Top positive review
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Superb, for Kindle 3, but very hit and miss accessibility to Italian texts on Kindle 4
on 22 August 2011
READ BELOW * FOR COMMENT RE KINDLE 4 suitability
This must be the third Italian-English Kindle dictionary I have looked at and confess to being even more impressed with this than with the Merriam Webster, which I thought was good, even at nearly £5. However, this is MUCH bigger, and consequently contains a great many more entries and more complex/subtler definitions and, currently, is less than half the price.
The earlier reviews are right in pointing out the problem of getting translation of words preceded by say "l', del'," etc. This IS a problem when reading an Italian text on the Kindle as, to get the definition, one has to go into the dictionary as main text to find the word - in the world of Kindle ease, that is an inconvenience. However, those reviews seem to have missed something regarding their other key complaints relating to infinitives plus pronouns (eg chiederla, farsi, dirmi, mangiarlo all of which are included).
For those who need convincing of the process for this particular function:
If you use the dictionary with an Italian text on the Kindle and place the cursor next to an infinitive/pronoun compound (eg attraversarlo) it gives "attraversarlo Verb - compound of attraversare and lo;" click on 'return' for 'more', you get a page with that explanation at the top, plus other variant forms below. Use the 5 way to scroll down one line to 'attraversare' and you get "attraversare Verb - to cross, to go through, to span;" etc. (To be clear: you do NOT have to scroll through pages and pages of text - the process is very quick, far quicker than handling a hard copy.)
Similarly with non-infinitive verb forms in a text eg "erano". When the cursor is next to it we get "erano Verb form - third person plural, imperfect tense of essere;" Select 'more' and we get a page with that repeated at the top, but scroll the cursor one line to essere and the definition is given. With two touches on 'back' you return to the text you were reading.
The specific verb form explanation is not ALWAYS provided. For example, with 'subivano' in the same text, I get "conjugation of subire", with no indication of tense or person. However, going into 'more' and following the above procedure, I get the definition of the infinitive. Which verbs get a more thorough explanation seems a bit random, but the fuller treatment is applied to many. This process is NOT time consuming: from reading 'subivano' to finding the definition and being back in the Italian text is a 30 second process, if that. The only minor inconvenience might be that the cursor resets to the top of the page of the Italian text.
Using it as a straightforward dictionary not linked to an Italian text in Kindle: type in 'attraversalo' and the process follows as above. I think it's also worth mentioning that for a word like 'farsi' you could be looking for a long time in a conventional dictionary until you realised it might be a compound: this one tells you it is a compound of 'fare' and 'si' and the definition is seconds away.
Others say this isn't perfect (things rarely are!) But for me anything less than 5* would be churlish: it's the best I've seen by some margin and at £2.14! This would get my vote at 3 or 4 times the price! If only there was a similar English to Italian version: I'd snap it up even at a tenner! And after 3 weeks in Italy, I found this incredibly useful and easy to access when set as my main dictionary. It is infinitely more inclusive than any pocket/travel dictionary I have come across, as was illustrated repeatedly when friends vainly searched for a word or compound verb form in their hard copy. Yes, pronunciation/stress guidance would make this even better, but that doesn't take anything away from its inclusiveness and remarkable cheapness.
* I upgraded to K4 recently: the `edition' which prompted the above review had been on my K3 and I transferred it to the new K4.
When I upgraded to K4, the dictionary could NOT be set as the primary or Italian dictionary without `throwing away' my original download, which I did, and buying the newer version. Then it can be set as the primary ITALIAN dictionary ie if you are reading an English book, you can still use the English dictionary you have chosen: the Italian one only kicks in in Italian texts.
BUT IT DOESN'T ALWAYS WORK IN ALL ITALIAN TEXTS. WHEN READING A PENGUIN BOOK OF ITALIAN SHORT STORIES, AND SCROLLING THROUGH TO HIGHLIGHT A WORD FOR DEFINITION, IT'S THE ENGLISH DICTIONARY WHICH IS FUNCTIONING!!!! TRYING TO LOOK UP 'SEI' (6) IN AN ITALIAN TEXT GETS AN ENGLISH LANGUAGE DEFINITION TO DO WITH WHALES.
YET THE ITALIAN DICTIONARY FUNCTIONS IN 'EASY ITALIAN READER: A 3 PART TEXT FOR BEGINNING STUDENTS'. IN THAT TEXT IT WORKS PRETTY MUCH AS DESCRIBED ABOVE.
SUCH UNPREDICTABLE USE IS UNACCEPTABLE. IF I'M READING AN ITALIAN LANGUAGE STUDY BOOK, THE K4 RECOGNISES THAT AS AN ENGLISH TEXT SO I CAN"T ACCESS THE ITALIAN DICTIONARY AUTOMATICALLY FOR ITALIAN WORDS IN EXERCISES.
AS A STRAIGHTFORWARD LOOKING-UP-THE-WORD USE, THE ABSENCE OF A KEYBOARD MAKES IT A LITTLE CLUNKY, BUT I CAN LIVE WITH THAT.
Still 5* for the Dictionary on K3: it's the best I've found, but I'm really not sure it's even 3 stars any more on the new K4, largely due to lack of predictability: if I want to buy an Italian based book, I want to know the dictionary will work: at the moment it seems it might, but might not! (The move away from a primary dictionary on K4 is probably the key: the K4 will not allow you to choose this, or any other non-English Dictionary as the main one) How it works on the Kindle Keyboard, I can't say, though if f that is configured as K4 is, it will be just the same.
So from being the most enthusiastic advocate of this dictionary, I now find myself thinking I wouldn't even buy it! NEW BUYERS ON THE LATEST DEVICES, BEWARE! (I have returned the dictionary, in fact.)
PS Sorry about all the upper case: not really shouting, just trying to emphasise!