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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Ditch the Paper and Go Electronic

Foreign language dictionaries will always be in demand. Everyone from students to tourists to business travelers buy and use them. However, whereas previously only paper copies were available, now there is a new choice: electronic dictionaries.

There are many positives when choosing electronic dictionaries over traditional paper dictionaries. Here are five reasons to choose an electronic dictionary:

1) Added features: A great thing about electronic dictionaries is that they often are more than just dictionaries. They sometimes have useful added features that cannot be found in traditional dictionaries, such as voice capability, calendars, currency rate calculators, specialized vocabulary, etc. These features can come in handy.

2) Portability: One of the first differences you notice when comparing an electronic dictionary to a paper dictionary is the size. An electronic dictionary is a lot lighter and smaller than a traditional dictionary and can easily be thrown in a backpack or briefcase.

3) Size (memory): One of the ways people judge a dictionary is by comparing the number of defined terms it has. Paper dictionaries have a physical size limitation that determines how many definitions it will have; with electronic dictionaries, the size limitation isn't there. Sure there is a limit to how much data an electronic dictionary can hold, but it doesn't compare to the physical limitations of a paper dictionary.

4) Cost: This one might seem a little misleading at first. Granted, electronic dictionaries are generally more expensive than an average traditional bilingual dictionary. However, the added benefits of an electronic dictionary are a good argument for paying the higher price.

5) Updatability: So this might not be a word but you probably understand what I mean. Many electronic dictionaries come with software that can be updated with new versions, such as new vocabulary and updated definitions.

Taking these five advantages into consideration, it's easy to see that an electronic translator can be very useful and can be more than an adequate replacement for traditional dictionaries.

Clint Tustison is a translator interested in helping other translators improve their businesses. His website, is filled with information helpful to translators regarding the translation industry, and his free monthly newsletter, Translator Techniques, has tips and techniques for translators.

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