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You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone June 20, 2008

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Random musings, Tools, Translation Sites.
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Whew, that was a bit nerve-wracking… Leo, a much-loved, online German-English/German-French/German-Spanish/German-Chinese dictionary disappeared for a while yesterday. When I tried to call it up yesterday it took forever to load and then displayed “page not found.” Luckily I still also use my electronic dictionaries from Acolada UniLex (which includes my beloved Pons/Collins Unabridged general dictionary, Brinkmann/Blaha Wörterbuch der Datenkommunikation, Ernst Wörterbuch der industriellen Technik, and Kucera Wörterbuch der Chemie) and Langenscheidt (which truly unites the Handwörterbuch, Fachwörterbuch Mikroelektronik, Fachwörterbuch Telekommunikation, and Peter Schmitts Fachwörterbuch Technik und angewandte Wissenschaften as well as the Duden Rechtschreibung in one interface-which is *really convenient*), so it wasn’t that big of a deal. However, I did get nervous when someone wrote to PT late last night asking where it went and someone responded that it had transformed into Leo-Pro, which had transformed into Slicktionary, which had then been swallowed up by dict.cc. What a frightening thought. I would hope if something like that would happen they would let us know ahead of time.

Leo may not always be the most accurate solution (and some of its terms can be downright wrong), but it often has suggestions that go beyond the scope of my dictionaries and hit the nail on the head. It is especially helpful with obscure business terms and slang words, which I encounter a lot in my marketing surveys (not to mention bad grammar, typos, garbled special characters, etc., but I digress…) A good translator generally doesn’t and shouldn’t depend on dictionaries to perform their job, but they can come in handy when you are stuck trying to come up with the perfect word. And you really have to have a good command of a language to recognize when a suggested term is in no way suitable.

Luckily it was back up again when I woke up this morning. There were a lot of people sweating bullets yesterday… Welcome back, Leo!

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Comments»

1. Corinne McKay - June 20, 2008

It’s interesting how the quality of online dictionaries has come so far in the past few years. I feel the same way about the Grand Dictionnaire Terminologique, which is put out by the Quebec government. In addition to the zillions of individual terms you can search, it has specific glossaries on topics ranging from curling to scrapbooking, you name it. As you said, the online sources aren’t always the last word, but they are a real lifesaver when you encounter one of those “huh?” words.


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