First-time posters: please review the site's moderation policy

Hopefully this one is not too trivial but just in terms of working tools: What are your favorite working tools? I, for instance, still greatly lament the loss of digital edition of the

  1. Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (available only for Windows 98 it was comprised of three sections: (1) was the dictionary (including a host of examples on how to use the terms that were being explained), (2) were famous quotes (3) proverbs). On a (rainy) desert island I would definitely try to find some way of getting it to work again
  2. Zahn - in my view the best financial dictionary
  3. I am still looking for an equivalent of Zahn when it comes to the fast-moving field of fund management/newfangled investment products in the absence of which I might just go for the good old Duden

Ha, as an afterthought - I don't use it very often but I love it: Lexikon der Landschafts- und Stadtplanung

...enthält neben den entsprechenden Übersetzungen ausführliche Erläuterungen und Definitionen in den Sprachen Deutsch (Leitsprache), britischem Englisch, amerikanischem Englisch, Französisch und Spanisch (Spanien und Lateinamerika)

asked 20 Feb '12, 00:35

Tanja's gravatar image


edited 20 Feb '12, 02:35

Delete's gravatar image

Delete ♦

  1. Oxford English Dictionary - all 20 volumes of the OED2 in order to build a seat of erudition.

  2. Wörterbuch für Recht, Wirtschaft und Politik by Dietl / Lorenz - in case any German lawyers, economists or politicians were to be washed ashore

  3. The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce - a reminder not to be too impatient to return to civilisation.

N.B. I'll be lost without if any cool teens float in on the tide.

permanent link

answered 02 Apr '12, 03:15

parthenope's gravatar image


edited 03 Apr '12, 12:29

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck


+1 For mentioning the Devil's Dictionary also known as the "Cynic's Word Book"

(02 Apr '12, 03:45) Marta Piera ...

no 2 = Dietl / Lorenz, their names didn't survive the cut & paste. N.B. I'd be lost without if any cool teens float in on the tide.

(03 Apr '12, 12:19) parthenope

no 2 = Dietl / Lorenz, their names didn't survive the cut & paste.

N.B. I'd be lost without if any cool teens float in on the tide.

(03 Apr '12, 12:20) parthenope

no 2 = Dietl / Lorenz, their names didn't survive the cut & paste.

N.B. I'll be lost without if any cool teens float in on the tide.

(03 Apr '12, 12:21) parthenope

I have had a love affair with dictionaries since I was a kid. Although it would break my heart to part with any of the dozens I have amassed over the years, if my ship was sinking and I had to choose which three to keep, it would have to be these:

  1. My high school boyfriend won my heart when he gave me the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language for my 16th birthday (complete with etymological dictionary and an appendix of Indo-European roots). I still have it on my shelf - I don't think my husband realizes the sentimental value it holds ;).

  2. My dearest memento of my French-Canadian grandmother is her 1957 Larousse Classique, which I have carried with me for over 25 years and across several intercontinental moves.

  3. the Diccionario Visual, a technical picture dictionary in five languages, is the only paper dictionary in my collection which actually sees any action in these days of online terminology searches, and that's because my kids love looking at the detailed, labelled pictures of Gothic cathedrals, obscure sporting equipment and (of course) the human anatomy. I'd take it with me if only to keep the kids busy on the lifeboat.

P.S. Anyone with a passing interest in dictionaries might want to read this post by the Mad Patent Translator: Translators Are Obsessive-Compulsive Hoarders Who Will Never Part With Their Old And By Now Completely Useless Dictionaries

permanent link

answered 31 Mar '12, 14:02

Michelle's gravatar image


edited 31 Mar '12, 17:48

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck

I would take the following three dictionaries to a desert island, in order of importance:

  1. The Diccionario panhispánico de dudas (abreviado a veces en sus siglas, DPD) because the Diccionario de la lengua española de la Real Academia Española, Gramática de la lengua española and Ortografía de la lengua española would be too heavy to carry.

  2. The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary.

  3. The Oxford Spanish Dictionary.

I have always believed that translators and interpreters have to work with monolingual dictionaries/glossaries and the bilingual dictionary must be a tool of last resort.

permanent link

answered 20 Feb '12, 12:30

Vero's gravatar image


edited 31 Mar '12, 17:49

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck

Although I know the audience and the related materials for Persian Interpreters may not be eye-catching in this site, for the English-Persian translators and interpreters, I recommend the following three dictionaries:

  1. Oxford Advanced Dictionary
  2. Hezareh English To Persian Dictionary
  3. The dictionary of Economics by Manoochehr Farhang
permanent link

answered 01 Apr '12, 15:58

Mohamad%20Imanian-%20ISIC's gravatar image

Mohamad Iman...

edited 01 Apr '12, 16:01

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck

+1 Any language is welcome!

(01 Apr '12, 16:04) Vincent Buck

I would squeeze a copy of Ferdowsi's Shahmahneh in there if I could...

(04 Apr '12, 10:09) jdecamillis
  1. Le Bon Usage --- (okay, not quite a dictionary, but... it is every
    Francophone's grammar bible).

  2. Al Munjid (المنجد في اللغة العربية) - the holy grail of monolingual Arabic dictionaries.

  3. Oxford English Dictionary --- 20 Volume Set... (Condensed version would be okay)

*Earlier I had mentioned for number two Le Robert Micro... I changed my mind, hehe.

permanent link

answered 04 Apr '12, 00:25

jdecamillis's gravatar image


edited 04 Apr '12, 10:05

+1 for Le Bon Usage. What would the French language be without Belgian grammarians!

(04 Apr '12, 05:16) Vincent Buck
  1. Inny słownik języka polskiego. Not cos it's particularly technical but because it is written in a style apart. It's the only dictionary I can read like a book and enjoy!

  2. Ernst, Woerterbuch der Industrie Technik. Noone does dictionaries like the Germans;)

  3. (4 language picture dictionary FR EN DE PL), Wielojęzyczny Słownik Wizualny, my combination with enough crazy technical and plain weird stuff to while away those long sunny days on the beach.

permanent link

answered 01 Apr '12, 14:46

Andy's gravatar image


edited 01 Apr '12, 15:19

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck

Your answer
toggle preview

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here



Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text]( "title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported

Question tags:


question asked: 20 Feb '12, 00:35

question was seen: 5,522 times

last updated: 04 Apr '12, 10:09 is a community-driven website open to anyone with questions and/or answers about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation

about | faq | terms of use | privacy policy | content policy | disclaimer | contact us

This collaborative website is sponsored and hosted by AIIC, the International Association of Conference Interpreters.