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Opinions on two E-C Dictionaries


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Greetings all,

We're looking at some new licensing possibilities for our Chinese dictionary software, and I wanted to know if anyone had any thoughts / opinions / complaints regarding either of these two English-to-Chinese dictionaries:

"A New English-Chinese Dictionary, Century Edition" (新英汉词典,世纪版), ISBN 7532725421, originally published by Shanghai Translation Publishing House (上海译文出版社) in 2000.

"21st Century Unabridged English-Chinese Dictionary" (21世纪大英汉词典), ISBN 7300043879, originally published by People's University Press (人民大学出版社) in 2003.

Both of these are mentioned in Greg Bosco's increasingly-famous Amazon.com guide to Chinese dictionaries, the latter as his top pick among all E-C titles. The former has about 80,000 entries, the latter a whopping 400,000 (I think they may even have one for "Pleco"), so either way it would be a huge expansion over our current E-C offerings, and the 21st Century one would likely inspire complaints about the ABC Comprehensive being "too small" and renew calls for us to go out and license Cihai or a similarly Brobdingnagian C-C or C-E title.


Michael Love

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For those of us who've recently bought Plecodict (as in 5 weeks ago) and who'll upgrade to version 2 ...

Will we be able to "swap" dictionaries? I bought the additional dictionaries, but if you provide the option of a much better one in the near future, I'm going to want it! I'm also going to be happy to stop using (and delete, if required) the older one. I'd pay the difference, obviously, but I'd rather just do that than simply buy the new dictionary at full cost (obviously!).

I'm talking E-C, of course. The C-E is excellent.

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We're way too early along in this to know anything at all about pricing, but a total swap is probably not possible - we have no way to "take back" a previously-purchased dictionary, and even if we could, we wouldn't get a refund of those royalties. But as a general principle, a new E-C dictionary is naturally less valuable to someone who already owns an older one than someone who doesn't, so it would certainly make sense for the price to reflect that.

I don't know if either of these dictionaries would qualify as "better" than our current offerings anyway, though - neither of them includes Pinyin, as they're both designed for Chinese speakers, and the entries tend to be shorter than those in our current offerings. So there's something to be said for having both - the NWP or Oxford as the default dictionary and the new one as a fallback for the less common words.

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MarkKang - thanks! Exactly what I wanted to hear.

gato - agree with you in general, though we aren't necessarily going to be able to license both, we aren't even necessarily going to be able to license either one - these are the two best E-C titles that we think we're likely to be able to get a license for, but we're a long way away from a signed contract on either one at the moment. So I'm asking about them more to find out whether they are in fact worth pursuing and how much we should be willing to pay for them :mrgreen:

400,000 entries would be mighty nice, though - combined with our full-text search feature it would pretty well obviate the need for a medical / scientific dictionary, since most of the relevant vocabulary would already be covered.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Update on this: we've now successfully licensed the 21st Century dictionary, the data files are in hand and it'll be part of the ever-more-painful-to-wait-for version 2.0 of PlecoDict.

Interesting discovery about this dictionary: it has entries for no less than 16 "The Simpsons" guest stars (don't ask how long it took for us to establish this), which gives you some idea of the scope of its proper noun coverage. For the Simpsons fans out there, here's a complete list:

* Buzz Aldrin

* Tony Blair

* Mel Brooks

* Johnny Carson

* Steven Hawking

* Dudley Herschbach

* Bob Hope

* Stephen Jay Gould

* Elton John

* Stephen King

* Jack Lemmon

* Jerry Lewis

* Paul McCartney

* Elizabeth Taylor

* John Updike

* Tom Wolfe (just added a few weeks ago)

Illuminating to see who Renmin University Press thought worthy of inclusion... kind of surprising that they'd include McCartney/John and not Michael Jackson. And yes, they really did get the UK Prime Minister to do a guest spot on The Simpsons.

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None of the above - no Aerosmith, no Steven Tyler, no Spinal Tap. Though with Spinal Tap you could probably just put the literal translation of "spinal tap" (脊椎穿刺) followed by 乐队 or something similar. They don't even have U2, actually, the only bands I could find were the Beatles and the Rolling Stones (and the latter don't even get their own entry, they're just a sub-definition under "rolling stone").

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