Thursday, April 18, 2013

Italian dictionaries online

I first wrote about the Italian bilingual and monolingual dictionaries available online some five years ago. Since, however, such links are liable to change, with old sites disappearing and new ones taking their place, here is an up to date list of sites that offer English-Italian, Italian monolingual, and other Italian bilingual dictionaries:

  • Picchi's English-Italian dictionary (published by Hoepli) is available for free from La Repubblica website: Dizionari - La Repubblica. The same site also offers the Grande Dizionario di Italiano Hoepli.
  • The current incarnation of the excellent Sansoni English-Italian dictionary (published by Rizzoli) is available online at the Corriere della Sera website: Dizionari e Traduttori - Corriere della Sera. The same web page also offers several other Italian monolingual dictionaries and Italian-Spanish, Italian-French and Italian-German bilingual dictionaries.
  • The venerable Hazon English-Italian dictionary is available from the Garzanti website: Garzanti Linguistica, where you can also find Garzanti's Italian monolingual dictionary and an Italian-French bilingual dictionary.
  • The English-Italian bilingual dictionary I'm currently using most often is Ragazzini's. You can subscribe to it on Zanichelli's site (Dizionari online Zanichelli). From the same site you can subscribe to several other dictionaries, including Zingarelli (Italian monolingual), Tommaseo (a historic Italian monolingual dictionary), several different specialized English-Italian bilingual dictionaries, and other bilingual dictionaries including Italian-Spanish, Italian-French, Italian-German, Italian-Russian and Italian-Albanian.
  • Oxford-Paravia Concise English-Italian dictionary is available from the Oxford-Paravia website.
  • offers access to two different English-Italian dictionaries: its own and Collins'.
  • The website offers a wide range of bilingual and monolingual dictionaries, either via online subscriptions (generally more expensive than those available from Zanichelli), downloadable installable dictionaries, or both things combined. Among the dictionaries downloadable from are Picchi, Sansoni, the excellent Italian monolingual Devoto-Oli, and many others.
  • lets the user search many different dictionaries. You can find Italian-English bilingual dictionaries, as well as Italian and English monolingual resources (Thanks to Carlotta for the suggestion)
  • The Treccani website offers access to the Enciclopedia italiana online, to the Italian language Vocabolario, and to a good Italian synonyms dictionary  (Thanks to Licia for the suggestion)


I've added links to the Lexicool and Treccani sites, thanks to suggestions by Carlotta Saconney and Licia Corbolante.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Quick tip: how to avoid the "Attempted to read or write protected memory" error in Studio

Some time a file (usually an MS Word file) causes Studio to display the following error message:

Sometimes, Studio, instead of displaying the error (or in addition to it), shows garbage characters in the Editor:

According to the SDL knowledge base, this is likely due with problems displaying certain specific fonts (and, indeed, this source file did use some unusual fonts).

If this is the reason for the error (I believe it might appear in other instances), the way to overcome it, is to prevent studio to try to display formatting. You do this by going to the Options ( Tools > Options), and change the "Formatting display style" from "Show all formatting and tags"

To "Show all tags but do not show formatting":

When you return to the Editor you'll see that the text now displays correctly:

Friday, April 12, 2013

Warning: the lowest price may actually harm you

Just read this in a translation company's blog:
The quoting of a project is as important as the process in which the work is actually done. Quoting at the lowest price, for example, will attract clients and provides greater sales possibilities.
I find this simplistic, self-serving and misleading. Yes, other things being equal a customer will choose the lower bid.

Things are seldom equal, however, and customers might actually value other things more than saving the last few pennies. They might, for example, value the better quality provided by a better (and more expensive) translator.

But never fear: that same translation company assures us that
At [XX] Translations, we provide our client with the most competitive pricing and the highest quality in the industry.
I could believe they sell at the lowest price (though that would be difficult to prove, with the translation market as fragmented as it is); or maybe I could believe that they are able to offer the best quality (again, a difficult proposition to prove). That they can provide the lowest prices AND the best quality, both at the same time? Sorry: no, I cannot believe that.

The problem with certain agencies is that they seem so terrified by their competitors, that they try everything to lower their prices. But at what heavy cost! this way they are more likely to lose their best translators, and remain with the worst, thus decreasing the quality they can actually offer (no matter what they boast). And the more they are unable to compete on quality, the more they have to compete on price, in a downward spiral that, I believe, will doom many formerly good and viable translation companies.

Unfortunately, in their fall they are probably going to damage many translators, and many unsuspecting clients who believed exaggerated claims of good quality from companies that are no longer able to sustain them.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Quick tip: how to make text easier to read in Studio

Sometimes when you work in Studio, the color of the text makes it either difficult or even impossible to read...

There is a simple solution: from the Editor, select Options, then Editor, and then Font Adaptarion:

Adjust the Text color contrast slider, if necessary, all the way to the right:

The result is much easier to read:

And bear in mind that changing how the text is displayed in Studio won't affect how it appears in your translation.