problems with bilingual dictionaries

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petite

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Mar 18, 2008
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Hi there,
I'm a new member in the forum. I want a warm welcom not by applause:cool: but by giving your opinions about my topic which z about the bilingual dictionaries & the problem that may face translators while using them in the translation process...what do you think the proper solutions for them?... O.k. show me what u have ladies & gentlemen...
 

stuartnz

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A simple method my high school German teacher taught me was to use the dictionaries in both directions. So, if I look up the meaning of a Hindi word in the English section of my dictionary, the next thing I do is reverse the process and look up the suggested English word in the Hindi section. I also make sure I have more than one dictionary, to see which words are most often suggested, and in which order. Finally, and this is the great advantage of the internet, I google the suggested word to see examples of real-world usage, in order to verify that the meaning is the one I'm looking for. The whole process might take only a few minutes, but it is quite effective at getting the optinal word in the target language for any given context or usage.
 

petite

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Thanx Stuartnz 4 ur reply. So, u r a kiwi;-)
Yes, ur way of looking for a proper equivalent is used alot. By using this way, we can say the bilingual dictionary is insufficient in giving the translation one's looking for. some say the bilingual dictionary should give examples to help translators & learners pick up the equivalent they seek.
 

stuartnz

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"Insufficient" is probably correct, but it's more a matter of dictionary users understanding the limitations and the intended purpose of a dictionary. Unless you have an enormous dictionary, like the Oxford English Dictionary, it is effectively impossible to provide many examples of usage. Since the context in which a word is used will almost always determine which word is best-suited for that particular situation, looking for examples of usage is important. However, dictionaries can provide assistance by giving words to search for. So that, for example, if I want to know which Hindi word I should use in saying "Free food", my dictionary has given my a range of words that I can search for, and that will help me use the word that means "without cost" instread of a word that means "liberate".
 

Heads Up English

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Jan 24, 2008
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Except for beginning level students of English, I always encourage (and sometimes politely force) my students to use the English-English dictionary. If students don't check the English-English dictionary, they won't fully understand the nuance of the word. Additionally, the English-English dictionary usually has a few examples to get a further feel for the word.

Of course, a dictionary in the students' mother tongue can be looked at, especially if they aren't quite sure of the definition provided in English. But this would only be a tool to support the English-English dictionary, not a substitute.

I've found that most translation dictionaries just throw a bunch of words onto the page, so there isn't an ability to understand just which word is correct for which situation. I've also found that by consulting an English-English dictionary, students are more able to explain around unknown words and listen to and understand explanations.

Chris Cotter
Heads Up English - Just print, and teach!
English Lesson Plans | Heads Up English | ESL EFL
 
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