Новый словарь переводчика в 2-х томах
New Translators dictionary in 2 volumes

Russian English Dictionary оf Words and Word Combinations in General Use by Scientists and Engineers
Русско-английский словарь общеупотребительных слов и словосочетаний научно-технической литературы


Author: Boris N. Klimzo
Publisher: ETS Publishing House, Moscow
Number of pages: Volume 1 -644; Volume 2 -600
Number of entries: Volume 1 -about 22,000; Volume 2 - about 5,800 Russian and 5,800 English
ISBN: 5-93386-022-0
Reviewed by: Boris Silversteyn and Jim Walker, The ATA Chronicle
 

First, about the author of this dic­tionary. Boris Klimzo, an engi­neer by education and experience, has also worked as a science editor at Mir Publishing House, as editor-in-chief of a technical abstracts magazine, and as a technical translation lecturer at the Maurice Thorez Foreign Languages Institute in Moscow. To his credit, he has more than 20 books and papers on translating scientific and technical (S&T) literature.

Second, about the reviewers of this dictionary. One of us is a native English speaker and the other one is a native Russian speaker (we'll let the reader guess who is who).

The dictionary (hereinafter, Klimzo) consists of two hardbound volumes. Volume 1 includes about 22,000 lexical units (words and word collocations) used in present-day Russian S&T literature, along with their English-language equivalents; Volume 2 consists of Russian and English indices of key words.

The paper quality is good, and the two-columns-per-page arrangement, with lexical units numbered and boldfaced, makes the Klimzo very user-friendly.

The introduction states that the Klimzo is "targeted mainly to native Russian speakers," and should help them translate S&T materials using good, idiomatic English. (So the English-speaking half of the reviewing team is not a member of the target audience.)

The introduction further states that the Klimzo "will also be interesting and useful to those who have a good command of English,' but who are not very familiar with the general vocabu­lary of contemporary Russian scien­tific and technical writing." Here again lies a "problem." Having translated many millions of words of technical Russian, the native English-speaking member of the reviewing team is "dis­qualified" from this group as well.

Anyway, it is with these claims in mind that we opened, tried to use, and have reviewed the Klimzo.

The общеупотребительный (in general use) in the title is quite accu­rate. Klimzo contains not a single spe­cialized technical term. Anyone who has spent much time translating from Russian into English will no doubt be familiar with practically all of the Russian entries, but not necessarily with the English equivalents that are given. For native English speakers, this is the interesting part of the Klimzo: the thousands of examples of stylistically varied and creative wording taken directly from English technical writing.

English equivalents of the Russian lexical units are often given as part of a sentence. It is claimed that all sen­tences were taken from U.S. and U.K. S&T literature. Trying to make sure that the English equivalents were grammatically and stylistically correct, Klimzo used two selection criteria. First, the authors of English quotations had to have Anglo-Saxon last names.2 Second, the word collocations had to have been used by several authors.'

It should be noted here that in the process of using the Klimzo, we, inde­pendently of each other, got an impression (wrong though it may be) that the dictionary, at least in part, was actually compiled in the reverse order. Sentences were collected from U.S. and U.K. S&T literature and translated into Russian, and then Russian words and word collocations were used as the dictionary entries. Incidentally, independently of each other is a collo­cation included in the dictionary (for независимо друг от друга).

Volume 1 has a rather unconven­tional structure. Normally, technical dictionaries arrange compound terms either by the first word of the term (e.g., network, network access, network access controller, network adminis­trator, ...") or by the headword (usually a noun or a verb), with headword mod­ifiers listed in alphabetical order (e.g., network: active network, ..., dedicated network, ..., local area network, ..b). Usually, the latter system is also used in phraseological dictionaries (e.g., bit, a bit, bit by bit, do one's bit, it wouldn't hurt a bit, not a bit).

In the Klimzo, the lexical units in Volume 1 are arranged by the first word of the unit, even if that first word is a preposition. Thus, for instance, there are over 28 pages of word collocations beginning with B/Bo, from preposition В to В [современном языке. This arrangement could complicate the search process for a compound term, were it not for the indices in Volume 2. Indeed, if one were looking for the English for, say, промышленный образец, one would not find it in the /7 section of Volume 1. Volume 2 to the rescue. Under промышленный, as well as образец, one finds заявка на промышленный образец (entry 3555). That reference in Volume 1 reads заявка на промышленный образец—design application, so one concludes that промышленный образец = design* The two-volume structure facilitates term searches and is a very good fea­ture. Without Volume 2, Volume 1 would be almost useless.

The Klimzo has an impressive grasp of idiomatic English, taking these examples and translating them into simple, straightforward Russian. In the dictionary's Russian English arrangement, these Russian at translations appear as the entry head­ings, while the examples of actual technical writing serve as suggestions for possible English translations. Some of our favorites are более глубокое понимание (further insight);, взамен (supersedes); воз­можно, мы являемся свидетелем (we might be seeing); во многом содействовать (greatly contribute); в противном случае (or); делать невозможным (preclude); как бы ни старались (despite the best of inten­tions); единственно пригодный вариант (the only viable option); кооперация (cooperative relation­ship); не давать возможности (prevent from); недоступно высокий (о процентах по займу. стоимости) (prohibitively expen­sive); обычное явление (common occurrence); переподготовка (re­fresher training); разногласия начинаются, когда (the agreement ends when5); побочный положи­тельный эффект (side benefit); ремонтная бригада (maintenance crew); убедиться воочию (see first­hand); это особенно справедливо (this is especially so). It is easy to fall into a rut when translating common phrases, and the Klimzo provides many apt alternatives.

In many cases, it gives a good selection of English synonyms. Here are a few examples: в конечном счете (6 synonyms); выступать (10); давать(11); метод (6); перед (10); предел (6); результат (11); связанный (16); убедиться (9).

The Klimzo can be very helpful in translating Russian S&T texts, which often include nonsensical, ambiguous and/or unnecessarily convoluted non­technical statements (a vestige of the Soviet era; bad habits die hard), such as: без учета всей картины: во многом обязаны: есть основания считать, что: из-за отсутствия в настоящее время: на первый взгляд больше напоминает: наво­дить на мысль о возможности: неослабевающий интерес: откры­вать широкие перспективы: открывать широкие прстторы для творческой работы/ детпель-ности: прочно вошедший в жизнь, хорошо зарекомендовав­ший себя способ: связь науки с производством. Of course, one might (and will) encounter such state­ments in Russian texts of any kind, so the Klimzo can be helpful to a wider range of translators.

Along with its good features, the Klimzo has certain deficiencies. While it offers several English synonyms for some entries, for other entries that have, depending on the context, several English equivalents, only one, and sometimes not even the most frequently used, equivalent is offered. We already mentioned промышленный образец, so here are a couple more: герметичный for airtight (and where are sealed, her­metically sealed, water-tight, water­proof, leak-tight, leak-proof, etc. ?); земельный участок for property (what about lotl).

There are a lot of filler words. While we can understand the inclusion of such terms as менее (less, under, below, less than), why include in a technical dictionary здравый смысл (and здравый cмысл подсказывает, что); зеленовато-желтый; как можно быстрее; медицинский факультет (which is translated as the faculty of medicine); or окружать некоторой тайной and читать с выражение? And we doubt a profes­sional translator would be turning to a dictionary, let alone a technical one, for such words as без, в, весь, вся, иногда, иначе, на, небольшой, один, одна, одно, по, с, or у.

Certain translations can hardly be called idiomatic. Here are some examples: бригада ремонтников (repairing crew); без запаса (uncon-servative); документ, удостоверя­ющий проведение работ (authorizing document); аттестат об окон­чании школы (school leaving certifi­cate); неофициальное предложение (unsolicited proposal); неправильная эксплуатация (operational malprac­tice); Острые углы допускаются (Sharp edges are not defect); чаще (more usually).

Some are wrong, e.g., зажимное приспособление for fixture (a fix­ture is a generic term for any kind of приспособление); неопределенные выражения (патенты) for back­firing expressions; планы мероприятий for schemes.

There are some unfortunate typos, such as "The are two major objec­tions..." instead of "There are..." (Vol.1, O1003.1); G1777-1800 and G1801-1826 instead of П1777-1800 and П1801-1826 (Vol.1, pp. 432-433,); разнообразных instead of разнообразный (Vol.1, P286).

In conclusion, the Klimzo is an interesting dictionary. Translators of Russian S&T materials will find there a wealth of information. Thanks to its structure, it can help English-speaking technical personnel familiar with the Russian language read Russian S&T texts. And thanks to the English index in Volume 2, it can also be used when translating S&T mate­rials from English into Russian.

A word of caution. Because of the drawbacks mentioned above, a trans­lator who is not a native speaker of the target language should use the dictionary with a grain of salt.

 

Notes

1. A euphemism for native English speakers?

2. A rather strange criterion!

3. Presumably, in different texts.

4. This is the correct term for a design patent application, but for different contexts there are other English equivalents: production prototype, for one, comes to mind.

5. A very elegant rendering.

а. С.Б. Орлов, Англо-pyсcкий словарь no сетям и сетевым технологиям, Москва, «Солон», 1997.

b. The Comprehensive English-Russian Scientific and Technical Dictionary. Moscow, Russky Yazyk Publishers, 1991.

c. Arany-Makkai, Agnes. 1997. 2001 Russian and English Idioms. Barron's.

Boris SiIversteyn is a freelance Russian and Ukrainian translator and interpreter specializing in technical, business, legal and financial translation. He has pub lished a number of papers on translation and dictionaries, and has been a speaker at ATA conferences. He currently chairs ATA's Dictionary Review Committee, and is an ATA-accredited (Russian English) translator.
Contact: bsilversteyn@comcast.net.

 

Jim Walker has been a freelance Russian English technical translator for 18 years. He is primary interested in ecology and environmental protection, but he has beer forced (had the opportunity) to work in many other fields.
Contact: perevod@ellijay.com


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