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Nov 18, 2008

German-English dictionary for environmental risk assessment and contaminated site investigation

While reading a discussion of the recent ATA conference, I saw a mention of a "new" environmental dictionary, Wörterbuch der Umweltrisikoprüfung und Altlastenerkundung (DE->EN, EN->DE) by George Lindemann. This was, of course, very interesting to me given that it's one of my favorite areas to translate and, despite the prevalence of Internet research in my work, I am a great believer in collecting as wide a range as possible of useful dictionaries in one's special subjects.

So I promptly made a "trip" to amazon.de and found the desired reference work. The price was reasonable - thirty euros - so I promptly ordered a copy. When it arrived a few days later, I was irritated to discover (from information on a postcard inserted in the book) that a hardbound version is available for just a few euros more (€ 38.50). The only edition available from Amazon was a paperback. The hardcopy version can be ordered from the publisher directly (Projekte-Verlag Cornelius GmbH).

Time will tell how good the dictionary is when I get down to real work with it; I don't refer to dictionaries often when translating for this subject. When I looked through the entries, they appeared well-organized, with an indication of the relevant domains. However, there do appear to be some gaps with regard to chemical terminology at least - a common synonym for dichloromethane (methylene chloride) was missing, and I suspect that will be the case for other, similar terminology. Not a problem for me - I'm a chemist, and I internalized several nomenclature systems ages ago, but someone with a different background may require additional references if such terminology is not familiar. (I have an opinion on whether these people should be doing chemical/environmental translations at all, but I'll keep that to myself....)

On the whole it looks like the € 30 was well spent; I expect to get at least as much value, probably more, out of this than a noted patent dictionary that set me back € 100 last year but fails to live up to its reputation.

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