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Author Topic: What dictionaries do you use?  (Read 8080 times)

Paul Jensen

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What dictionaries do you use?
« on: October 27, 2012, 12:17:16 pm »
What dictionaries do you use for translating? I have a feeling this question has been asked here before, but since things change, what have you guys been using lately for your translations? And what kind do you prefer? Traditional / paper? Dedicated electronic? Online? Mobile apps?

I prefer dedicated electronic dictionaries, although I use web-based ones too. I just got a new EX-word D10000 to use in my teaching and research. It's got the Green Goddess, the Blue Goddess, and a crapload of other dictionaries built in. Up until now I've been using mostly the electronic version of Progressive from my old EX-word, which is still a great dictionary, but from what I hear the Green and Blue Goddesses are the best dictionaries out there, so I'm glad to finally have them at my disposal.
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DarknessSavior

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Re: What dictionaries do you use?
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2012, 01:06:29 pm »
Do they actually call those Green and Blue Goddesses? I didn't see that anywhere on there.

Anyway, I mostly use jisho.org when I'm looking up something English -> Japanese. For Japanese-> English I use a combination of Rikaichan and google.

I also use this: http://kanji.sljfaq.org/draw.html

Very useful for when I've never seen a kanji before. They've also got a good multi-radical search on the site that I can use for when I can't quite pick it out for drawing.

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granz

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Re: What dictionaries do you use?
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2012, 03:15:48 pm »
As far as online resources go, Saiga for Japanese. It places a lot of emphasis on breaking down each constituent kanji found in a word, but its definitions database is also broad enough to act as a casual dictionary. One of the upsides is that definitions usually include examples of various idioms and everyday phrases that use the same kanji. Some searches might produce overwhelming results for that very reason, but it's useful for people who might need that much detail.

For English, I use the Online Etymology Dictionary. This will let me know exactly what a word's origins are, but it's not really designed with everyday use in mind.
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BRPXQZME

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Re: What dictionaries do you use?
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2012, 06:50:25 pm »
I upgraded to Mountain Lion last week, which means Dictionary (an app that comes with Mac OS X) comes with Super Daijirin and Wisdom (Sanseidō) instead of Daijisen and Progressive (Shōgakukan). Not really sure what prompted that, but I have a theor¥. I can use the old ones as long as I forget to update things anyway :P

So for the waei portion, I’m not sure I like this change so far; maybe the layout change is throwing me off, but Wisdom seems to have less example sentences per entry. Progressive tends to have a carefully chosen selection of examples (with varying word choice if appropriate) that really helps jog the translating juices (e.g. when I know the word but am struggling to go beyond simple synonyms). Wisdom seems to explain things better for Japanese speakers, though. Maybe once I stop taking 16-credit semesters I’ll be able to give this one a fair shake, but then some things have changed, because more now than a couple years ago, I consult the dictionary a bit less for word lookup and a bit more for translation assistance.

For the kokugo portion, there isn’t really an appreciable difference for my own purposes, though technically I don’t recall Daijisen telling anything about accent. Sometimes there are words where only one of the two has it, or where one has it hidden as a subentry. I used to go to goo’s or Yahoo’s dictionary sometimes for exactly this reason, but I guess now I don’t have to bother! :D Anyway, I’m sure someone has already compared these two more thoroughly.

If I want waei lookup for something that isn’t in the OS X Dictionary, I typically go to WWWJDIC next. Then I go to ALC as the penultimate resort (before hitting up Google). This usually only happens if the word is hella obscure or if I want to really check a term thoroughly.

One thing that I feel is sorely missing from this transition is 類語例解辞典, which explains (in Japanese) the distinction between certain words that might get confused.

And I don’t really translate the other way around (actually, my Japanese production is pretty bad), so I don’t have an evaluation of how these dictionaries help there.

The primary motivation for using these dictionaries, of course, is that they’re easy to access (cheap/free/fast/camewithmycomputer).
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dshadoff

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Re: What dictionaries do you use?
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2012, 10:42:09 pm »
I prefer dedicated electronic dictionaries, although I use web-based ones too. I just got a new EX-word D10000 to use in my teaching and research. It's got the Green Goddess, the Blue Goddess, and a crapload of other dictionaries built in. Up until now I've been using mostly the electronic version of Progressive from my old EX-word, which is still a great dictionary, but from what I hear the Green and Blue Goddesses are the best dictionaries out there, so I'm glad to finally have them at my disposal.

Noooo !  Say it isn't so !  The Blue Goddess in a Casio ?  I have a slightly older XD-A10000, and narrowly decided NOT to get the D10000 last month on my trip to Japan.  It was priced nicely too, at around 40000yen in Bic and Yodobashi...

My XD-A10000 has the Green Goddess, but for English->Japanese, only Shogakukan-Random House, Genius and Readers.  Dang it.

One thing I added though, was the Kanji Learner's Dictionary which is really useful when "super jump"ing around new kanji.  But not 100% useful, as quite a few kanji aren't actually in there.  Note: the Casio loader tool (for the CD version of that dictionary) required that I change Windows' locale to Japan, rather than just run plain or even with "Applocale".  I wonder if they've sorted that out yet.

I also use rikaikun plug-in for Chrome when browsing the internet.

As a side note, I have always felt that such translating dictionaries are terribly limited, because they see their own role as trying to find drop-in replacement words, however they don't try to explain what aspect or sense of the replacement word is correct.  Sample sentences go a long way to rectify this problem, but they are usually too sparse.  A better style of translation dictionary would give a longer definition, or explain whether the origin word has emotional content, whether the connotation is positive, negative, or neutral, etc.

Take for example 「しつこい」and「ねばりづよい」... Even the Green Goddess defines these as "persitent", "tenacious", etc. and even their sample sentences don't effectively convey the depth of negative-versus-positive connotation of these words.

One thing I try to do from time to time, is to use the excellent Koujien on my Casio, but my Japanese isn't up to anywhere near good enough to use this and expect to learn anything... it's usually just depressing, but occasionally I get something out of the experience (getting better slowly....).

geishaboy

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Re: What dictionaries do you use?
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2012, 11:44:49 pm »
I have an old piece of shit Seiko electronic dictionary that I use quite a bit, though I really should get a new one (it's quite literally falling apart). I sometimes use the JDIC Lite  Text Gloss http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/cgi-bin/cgiwrap/jwb/wwwjdic?1KG, it comes in handy now and then.

BRPXQZME

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Re: What dictionaries do you use?
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2012, 07:41:19 pm »
Oh, I suppose I wanted to share this for a while, but since this is the best thread that’s come along lately:

Lesson 2 here outlines ways to find the meanings of unfamiliar/unusual terms. I was disappointed when I first read it because it only told me things I was already doing when a word wasn’t really in the dictionary, but then I realized it took me a few years on my own to figure those things out, so I suppose it might be a useful read for some of you.

Lesson 1 is also kind of basic but might be useful if you are lost on what kind of discipline you could be applying to your process.
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filler

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Re: What dictionaries do you use?
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2012, 07:57:51 am »
I pretty much use the following:
1. My translation memory.
2. http://www.alc.co.jp/
3. http://ejje.weblio.jp/
4. http://kotobank.jp/ (sometimes if I'm struggling with a word)
5. google.com.

Eien Ni Hen

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Re: What dictionaries do you use?
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2012, 09:18:23 pm »
I pretty much use the following:
1. My translation memory.
2. http://www.alc.co.jp/
3. http://ejje.weblio.jp/
4. http://kotobank.jp/ (sometimes if I'm struggling with a word)
5. google.com.

Seconding this. I don't use an electronic dictionary like the cool kids.  :-[

Rikaichan looks interesting, but I translate a lot of manga so it might not be too helpful. For those who use rikaichan, what do you mostly use it for?
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geishaboy

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Re: What dictionaries do you use?
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2012, 06:46:34 am »
I used Rikaichan a hell of a lot when I was still at university. I don't use it nearly as much these days, but it comes in handy now and then as it's surprisingly robust and has straight-to-the-point definitions.

FAST6191

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Re: What dictionaries do you use?
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2012, 09:50:14 am »
I tend not to touch translation stuff unless I am doing a very basic menu translation and have not done that in some time either (I would probably struggle to recall the kana at this stage). That said Rikaichan I can get behind and I came here to say people should also check out Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten on the DS. Having mainly only played with the Chinese electronic dictionaries circa 2005 I personally do not have the best basis for a comparison, but it is an awesome bit of kit and bilingual (some minor menu issues aside). With a bit of coaxing and as long as you do not try writing in Tenshotai or something the touch screen functionality is actually worth the time as well.

It was an early "game" on the DS and as most of what followed were educational games, puzzle games and tests and as such I did not follow them so there may even be better out there.

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Re: What dictionaries do you use?
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2012, 04:59:21 pm »
I am not the greatest translator around here. That being said, I use the built-in one in JWPce
and if I want to go further I use http://dic.yahoo.co.jp/, http://www.alc.co.jp/ and google.
I also have a (limited) Japanese/English dictionnary and a kanji dictionnary when I occasionnally don't use a computer.

DragonmasterX

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Re: What dictionaries do you use?
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2012, 07:35:32 am »
iOS apps - Wisdom, 大辞林、OED

Websites: dictionary.com, thesaurus.com, space alc