Thursday, 13 August 2009

Paper Dictionary Review Part 2

Another resource that I frequently use is:

中山 汉语医学词典 Yatsen Chinese-English Medical Dictionary published by 外语教学与研究出版社 in Beijing.

As a technical Chinese to English translator, I definitely need a medical dictionary. As far as I'm aware this is the only one still currently in print. By the way, if you're new to the area be aware! There are millions of English -Chinese dictionaries, but only a handful of Chinese - English. If you buy one on the internet always remember that YOUR mother tonge should be the second word. So I'm a native English speaker, translate into English, and thus use Chinese - English dictionaries. An English to Chinese translator would use English - Chinese.

The dictionary is sorted in order of pinyin. However, the pinyin of the characters isn't written. This can be a pain if you are looking for a word and open to a page where you don't know the pinyin for the first character you see. I think that this shows they obviously made the dictionary more for Chinese native speakers, as even for extremely skilled translators, it's a bit of a pain not to have the pinyin equivalents for the terms. It has the English phonetic pronunciation.

Advantages:

A clear and easy to read style with a pretty large font. There seems to be a pretty good range of words, and several terms that I've looked for have been in there. However, it's far from perfect and I've found some terms that I've never been able to confirm elsewhere.

Disadvantages:

No pinyin as I said above. It does have pinyin for the headings, but not for the actual terms. If they're needed for the headings then surely they're needed for the terms, and vice versa? Poor quality paper means it's easy to rip and spilled drinks make the pages totally unusable. Considering that the book is for people writing INTO English there is very little English. All the terms like "see page 8" are written entirely in Chinese, as are the foreward, and instructions for use etc. It's not a huge problem, but it would be helpful.

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