A new English-Greek dictionary is not an everyday event. A new bidirectional, electronic English-Greek dictionary specially geared towards the needs of English speakers, whose richness of content surpassess that of any other similar dictionary ever published in the history of Greek lexicography, is an event which should be celebrated.
I believe that the opening paragraph sets the tone for this review. The late lexicographer (he passed away in June 2001) when referring to his two latest dictionaries (what have come to be the "Golden Version" and the "Ideal for English Speakers Version") pointed out to me what I perceived as an exaggeration:
This (referring to the "Golden Version") is not a dictionary [worthy of its title], this (referring to the "Ideal for English Speakers Version") is a dictionary!
Indeed, a brief look at the statistics speaks volumes of their quantitative differences (20% more main entries contained in the latter dictionary, twice as many pages, definitions in English, see Table 1). Their qualitative differences however, are not significant. The same meticulous work has been done for both of them. We can say that in a sense, the latest dictionary is in many ways an enrichment of the previous one.
However, its different approach and scope is obvious (quoting from the lexicographer's introduction):
Its originality lies in the fact that it is quasi-bidirectional, moving from the usual "source to target" to an elucidatory "target to source"range of treatment, thus enabling the user to know exactly what each term means in either language. This feature is further enhanced by illustrative examples, labels, illustrative phrases, compound entries and sentences, as well as by a variety of elements helping to clarify this meaning and the application of each term. Moreover, it is user-friendly because the entries are listed separately, i.e. they are not embedded within a consolidated paragraph that is alphabetized under a term from which they were derived or with which they share a common element.
A close look at the example entry (Table 3) is enough to illustrate the differences. For example, in the Ideal for English Speakers dictionary:
Which one is right for me?
This dictionary is geared primarily towards speakers
of the English language; on the other hand, Greek speakers benefit immensely from its richer content, that is main entries and definitions. However, if Information Technology terminology is what you need you have to buy the Golden Version as it is the only one with a 22,000 words IT subdictionary.
- Each different Greek translation provided for a main entry is accompanied with an English definition in parenthesis. For example the first translation of the main entry manager διευθυντής is followed by the English definition: (a person controlling or administering a business
or part of a business). This feature, in effect, accounts to a great extent for the bulkiness of this version because it is like using a combined English monolingual and English-Greek bilingual dictionary.
- There are gender labels (masculine, feminine, neuter) and gender endings (θεατρικ|ός|ή παραγωγός)
- The Golden Version provides pronunciation for English words whereas the Ideal for English Speakers provides pronunciation for Greek words.
To summarize, I would say this is a truly original lexicographical approach, a unique tool for all and ideal for English speakers.
On a lighter vein, we can say that the only unfortunate event is the title chosen by the lexicographer for its prototype print edition: Analexicon. When spelled in Greek (Αναλεξικό, an allusion to ανάλεκτα - analecta, in English meaning literary gleanings, miscellanea ) is OK, but when spelled in English (as it is actually spelled on the cover of the prototype print dictionary) it most definitely acquires... unsavoury connotations.
How do I switch interface language?
There is a workaround. Go to the Dictionaries Explorer's directory (Program Files usually) and locate the file interface.ini. Open this file and add any character before the [el] (if you have Greek locale and you want to switch to the English interface). In case you have English locale and want to switch to Greek add any character before the [en].
The interface used for Magenta's dictionary is equally impressive (read more about it at Table 3). And with a few changes in the settings Greek users can hide or shrink the elements which are of no use to them (i.e. gender labels through View->Compress/Hide gender [sic] (Προβολή-> Σύμπτυξη/Απόκρυψη γένους) as you can see in Figure 1. The interface language is based on one's locale. If your locale is English then you will get an English interface. Unfortunately there is no standard way to switch interface language (another item in my Magenta wish-list!).
Figure 1: Dictionaries Explorer II View menu
Minor improvements have taken place in the interface Dictionaries Explorer II. One of them is that the user dictionary module has become more user friendly with the addition of menus. The developer appears to be listening and in a future version will completely rehaul the module to enable csv import /export of entries (that is to say import/export from delimited format, for example glossaries prepared in Excel) making this a really useful tools for terminologists and translators.
Figure 2: User Dictionary window
One of the bugs which have not been addressed is the inability to copy text from definition section of the dictionaries by using the shortcut Ctrl+C. Instead one has to use the menu (Edit->Copy).
Table 1: Golden version & "English speakers" comparison
||19.5 x 28.8
||20.5 x 28.5
|Text area size
||16 x 26
||17.1 x 26.2
|Pronunciation of English words
|Pronunciation of Greek words
|Greek & English examples
|IT subdictionary **
||yes, 22,000 terms
|Dictionaries Explorer II Interface **
||yes, minor improvements
|Ideal for English speakers
*This is based on the self-published print editions of the lexicographer entitled Περιεκτικό Αγγλοελληνικό Λεξικό, Athens, 1995 (its electronic version being Magenta's Golden Version) and Analexicon, A Bidirectional English-Greek Dictionary, Athens, 2001 (its electronic version being Magenta's English-Greek-English Dictionary Ideal for English Speakers ) with the exception of items with double asterisk (**) which apply only to the electronic versions. None of these original print editions are available today (with the Analexicon very hard to find even second-hand as it was a very limited, 100 copy edition); however, a much more professionally printed edition of the the Περιεκτικό Αγγλοελληνικό Λεξικό is available as Golden Edition in print format (Magenta, 2002, 838 pages).
Table 2: Example entry "Manager" from both Dictionaries
hotel manager διευθυντής ξενοδοχείου
γενικός διευθυντής §
σύσκεψη διευθυντικών στελεχών #
καλλιτεχνικός πράκτορας, κν.
the actor's manager refused to sign the contract
ο ιμπρεσάριός τού ηθοποιού αρνήθηκε να υπογράψει το
προπονητής: for two
years I was manager of the team για δύο χρόνια
ήμουν προπονητής της ομάδας #
ΦΡ. acting manager
διευθυντής δημαρχίας §
personnel ή staff manager
διευθυντής προσωπικού §
receiver and manager
νομ. σύνδικος (πτώχευσης)
1 masculine διευθυντής
[δi:efθidiKO sTELehos] (a person controlling or administering a business
or part of a business): Hotel manager
Γενικός διευθυντής Managers' meeting
Σύσκεψη διευθυντικών στελεχών
2 masculine καλλιτεχνικός
πράκτορας [kalitehniKOs pRAktoras],
[ibreSAri:os] (one who is in charge of the
business affairs of an entertainer): The actor's
manager refused to sign the contract Ο
ιμπρεσάριός τού ηθοποιού αρνήθηκε να υπογράψει το σύμβόλαιο
3 athletics masculine
(one who is in charge of the training and performance of an athlete or a team):
For two years I was manager of the team
Για δύο χρόνια ήμουν προπονητής της ομάδας
4 United Kingdom
masculine εντεταλμένος κοινοβουλευτικός
[endetalMEnos kinovuleftiKOs] (a member of either
House of Parliament appointed with others for some duty in which both Houses are
5 masculine ‘έφορος’
[Eforos] (a student who is in charge of the
equipment and records of a school or college team)
6 masculine διαχειριστής
[δi:ahirisTIs] (a person who controls and
manipulates resources and expenditures, as of a household)
7 United Kingdom
masculine|feminine|neuter θεατρικ|ός|ή παραγωγός
[θe:atriK|Os|I paraγoΓOs] (a theatrical producer)
Table 3: Dictionaries Explorer II main features
Text-to-speech conversion of English text with Microsoft's Speech Engine.
*Text-to-speech conversion of Greek text with the software "Speak to me...Greek!" if installed.
of Greek words.
Word for word translation of many words at the same time.
Create word groups.
Thus it is easy to print them or send them to mail recipients.
Add custom entries
Add new entries or enrich current ones.
Synonyms - Antonyms
Display synonyms or/and search with synonyms.
Print entries or group of entries.
Save an entry and its definitions as a web page (html).
Send entries with e-mail
Send entries to mail recipients.
Search a word as an entry (lemma search), search in the definition
section of all entries (free text search) or search with endings (i.e. all the words ending in "- λός").
Look up with a double click any word in the definition section.
Search in the World Wide Web
Search in the following URLs words, synonyms and antonyms:
Google, Yahoo, OneLook.
In the definition section you can find phonetic transcription of the Greek words, part of speech labels, gender labels, translations, special use in professions and sciences, English and Greek examples of usage, colour coding of different information, and others.
English and Greek alphabetical index.
Interaction with other applications
Automatic look up of words from other applications.
Full Greek support on any localized MS-Windows version.
The behaviour and appearance of every object of the dictionary can be adjusted (colours, fonts, etc).
Article on Bilingual Lexicography by Panagiotis Tsampounaras
Download other demo versions of Magenta's dictionaries (they will run for 15 minutes, then you will have to restart your PC for them to run again)