Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Certain types of books are always high in demand, and with good reason. One is the synonym dictionary. A good dictionary of synonyms is an absolute must for a translator or an interpreter. Interpreters very often ask me what kinds of books I have or would recommend in order for them to prepare for the Federal Certification Tests. The FCICE puts out a handbook and companies like Berkana and ACEBO can provide the interpreter with important practice material, but essential for success is vocabulary, the knowledge of idioms and correct use of grammar.

Here I would like to highlight a few titles that have received excellent reviews from customers.

For English there are The Synonym Finder by J.I. Rodale, Roget's International Thesaurus and Roget II - The New Thesaurus. I prefer the Roget II because it is a straight alphabetical dictionary whereas the Roget's International is indexed by category and The Synonym Finder, though very good, is a little too bulky.

For Spanish there are also quite a few very good dictionaries for sinónimos y antónimos that can be found on my web site. I would like to mention four books that have proven to be very popular. Diccionario de sinónimos y antónimos del español actual (Pequeño) and the larger desk edition Diccionario de sinónimos y antónimos del español actual. These two dictionaries have a clear lay out and a large number of entries. They give a good grasp of contemporary Spanish and are attractively priced. An absolute favorite and required text for Prof. Alexander Rainof's translation/interpretation courses is the Diccionario de ideas afines by Corripio. A very effective and comprehensive tool with over 400.000 entries. The Diccionario Oceano de Sinónimos y Antónimos (con CD-ROM) is divided in two parts, the first being a straight A-Z listing of both synonyms and antonyms (400,000). The second part consists of a scientific-technical vocabulary(6,000 terms) , a multilingual vocabulary (10,000 terms), idioms (1,000), foreign words (1,000), quotations (600) and popular sayings (2,000). And lastly Diccionario de sinónimos y antónimos (ESPASA). This desk size dictionary is alphabetically arranged in clear type with antonyms in cursive. If price is no objection, this would be my favorite.

All publications, including those put out by Berkana and Acebo, are available at www.intransbooks.com

Sunday, April 4, 2010

This blog will be a place to find out about new publications in the fields of translation and interpreting, and other related news. I hope that the books discussed will generate comments, positive and negative, that will benefit the community.

I am the owner of InTrans Book Service, Inc., a company that caters to the professional translator and interpreter. As such, I travel to many conferences and seminars where I display a selection of the books that I carry. Without fail there will be a customer who picks a book off the shelf and starts raving about its quality or points out its shortcomings. I would like to highlight those books recommended by peers. Feel free to add a like or a dislike. Your colleagues may benefit.

Since we all work with language, I thought it appropriate to start with two books on the English Language. First is a little book called Anguished English by Richard Lederer. This 177 page book is full of "accidental assaults upon our language" and hilarious grammatical blunders, errors one wants to avoid. In order to prevent them you may want to also take a look at the second book, William Zinsser's On Writing Well, a little gem that offers the reader all the fundamental principles of the English language needed to become a better writer.

Both books are available from InTrans Book Service but can also be found at any good, preferably independent, bookstore. Support your local bookstore, it may not be able to give you a discount, but you will surely find superior advice and excellent customer service.