evaluation of reliability/authenticity/appropriateness of glossaries
Thread poster: Lisa Melvin

Lisa Melvin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jan 5, 2006

I am compiling a glossary as an assignment for an MA in Applied Translation Studies. I have used the following dictionaries/glossaries:
1. www.granddictionnaire.com
2. Eurodicatum - http://europa.eu.int/eurodicautom/Controller
3. Centre for legal translation and documentation at the University of Ottawa - lexique fédéral
(+ Some others (to a lesser extent)

I would like to know how professional translators rate these glossaries?

Thanks for your help.

Lisa


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Victor Dewsbery  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:20
German to English
+ ...
What sort of a glossary are you compiling, and why? Jan 5, 2006

Lisa C Melvin wrote:
I am compiling a glossary as an assignment for an MA in Applied Translation Studies. I have used the following dictionaries/glossaries:
1. www.granddictionnaire.com
2. Eurodicatum - http://europa.eu.int/eurodicautom/Controller
3. Centre for legal translation and documentation at the University of Ottawa - lexique fédéral
(+ Some others (to a lesser extent)
I would like to know how professional translators rate these glossaries?
Thanks for your help.
Lisa


Every glossary and dictionary has been compiled by colleagues of ours. As a professional translator, you must be able to evaluate each entry yourself. Either by checking them against your general knowledge in your language pair, or by researching how the terminology pairs are actually used in monolingual sources in both languages. Even in the best dictionary/glossary you will find translations which are not appropriate for the context you are dealing with (in fact, this will happen several times every day).

Your statement that you are compiling a glossary ***USING*** other dictionaries/glossaries (and for an MA in translation, no less), sets all sorts of alarm bells ringing in my mind. But perhaps you were trying to be brief and didn't give us the whole background. I assume (hope?) that you are compiling a glossary for a specific subject area, that you are using these dictionaries and glossaries as background reading and for occasional reference, and that the majority of your work consists of your own research in monolingual texts in both languages.


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Claire Titchmarsh  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:20
Italian to English
+ ...
Use them as pointers Jan 5, 2006

The only one you mention that I am familiar with is Eurodicautom, which I use occasionally although the quality of the entries varies enormously.

But I would rarely if ever use any glossary entry without first having done my own research in other dictionaries, websites, books, asking native speakers or gleaning any information about the subject that I can get my hands on. You'll save a lot of time if you read up on your subject before you even look at your translation. Good luck!


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Lisa Melvin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
What are on-line dictionaries and glossaries used for? Jan 5, 2006

Yes, I have been looking at parallel texts etc. in my research for these legal terms.

But since the assignent requires 80 terms plus 20 phrases and I don't have too much time, I have looked some terms up in glossaries.

What is wrong with that?
I feel awful now.

Regards

Lisa
(MA, maybe. But I am just a beginner at this sort of thing!)


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Lisa Melvin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, Claire. Jan 5, 2006

Claire Titchmarsh wrote:

The only one you mention that I am familiar with is Eurodicautom, which I use occasionally although the quality of the entries varies enormously.

But I would rarely if ever use any glossary entry without first having done my own research in other dictionaries, websites, books, asking native speakers or gleaning any information about the subject that I can get my hands on. You'll save a lot of time if you read up on your subject before you even look at your translation. Good luck!



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Lisa Melvin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Use of glossaries Jan 5, 2006

Every glossary and dictionary has been compiled by colleagues of ours. As a professional translator, you must be able to evaluate each entry yourself. Either by checking them against your general knowledge in your language pair, or by researching how the terminology pairs are actually used in monolingual sources in both languages. Even in the best dictionary/glossary you will find translations which are not appropriate for the context you are dealing with (in fact, this will happen several times every day).

Your statement that you are compiling a glossary ***USING*** other dictionaries/glossaries (and for an MA in translation, no less), sets all sorts of alarm bells ringing in my mind. But perhaps you were trying to be brief and didn't give us the whole background. I assume (hope?) that you are compiling a glossary for a specific subject area, that you are using these dictionaries and glossaries as background reading and for occasional reference, and that the majority of your work consists of your own research in monolingual texts in both languages.[/quote]

Thanks for your reply.
I have been doing research and using parallel texts. The assignment is to compile 80 terms (French-English) and 20 phrases. I have opted for legal as the specialisation.

I didn't know it was wrong to use glossaries and dictionaries. I thought that is what they are there for.
Forgive me, I am just a student and not very experienced yet.
Regards
Lisa


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Victor Dewsbery  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:20
German to English
+ ...
Keep soldiering on. Jan 5, 2006

Lisa C Melvin wrote:
I have been doing research and using parallel texts. The assignment is to compile 80 terms (French-English) and 20 phrases. I have opted for legal as the specialisation.
I didn't know it was wrong to use glossaries and dictionaries. I thought that is what they are there for.
Lisa


Hi Lisa,
Don't despair. You can continue your hybrid approach, but make as much use as possible of monolingual texts. If you can get hold of monolingual legal dictionaries for each of your languages that would be a good step in the process. (Or failing that, go to the websites of the Law Society or similar organisations in each country and download a few documents on basic legal concepts). You will find that these sources contain a certain degree of mismatch, because each legal system has its own rules and definitions, so for example some of the terms used in contracts cannot be transferred in glossary form from one language to the other.

As one of the lecturers said at the one-day seminar on Legal Translation at the City University London last June, there is no such thing as a perfect legal translation -- if you translate the Spanish or French legal terms into terms that are used in English law, this could be misleading because some of the source terms are used in ways that are specific to the country; substituting official English legal terms may actually cause an English solicitor to make wrong assumptions about what the text is saying.

Depending on what stage of your course you have got to, you may actually gain points if you can show that you are critical of some of the glossary equivalents and explain why (perhaps in notes added to your entries in brackets or in a separate column). And you can develop this approach further in later assignments.

You mention parallel texts: these too were mainly created by colleagues of ours, so they may be good or not so good. They are fine as a starting point, but like glossaries and dictionaries they are just that - a starting point, and ideally the material should be corroborated from texts in which the author was not looking over his/her shoulder to see what the other language does.

Another source is KudoZ here on this website. Go to the menu at the top of this page, select "ProZ.com Term Search", enter one of the terms you have in mind and the language pair. If you are lucky, this will in some cases give you a discussion (or perhaps even a slanging match) about the differences between the implications of the possible equivalents.

All the best!


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Lisa Melvin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your reply Jan 6, 2006

Victor

You are very kind and patient in taking the time to write to me. Thanks. I will make note of your comments.

Regards

Lisa


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