Top positive review
Useful but too selective
30 July 2013
Clearly immense work goes into a language dictionary, and the result in this one is a highly useable tool. However such dictionaries inevitably reflect the interests and priorities of their compilers rather than their target users. Users get the feeling that very little user research is done in determining content and presentation. For example the Collins team has not included the common everyday Russian word for a sea shell found on the beach, ðàêóøêà. The engineering word `torque' is not included. Words for `(mineral) deposit' and `lignite' are included in the Russian-English section but oddly not in the English-Russian counterpart. There is insufficient vernacular vocabulary - for example the use of `ïàëóòèíà' for the Internet web is not noted. On the other hand, an immense array of abbreviations for existing and historic institutions and government departments is included which many will find redundant. The same for capital cities, whose translation is surely evident?
The grammar section is useful but oddly selective. The declension of Russian numerals is repeated (from page 17 of the Russian grammar and then again from page 1158 at the end of the book). There is a list of the most common 2500 English words, which is of dubious value since no equivalent list is given of common Russian words. Some Russian declensions are presented with the cases as table rows in traditional format, but others with the cases confusingly as column headings. We are told that the genitive, dative and instrumental cases are generated by `certain verbs and prepositions' - a list of verbs and prepositions governing each case would have been more useful.
I personally found the entries cluttered. The compilers deploy a dazzling range of significant abbreviations, but I found it difficult to remember what these all mean, and their presence often made the target translation word difficult to see immediately. Are English phonetics always so necessary? Perhaps I would prefer a simpler but more comprehensive dictionary where lead words appear left justified and their translation right justified, or at least immediately visibly apparent.
Still I use the dictionary on a daily basis and value it.