Decoding the Dictionary

Talk by Ms Maree Airlee from Collins

Title: Decoding the Dictionary

Place: Cottrell Building c.3v2

Time: 1:00-2:00pm on 9th October.


The aim of the talk will be to help students make the most of translation tools, whether it be in print or online. We will be introducing the idea of corpora as a way of making use of authentic language. In the first part of the talk, we will take a look at how a typical entry is structured, so that students are aware of how to navigate a dictionary entry quickly and easily in order to find exactly what they are looking for, especially in an exam situation. Common pitfalls will be explored (eg taking the first translation, looking up every word, choosing the wrong part of speech etc).

We will be talking about the pros and cons of some of the various translation resources that are available – print dictionaries (large and small), online dictionaries, online translators, dictionary apps, kindles etc.

One of the tools that lexicographers and professional translators use in order to ensure they work with authentic language is a range of corpora, often available free on the Internet. We will show how the use of simple corpus features (Wordbanks) has a direct role in compiling dictionary entries and can also open up a new world of language for students, helping them to make translations sound more natural, and thus achieve better grades. We will finish the session by talking about and demonstrating our New Words system for submitting suggestions for new words via Students will be given the chance to win a dictionary of their choice by completing a short questionnaire.

University Talks October 2015v3.indd.1

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