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Dictionaries for Translation Exams

Hi all,
Forgive me if this question has been asked and answered before, but I just started a French for Reading course today (!) and in addition to some (at this point, mercifully simple) homework, I've been tasked with buying a French-to-English dictionary. When I take the exam in the fall, I'll be able to use two dictionaries. Does anyone have any recommendations? Are there any dictionaries that you've found more helpful than others? I want to avoid spending a ton of money, but, well, I want to have a dictionary that has lots of words in it--especially words likely to pop up on French-to-English translation exams.

I'm also wondering if anyone has any recommendations for good Hebrew-to-English dictionaries, but I suspect more people will be familiar with French dictionaries than with Hebrew ones.

Thanks--I hope everyone is having a fantastic summer!


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 16th, 2009 12:13 am (UTC)
For timed translation exams, I actually prefer going with a slightly less bulky dictionary. I used the concise Larousse dictionary and found almost all of the words I needed in it. You may prefer going with something more complete, but your examiners will not fail you for missing one or two words, and the larger ones can seem unmanageably large under the clock. Since you can use two, I'd buy the concise Larousse to work with now, and check out a more complete one from the library when you take the exam.
Jun. 16th, 2009 12:24 am (UTC)
That's a great tip--thanks!
Jun. 16th, 2009 01:11 am (UTC)
If you want something huge, you can't beat Alcalay for Hebrew-English dictionaries. But it's really enormous. For something smaller, I use "The Up-To-Date English-Hebrew Hebrew-English Dictionary" by Shimon Zilberman and find it's pretty jam-packed and useful. Good luck!
And I'm stealing the Larousse recommendation for my own studies, so thanks to you both!
Jun. 17th, 2009 12:10 am (UTC)
Ooh, thanks--I thought you might come through for the Hebrew! I appreciate it.
Jun. 16th, 2009 04:10 am (UTC)
Thanks for asking this! I need to start working on my French reading again... after 4 years without it and another foreign language wedged between then and now... hehe.
Jun. 17th, 2009 12:09 am (UTC)
Glad my question could help you, too!

Sometime later this summer--I'm not up for this yet, as my homework is still at the level of translating phrases like "la economie"--maybe we practice by translating the same passages and comparing the results.
Jun. 16th, 2009 05:04 pm (UTC)
For the "bigger" dictionary, I'll pass on a recommendation from my French examiner: the Robert-Collins version. (in his words, "get the biggest, heaviest one that you can find.") That dictionary does take some getting used to. You might want to practice with a few translation passages first, and also mark the beginnings of the most useful sections.
Jun. 17th, 2009 12:10 am (UTC)
Awesome--I'll look into it. Thanks!!
Jun. 20th, 2009 12:26 am (UTC)
I used the Robert-Collins dictionary for my translation exam - it was quite big and bulky, but it worked nicely. I just checked it out of the library a week before the exam to get used to it, but didn't actually purchase it. I have a smaller French-English dictionary that I own, but it wasn't as complete, so I went with the "rental" for the day of the exam.
Jun. 21st, 2009 01:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the tip on the Robert-Collins! I saw one for sale at a used bookstore; I think I'll pick it up this week!
Jun. 22nd, 2009 09:10 pm (UTC)
Oh, it also made a very satisfying swooshing/thumping sound when I closed it after I finished my exam. So that was a plus ;)
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )