Customer Review

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Best of a bad bunch, 17 April 2012
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This review is from: Oxford Russian Dictionary (Hardcover)
I read some of the reviews above and decided to buy the dictionary anyway. My last one dated, with the emphasis on "dated", from the late 'nineties and so much has happened in 10 years.

Let's be clear, for me any Russian dictionary is measured against the two volume Oxford English-Russian / Russian-English Dictionaries 1984 (1987 reprint) that were the compulsory purchase for my University degree course. £45 a piece for a student in 1987! They are both extremely well-thumbed and still frequently used with an irrational affection that is hard to shake. I do not know how they compare to older editions, but any new edition has the bar set extremely high.

There are both pluses and minuses to the presentation of the current edition. The overall feeling is vastly more modern and "user-friendly" than it's older counterpart with the now ubiquitous explanatory boxes on points of interest, model correspondence and the like. The font is somewhat lightweight, but this probably just reflects my personal feelings of lofty academic superiority in choosing Russian rather than French (of which English is merely a dialect according to one of my erstwhile professors).

I have to agree with other reviewers that the omissions present a real problem. I had looked for some while for a comprehensive, advanced Russian dictionary before deciding that the Oxford was my only real hope. However, within a few minutes of starting my first game of solitary dictionary word association I'd come up with several glaring omissions. It seems pointless to name any particular examples, but these are words and phrases which are common and not the fare of technical dictionaries. When translating, this could present real difficulties. And this is where my other experience comes into play. More and more when translating I find myself turning to tools like the multi-language paged Wikipedia or Google for Russian vocabulary (almost exclusively nouns, admittedly). Okay, I know I said I wouldn't give examples, but take "strimmer" - not there. Within a few clicks on Wikipedia you find the strimmer page in English, choose the Russian page in the list on the left-hand side and hey presto with the added beneift that there are pictures so you can be sure you've found what you're looking for.

I also agree with other reviewers that critics should suggest a better alternative rather than just criticising this dictionary. I am increasingly afraid that, if they haven't, it's because it doesn't exist.
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