxford dictionary didn't use "dictionary examples" but a huge corpus. Unfortunately I can't remember which one it was, and I can't look it up to see now, because it's not there anymore!

Thanks for the great links - I'll investigate them.

The Misha wrote:
what's so super-duper about these Oxford folks, and what do they have that you can't get for free by googling your phrase in quotation marks?


I'm not a corpus search expert, but there's no comparison with Google. You're right, Google is a search engine, and it searches gazillions of documents to bring you its gazillions of hits, but it can all get very contaminated.
If you want to learn more about corpus linguistics there's an 8-week course here:
https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/corpus-linguistics
I'm following it (rather slowly) and learning lots.


 

urbom
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:41
German to English
+ ...
What's in the corpus? Feb 11, 2014

Emma Goldsmith wrote:

The Oxford dictionary didn't use "dictionary examples" but a huge corpus. Unfortunately I can't remember which one it was

It was a database of example sentences extracted from OUP's in-house corpus. As OUP puts it:
Oxford University Press wrote:

a vast bank of more than 1.9 million example sentences (around 38 million words) of real English [ ... ] almost every one of these words, senses, and phrases has been linked to a selection of up to 20 extra examples from the databank.

I am a former OUP lexicographer, from the days when the good ol' BNC was still fairly fresh. I suspect the example sentences were chosen with the help of the GDEX system (see paper from 2008 EURALEX conference here -- .doc file) developed by the people behind the Sketch Engine or something similar.

There is a difference between looking at a few sentences that have been selected as "good examples" of a particular word and looking at all (or a representative sample) of the occurrences of a word in a large corpus of natural language. I'm not saying that the pre-selected examples won't be useful, but you will get a different type of information from looking at, say, a KWiC concordance. It just depends what sort of information you're after.


[Edited at 2014-02-11 19:05 GMT]


 

urbom
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:41
German to English
+ ...
Why not just google it? Feb 11, 2014

The Misha wrote:

what do they have that you can't get for free by googling your phrase in quotation marks? [ ... ] Correct me if I am wrong.


Check out http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/compare-google.asp, by the person in charge of the BYU family of corpora:

The Web is much larger than the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA), and Google is a great search engine. So why not just use Google to see what's happening in contemporary American English? Well, as good as it is for most searches, there are things that neither Google (nor any other search engine) can do (or which they do only very poorly), but which are possible with our corpus: [ ... ]


as well as the article "Googleology is Bad Science" from the Journal of Computational Linguistics 33(1), March 2007, pp. 147–151, available here as a pdf.


 

urbom
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:41
German to English
+ ...
even more learning opportunities Feb 11, 2014

Emma Goldsmith wrote:

If you want to learn more about corpus linguistics there's an 8-week course here:
https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/corpus-linguistics
I'm following it (rather slowly) and learning lots.


Some more opportunities to learn about using corpora:

1. http://www.ecpdwebinars.co.uk/page_2796250.html
2. http://ncta.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=7 -- I think you can still sign up to watch tomorrow's (12 Feb) session live.
3. Lexicom Workshop -- a 5-day residential masterclass led by a leading figure in UK lexicography and the computational linguist behind the Sketch Engine. I attended last year's session and recommend it highly.


 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:41
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@urbom: Feb 11, 2014

Thanks for all the great info!

Incidentally, I am currently trialling the Sketch Engine (https://the.sketchengine.co.uk/auth/corpora/), and specifically its ability to create bilingual corpora from user-contributed TMXs. So far it looks very interesting. I have yet to decide though if it is better than just creating my bilingual corpora on my own computer, which I currently do in tlCorpus. One thing is certain: it’s fast. I've achieved queries of under 1 second across 30,000,000 TUs, whereas the same queries in memoQ (which I consider the most capable CAT tool when it comes to dealing with large amounts of TMs) can take up to 2 minutes!

In case anyone is interested, Kevin Lossner is currently designing an online workshop that, although based around memoQ (‘memoQ for legal and financial translators’), will also cover how to use corpora in your translation work. He has also set up a mailing list where we are currently discussing what his future workshops will end up looking like:

See:
'I've set up an (experimental) mailing list - "Translate Solutions" to discuss this, other topics related to continuing education for translation technology and education/training resources. You are welcome to join the discussion there with a subscription request to translate_solutions-subscribe (at) lossner.net.'
(http://www.translationtribulations.com/2014/02/online-workshop-plans-memoq-for-legal.html )

Michael

[Edited at 2014-02-11 22:30 GMT]


 

The Misha
Local time: 14:41
Russian to English
+ ...
Thanks, but no thanks Feb 11, 2014

urbom wrote:

The Misha wrote:

what do they have that you can't get for free by googling your phrase in quotation marks? [ ... ] Correct me if I am wrong.


Check out http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/compare-google.asp, by the person in charge of the BYU family of corpora:

The Web is much larger than the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA), and Google is a great search engine. So why not just use Google to see what's happening in contemporary American English? Well, as good as it is for most searches, there are things that neither Google (nor any other search engine) can do (or which they do only very poorly), but which are possible with our corpus: [ ... ]


as well as the article "Googleology is Bad Science" from the Journal of Computational Linguistics 33(1), March 2007, pp. 147–151, available here as a pdf.


I checked all the links diligently, and just like I expected it is mostly a sales pitch by folks selling dictionaries or doing "linguistic research" at European public universities (do you guys even have private ones over there?) at the taxpayers' expense. If you ask me, that's nice work if you can get it. I am not by any means trying to convince anyone of anything, but personally I'll stick to Google, thank you. I don't need any hand holding. Thanks for the discussion, everyone.


 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Considering ending my Oxford Dictionaries Pro subscription after corpus search feature removed.

Advanced search







memoQ translator pro
Kilgray's memoQ is the world's fastest developing integrated localization & translation environment rendering you more productive and efficient.

With our advanced file filters, unlimited language and advanced file support, memoQ translator pro has been designed for translators and reviewers who work on their own, with other translators or in team-based translation projects.

More info »
SDL Trados Studio 2019 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2019 has evolved to bring translators a brand new experience. Designed with user experience at its core, Studio 2019 transforms how new users get up and running, helps experienced users make the most of the powerful features, ensures new

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search