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41760Re: [Czechlist] RANT: Czech-English dictionary compilers

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  • James Kirchner
    Jan 2, 2010
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      I feel your pain, Gerry.

      In my classes here in the States I have students using electronic dictionaries all over the room, and what I can't understand is why the Arabic and Chinese dictionaries appear to be so accurate, while the East European ones are so extremely pathetic, from Vilnius to Warsaw to Prague to Sofia.

      It appears to me that what has happened is that in Beirut or Cairo or Beijing programmers and business people were hired to assist lexicographers make real dictionaries electronically accessible. The most popular Arabic-English electronic dictionary my students have appears to be professionally supervised alignment of the American Heritage Dictionary with one of the most respected Arabic dictionaries, so that the students not only get accurate word and idiom translations but also precise usage notes along with them.

      Meanwhile, the East Europeans can't get an electronic dictionary that's worth a crap. It appears the programmers and business people bypassed the lexicographers completely. Yes, defenders say those dictionaries are often good sources of technical terminology, but the farther down you go toward everyday language the more rotten they get. To get the equivalent of what the Arabs and the Chinese in my classes have, the publishers of the SSJC would be collaborating with Oxford and Merriam-Webster, or even Longman, to align the dictionaries and produce an accurate, enduring database. For unknown reasons, nobody seems to have thought of this.

      Jamie

      On Jan 2, 2010, at 5:47 AM, Gerald Turner wrote:

      > In the Middle Ages dishonest craftsmen and tradesmen received appropriate
      > punishment when convicted, e.g. a cheating baker being dragged through the
      > city streets on a sled with the fraudulent bread tied around his neck.
      > Perhaps colleagues might like to devise appropriate punishment for
      > dictionary compilers who get paid for inserting non-existent English words
      > when they cannot come up with an equivalent. Today's gem from Langsoft's
      > online dictionary, by courtesy of Seznam.cz: vrstvit se = statity (sic!)
      >
      > Oh, and a Happy New Year from a snowy Babylon near Domažlice.
      >
      > Gerry
      >
      > --
      > Ondříčkova 40
      > 130 00 Prague 3 - Žižkov
      > Czech Republic
      > Tel/fax: ++ 420 235 357 194
      > Mobile: ++ 420 605 777 260
      >
      > To see a World in a Grain of Sand
      > And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
      > Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
      > And Eternity in an hour.
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >



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