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

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 12:52
Member
Italian to English
Jan 3

So it's the new year, and I have been gripped by the urge to declutter. I'm tempted to get rid of my paper dictionaries that I have not used for years, but am well-aware of Murphy's Law - as soon as you get rid of something, you find out you need it...

Just curious to hear what others have to say - do you still use paper dictionaries or have they become redundant for you?


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:52
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Years ago Jan 3

Happy New Year ! Out with the old and in with the new! But pause before you throw them out, because although you probably won't ever need them again, you may be saying goodbye to more than just a book.

I got rid of all mine years ago. But now that you've made me think back to my old Dizionario Tecnico Marolli Inglese-Italiano I find I'm still nostalgic for the years when I was using it, and because of the fact that as an architect I used to work with one of its compilers, the engineer Federico Douglas Scotti RIP whose funeral I attended in the Cathedral of Fiesole....with deep snow thick on the ground....

Off-topic: you're well aware of Murphy's Law: are you also aware of Muphry's Law?

[Edited at 2019-01-03 14:44 GMT]


Richard Varga
 

Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:52
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
Paper dictionaries Jan 3

Still got them, don't use them, but they make a nice decoration for my office.:-)

Angie Garbarino
Hedwig Spitzer Cáceres
Liviu-Lee Roth
Masoud Falahati
Francesca Nicolini
 

Tatiana Grehan  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:52
English to Russian
+ ...
Donate your old dictionaries to the local library Jan 3

This way you can always get access to them if you need.

Peter Shortall
tabor
neilmac
 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:52
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
I scan and convert them into searchable PDFs using OCR Jan 3

I would think twice, three times even, before throwing away any dictionary you think may not have been digitised.

Over the years I have been slowly digitising my large collection of now often very hard to find Dutch-English specialist dictionaries. Years ago, you could still buy a few of them here and there online and in second hand bookshops in the Netherlands, but it has been years since many of them have been available anywhere that I know of. I am therefore very happy I have my own personal digital copy (OCRd PDFs) of a lot of them, which I use on a daily basis via dtSearch and various other tricks.

fesdbntx5ewrhdsbkdyl.jpg

Michael

PS: see also: http://www.beijer.uk/wordbook

[Edited at 2019-01-03 15:07 GMT]


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 11:52
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Paper dictionaries Jan 3

I love my dictionaries! I have a few I’m very attached to, as they have been my best friends and faithful companions for a long while. My heart still hurts when I think that I had to offer a lot of them three years ago when I moved back to Lisbon…

Tradupro17
Angie Garbarino
 

Fiona Gonçalves  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 11:52
Member
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Still use them from time to time Jan 3

I still have mine and have no plans to get rid of them for the foreseeable future. Apart from the fact that they serve as a safety net when the Internet is being silly, I do a lot of tourism translation and the texts frequently contain traditional and/or regional terms that 21st-century online dictionaries and even Google sometimes have a hard time with. In such cases my paper dictionaries can be a lifesaver.

Tradupro17
Teresa Borges
Catherine Brix
Viviane Marx
Maria Hansford
 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 12:52
Member
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Dependent on specialist area? Jan 3

Thanks everyone for your replies!

I wonder if dictionary usefulness depends on specialist area? I work in the IT>EN language pair, in the medical field, and neither of the specialist dictionaries I have for this combination and field (Gould-Chiampo; Zanichelli Medicina e Biologia) have ever proved to be of any use. Donating to the library is a great idea, and I've already done that with various paperbacks, but even at the library there will come a day when they decide they need to de-clutter, undoubtedly the day before I decide I need to consult them!!!

I suppose I will hang on to them for a bit longer.

Michael.... how long have you spent digitising them???


 

Paweł Hamerski
Local time: 12:52
English to Polish
+ ...
still use them all the time - Jan 3

legal dictionaries especially, however lots of them from other specialities lie untouched since a long time - due to a lack of customers mostly.

 

Tina Vonhof
Canada
Local time: 04:52
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Not for translation Jan 3

I don't use my dictionaries anymore but I still find them useful when I want to raise something a few inches. I have one under my TV, so that I could put a 3-inch high speaker in front. They also make good bookends or dividers in my book case because they are thick and heavy and they don't fall over. That way I still have them just in case I would ever need them. The only one I have still used a few times in recent years is my Oxford Thesaurus because it offers many more synonyms than I can find on the internet.

Christophe Delaunay
Tom in London
Masoud Falahati
Daryo
Jasmina
 

B D Finch  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:52
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Absolutely! Jan 3

The joy of paper dictionaries, at least the good ones, is that while looking something up, you can notice other, unexpected, things on the same or facing page.

I also admit to having kept my old manual typewriter, even though it might never be possible to find replacement ribbons. We rely too much on electronic infrastructure, without generally realising how fragile it is.


Jennifer Forbes
Tradupro17
Christine Andersen
Angie Garbarino
Catherine Brix
Masoud Falahati
Daryo
 

Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:52
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
I keep them for now - digitalizing may be a good option Jan 3

I am keeping my dictionaries and I'm actually still buying one every now and then (mostly second hand). I will say that I've never used most of them, though. Some others still get regular use, for example a dictionary of Dutch idioms (of which there are overwhelmingly many, a lot more than in German or English as far as I can tell). Some very small but highly specialized dictionaries are used infrequently, but prove helpful not and again.

Digitalizing may be good option. I've done this a couple of times for specialist literature. I used a professional scanning service, which came at a very reasonable price. For TM alignment, there was quite a bit of subsequent work necessary, but the quality was certainly more than sufficient for a searchable dictionary.


Tradupro17
 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:52
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
digitisemybooks.co.uk (highly recommended) Jan 3

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:

Thanks everyone for your replies!

I wonder if dictionary usefulness depends on specialist area? I work in the IT>EN language pair, in the medical field, and neither of the specialist dictionaries I have for this combination and field (Gould-Chiampo; Zanichelli Medicina e Biologia) have ever proved to be of any use. Donating to the library is a great idea, and I've already done that with various paperbacks, but even at the library there will come a day when they decide they need to de-clutter, undoubtedly the day before I decide I need to consult them!!!

I suppose I will hang on to them for a bit longer.

Michael.... how long have you spent digitising them???


I have a special company here in the UK do it, for a very low price they scan the entire dictionary, create a PDF, then run OCR on the PDF to convert it into a searchable document. It's these people: http://digitisemybooks.co.uk/

I've been using them happily for years.

They basically offer two options – destructive or non-destructive scanning – with the latter much more expensive. If I had the money I would have used their non-destructive option (so they actually send you back your dictionary), but I had to opt for the cheaper version as I had/have so many. I've been an avid collector now for around 20 years so have built up quite a collection.

Michael

PS: if anyone reading this has any good Dutch/English, or German/English/Dutch dictionaries they don't want, I would gladly buy them! Contact me via my profile!


 

Joanna Posylek  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:52
French to Polish
+ ...
my dearest friends... paper dictionaries Jan 3

I love them all dearly, they are my best friends. Even if I use a lot of Internet sources, I don't imagine parting with them.
It is an old fashioned love perhaps, but I feel this way. Shelves full of dictionaries, their soothing presence in my room,
keeping me company and helping from time to time.icon_smile.gif Joanna


Teresa Borges
Karen Wooddissee
Angie Garbarino
Jennifer Forbes
Daryo
Sara Massons
Viviane Marx
 

EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:52
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
Yes... Jan 4

mostly in languages where no good online dictionaries are available, or the looking-up is difficult for me - no Cyrillic keyboard, so if my Bulgarian source text is in non-editable format (which it mostly is), I have to compose the word by inserting letters one by one as special characters. Sometimes even in CZFR for technical terms - to find a direction in which to go on looking online.

Barbara Micheletto
 
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