What’s on your bookshelf?

Marina Borges / 3 de agosto de 2013

Inspired by Clibiste‘s post, I decided to share with you the books I own. I must confess I feel like I should be a more dedicated reader, but no one can say I do not own good dictionaries: 2012-11-22_1353609754

I was always fascinated by dictionaries. My greatest fear with the advance of technology was to have to get rid of my beloved smelly old books. Fortunately, up to this moment, they are still quite useful.

In the photo, the first red ones are what I consider to be the best English-Portuguese-English dictionaries ever. They are part of the old Barsa Encyclopedia’s collection and were organized by the greatest Antonio Houaiss – does his surname ring a bell? This edition is from 1978, I got them in a used books shop in Brasilia (Sebinho, highly recommended). It was actually a recommendation from my translation professor in college and he proved to be, once again, absolutely right. The dictionary is amazing, in particular for works into English. It suggests great equivalents for our peculiar Brazilian specificities, e.g.:

coco m. (bot.) coconut; (Braz.) coconut-shell drinking container; (colloq.) head, noggin, (Braz. N.E.) popular dance.

Any good Brazilian used books shop offers this pair (they come in 2 volumes: Eng-Por and Por-Eng) for reasonable prices. It is a great deal, believe me.

On monolingual dictionaries, I love Longman’s Dictionary of Contemporary English. It was the very dictionary I bought while still a freshman and it’s been of outstanding help since then. This is the second one I bought, reason why it looks still brand new. I keep the old messed up Longman in the shelf for nostaligc reasons, though it’s falling apart.

The one beside it is a Legal Dictionary by Deocleciano Torrieri Guimarães, which is currently out of stock in all main book shops but it’s available on Estante Virtual. It was of great help when I started doing legal translations – again, back in college – but nowadays my legal reference is Marcílio’s, which I did not consider in the picture but it’s a great tool for any legal translator. It is bilingual and just like monolingual legal dictionaries, it explains the definition, plus it suggests a translation. Rumor has it there will be a new edition of Marcílio’s soon – so take your spot in line! :)

You can also see on the pic the other legal dictionary I was recommended in college, the Noronha one. I should be honest: I rarely use it these days. It’s a great book, but many times it lacks context. I tell you, Marcílio’s was a turning point to me. But then again, I’m not originally from the legal field, so maybe these other works I mentioned are more valuable to bilingual lawyers.

There’s also an oil and gas specific dictionary by IBP, the Brazilian Oil Intitute, but it lacks some more updated terms in the indutry (my issue is from 1985, my uncle retired and gave it to me). I also love Marcia Buckley‘s dictionaries for this field, it’s my favourite reference these days.

Finally, I have some Larousse ones, one from English and the other from Spanish to Portuguese (and vice-versa). I have only used the Spanish one so far (my mom gave me them for Christmas – yes, being a translator is great on these occasions), and I’m really pleased. I’m a great enthusiat of good dictionaries from Portuguese into foreign languages, for they are not that many.

Next time I’ll share my digital dictionaries, you just wait.

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