Dictionary Review

English, German, French, Spanish, Italian

Author: Karl-Heinz NentwigISBN: 0-444-42459-8Publisher: Elsevier Science Publishers, B.V., Amsterdam, HollandDate of publication: 1985Price: $ 118.50

· Number of pages/entries: 214 pp., 1,933 entries.

· Quality of paper & print: Good

· Typeface: Extremely visible and clear.

· Quality of binding: The book is solidly hardbound.

· Readability: High.

· Convenience of look-up: Standard set-up. English main entries are numbered, and each language is cross-referenced in a specific alphabetic index.

· Grammatical information: It is limited to the specification of verbs (i.e.: melt v).

· Contextual and encyclopedic information: None

· Expected terms found: Many of the common terms are present, i.e.: heat pump, conversion, dew point, desalting, photolysis, water distillation, solar furnace, etc.

· Expected terms not found: The following terms are notably absent: solarization, heliotechnology, transmittance, collection, spectral response, bioenergetics, trickle collector, tailrace, air mass, zenith angle/distance, solar declination, heliostat, solar availability/supply, sunspace, solar wind.
I believe that this dictionary is fair.


CommentsA "fair" evaluation is somewhat misleading. The author's terminological choice deserves a sound "good," but the correctness of the renditions-at least in Italian--is "despicable." A few examples should suffice: "epoxy resin' is rendered as resina epossido, instead of resina epossidica; "tile' becomes tegolo [masculine?], instead of tegola; "illuminated sign' segno illuminante, or "illuminating sign," instead of segnale/insegna luminoso/a; "absorber" is rendered as assorbatore, while it should be assorbitore; "covering" becomes coperta, or 'blanket." It should be copertura/coperchio; "covering foil/glass" is translated as foglia/vetro di trasvestimento ["transvestite??"], and not foglia/vetro di rivestimento; 'heating system" produces sistema di riscaldatore, instead of sistema di riscaldamento; "isotherms" becomes isotermi, and not isoterme: "light metals" is translated as metalli legieri, instead of metalli leggert "mat black" is offered as "pale black" [?] or nero pallido, instead of nero opaco; "inorganic" corresponds to the Italian anorganico, whereas the correct term is inorganico, and the list could go on and on.


Furthermore, while the language's indication is present, in a few instances no rendition is offered: "copper plating" is translated in all languages but Italian (ramatura); "lower side" is rendered only as lato, or "side," instead of lato inferiore, etc.


In conclusion, at least the Italian section is far below standards, and its reliability is highly questionable. This apparently is not the case for the French and Spanish terms (I cannot comment on the German section), therefore the dictionary could be useful to colleagues operating in these languages.


In view of the extremely high cost (6 cents per term) of the volume and its very limited reliability, at least in one of the five languages offered, I believe that the market has better products to offer.


I would like to suggest the following alternatives:

Multilingual Energy Dictionayy, by Alan Isaacs. English-French-Italian-German-Spanish-Portuguese, cross-referenced. New York (460 Park Ave. South, NY 10016): Facts on File, Inc., 1981. $22.50. It includes the most important 1,600 terms, with gender definitions, without mistakes, at a cost of 1.5 cents per word.

AAVV — GLOSSARIUM. Alternative Energy Sources. English-French-Italian-German-Danish-Dutch, cross-referenced. Luxembourg (Official Publications, L-29985): Commision des Communautés Européenes, 1983. 2 vols. , 1,000 Belgian francs or $18.00. Without a doubt, it is the best reference in this field. It contains over 2,500 terms (0.7 cents per word), without filler words, and offers extensive definitions in English, French, or German, according to the main sources (listed). It covers tidal, wind, geothermal, and photobiological energy as well as thermonuclear fusion. I highly recommend it! [Now available on-line @ Eurodicatum].