Web-based terminology databases are a wonderful thing for translators. As compared to the research tools of times gone by, we now have access to resources that are vast, free, and easily updated when new terms arrive on the scene. A few of my favorites are:
Industry sources such as In Trans Books carry paper dictionaries that outperform online resources (at least the free ones!) when it comes to niche specializations, but it still sometimes feels as if paper dictionaries are inching into obsolescence. I recently attended a presentation by a financial translator who, when showing a photograph of his office, said, “I keep my paper dictionaries on the shelves because it looks good, but I can’t remember the last time I used one, I just search on line.”So, it’s good to be reminded that in the digital age, paper still wins out sometimes. I was recently translating a dating website (a post in itself!) and was stumped by the adjective “chialleux,” which did not appear in any of my usual online sources and also gets very few Google hits on French web pages. To the rescue: the 2-volume set of Harrap’s New Standard French and English Dictionary (original copyright 1934, one of the contributors was born in 1888), with the verb chialer (“to snivel”) and the corresponding noun chialeur/euse (“crybaby”).It seems that the important lesson here isn’t so much whether web-based or paper dictionaries are best, but that it’s important not to discount one or the other; feel free to contribute your own thoughts on your terminology research methods.