Spanish - English Dictionaries for ATA Exam
Thread poster: Danelle Hood
Danelle Hood  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:39
Spanish to English
May 21, 2016

I am a Spanish to English translator and I am preparing to take the ATA exam. I am trying to decide which dictionaries to purchase and take with me to the exam. Does anyone have any recommendations? Now that they are allowing computerized exams, I am allowed to bring both electronic and paper dictionaries. What dictionaries did everyone else use? Thank you for your help!

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Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Some insight May 21, 2016

dhood wrote:

I am a Spanish to English translator and I am preparing to take the ATA exam. I am trying to decide which dictionaries to purchase and take with me to the exam. Does anyone have any recommendations? Now that they are allowing computerized exams, I am allowed to bring both electronic and paper dictionaries. What dictionaries did everyone else use? Thank you for your help!


I sat the for the exam (EN>ES) on 14 April 2016. I had with me:

- law dictionary
- large, really large general dictionary both EN>ES and ES>EN
- style, grammar and spelling manuals

I hardly used my law dictionary (I did double-check a couple of terms, though, but I could clearly do without it). However, I did use my general dictionary very extensively, mostly to figure out the meaning of really large number of idioms. I could guess general meaning but my dictionary really helped me to make sure I properly understood the idiom.

I saw people with twelve or even fifteen dictionaries. I presume it's comfortable to have everything at hand, but there is no time to go though those books, really.

My advice would be:

- if it's a computer-based exam (mine was paper-based), take everything you have/can get.
- if the exam is paper-based, take one dictionary from your field of expertise (law, medicine, etc.) and one really large general dictionary.

Grammar, style and spelling books are nice too, but I did not use them as I saw no need to do so. There is no time either. You write what you know and you double-check some terms, but you cannot go through a style book, for example; there is no time.

Obviously, I do not know yet if I passed the exam or not. I was satisfied with the result, but impressions can be deceiving. I guess I will learn if I passed it or not sometime in August.


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Danelle Hood  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:39
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
specific dictionaries May 22, 2016

Hi Merab, thanks so much for your insight! That is very helpful. Can you tell me exactly which dictionaries you brought? There are so many dictionaries out there. I was hoping for recommendations about which ones are the best for SPAN>EN. I travel so much that I am mostly using online dictionaries and a few dictionaries that I downloaded to my kindle. Since I can't use my kindle during the exam, I am planning to buy a few paper dictionaries and possibly some that I can download to my laptop, but I want people to recommend specific names because I've spent money on some dictionaries in the past and then hated them because they didn't have what I needed or they weren't user-friendly (specifically the electronic dictionaries).

Good luck to you! I hope you passed!


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Spanish - English Dictionaries for ATA Exam

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