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Does anyone still use paper dictionaries?
Thread poster: Fiona Grace Peterson

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:35
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes Jan 8

I still occasionally use my Diccionario de Términos Jurídicos by Alcaraz Varó and Hughes (ES-EN / EN-ES), as I haven't found anything as useful online. And the Beigbeder Technical Dictionary (ES-EN), a curate's egg at best.

 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 17:35
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Because the paid versions are bigger and better Jan 8

jyuan_us wrote:

Chris S wrote:

Why would I pay to use the online version of a dictionary I already have in paper form?


Why would you have to use a paid version?

[Edited at 2019-01-06 21:39 GMT]


I use a combination of online dictionaries and paper ones.
My languages overlap a little with Chris S's, but we work in different subject areas. I don't like the payment system for the Swedish dictionary (partly because I don't live in Sweden, and we are not in the Eurozone etc. etc.). So I use the free one, but I used to like the paid version before it changed hands. I don't work with Swedish as much as I used to.

I pay quite a hefty annual subscription for my Danish dictionary package. Lexicographers have to live, and the specialist dictionaries are not free. But I then know the dictionaries are reliable.
I have paper copies of some of them, but I could not get all the volumes and updates for the same price as the online subscription. (I am not sure the paper versions are updated very often at all - the number of copies sold is very low, as Danish is not a very widely spoken language.) Apart from that, the books are large and heavy, and it is easier just to use the online ones!

The situation will vary from one language pair to another, but everyone has to look at what is available online, and whether any subscriptions give a suitable return on the investment, compared with hardback dictionaries.


 

Jiaying Ma
Australia
Local time: 03:35
English to Chinese
+ ...
I only use them for taking translation exams(NAATI) Jan 9

Most of the time I just search words on the internet, much more efficient.

Matheus Chaud
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
lexical competence Jan 9

A big problem with electronic dictionaries is, as with CAT--without reading, writing, thinking, speaking, using, and memorizing consciously--they do more harm than good, making a translator chronically addicted and heavily dependent on TMs/glossaries or the internet.

Unlike interpreters and no-CAT translators, most modern specialists in computer-aided translation don't practice offline and they just can't do without a CAT tool, alas.

I know there's a Tutor and buzz words of the day applets for Lingvo and other e-dictionaries, yet I do prefer a paper dictionary


Kaspars Melkis
 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:35
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
More on the topic Jan 9

I think if you focus on your specialized area, a dictionary is rarely needed. Neither online or paper ones. For one, you have the expert knowledge in that area, and you may find very few words that you need to look up in a dictionary, so few as maybe 10 or less in a year. For two, no dictionaries will be of any use for industry-specific usage of terms in your area because the lexicographers may not have the knowledge and skills necessary to render the terms properly in your target language.

As an example, if you translate for the health care industry in the USA targeting the Americans who are native in your target language, you may often find that the key terms you need to research have either been inappropriately translated or have not been included in your bilingual dictionary. In my language pairs, for example, even the best bilingual dictionaries are useless for very simple terms of every day use, such as PCP, specialist, co-insurance, deductible, appointment, claim, etc. Even the entry of “coverage" is debatable in some dictionaries. Believe it or not.

Searching what you need with Google is a zillion times better than using a dictionary, either a paper one or an online one.


[Edited at 2019-01-09 17:43 GMT]


Kaspars Melkis
Chris S
 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 17:35
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I work differently Jan 10

jyuan_us wrote:

I think if you focus on your specialized area, a dictionary is rarely needed. Neither online or paper ones. For one, you have the expert knowledge in that area, and you may find very few words that you need to look up in a dictionary, so few as maybe 10 or less in a year. For two, no dictionaries will be of any use for industry-specific usage of terms in your area because the lexicographers may not have the knowledge and skills necessary to render the terms properly in your target language.
….


I beg to disagree! But as I have said elsewhere, the situation probably varies enormously in different language pairs. I check a lot of terminology carefully, in monolingual and bilingual dictionaries, and sometimes in context in textbooks or specialist websites.
In fact I have met and been taught by some of the Danish lexicographers, and I know they are subject specialists as well as linguists.
OK, not everyone is so lucky, but I find my dictionaries are indispensable.


Searching what you need with Google is a zillion times better than using a dictionary, either a paper one or an online one.


I do it, of course, but my specialist dictionaries give me useful hints about what to look for!


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:35
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Looking up a term in a dictionary vs searching it in the internet Jan 10

Christine Andersen wrote:
I do it, of course, but my specialist dictionaries give me useful hints about what to look for!


I've never come across a term that requires me to look it up in a dictionary and get a hint from it about what to look for in my internet search. Would you mind sharing more about how your specialist dictionaries give your useful hints about what to look for?

[Edited at 2019-01-11 04:21 GMT]


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:35
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Monolingual vs bilingual dictionaries Jan 10

When it comes to the use of dictionaries, monolingual dictionaries in your source language is much more helpful than bilingual ones.

 
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