Sunday, 9 August 2009

Translation Resources - Classified Encylopedic Dictionary

From time to time, I plan to talk abut some of the paper resources I use for my translation.

One of the paper dictionaries I use most is a Taiwanese resource "Chinese-English Classified Encyclopedic Dictionary". It's published by "万人出版社" which is a Taiwanese publishing house.

This dictionary is divided into 20 sections, each of which is divided into many other sections (e.g Section 13 = science, part 1 = philosophy etc).

Advantages:

It has a really useful section on Industry which is perfect for scientific or technical Chinese to English translations. In particular, I often use part 5 of the industry section "Power" as I frequently translate power related things, other useful parts include Petroleum, Chemicals, and Metallurgy.

Disadvantages:

Each section only has 200 terms at most, so it is very unlikely that my exact term will be there. I can think of only one occasion where it has had the exact term I was looking for, from at least 100 uses. Another disadvantage is the complete lack of any kind of pinyin or bopomofo index, so you have to find terms by stroke order which I suspect most non-native Chinese speakers find difficult.

Overall:

It makes a good place to start, and can come in useful for a whole range of translation subjects. So it's certainly worth tracking down. However, there is no ISBN number and it was last published in 1996 so it is very hard to find. My copy cost 700NTD (which is around 10GBP or so).

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