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Teaching Culture Through Bilingual Dictionaries

Teaching Culture Through Bilingual Dictionaries Dinh-Hoa Nguyen In the fall of 1948, on my way from Hanoi to the United States to attend Union College, in Schenectady, N. Y., I was given a copy of the Vietnamese translation of Meet the U.S.A. during my visit to the U.S. Information Service in Saigon. In this orientation booklet, chock-full of information about university life in my host country, I read that most students have to "work their way through college"--I remember being much impressed with this idiomatic expression--and that among the various chores which American students had to do for money, there was one activity stated as th$ län. Greatly puzzled, I asked myself, "Divers, too? What if the institution is not located on the seacoast?" Then I instantly realized that the translator engaged to do the booklet had either worked from a French version of Meet the U.S.A. or used an EnglishFrench dictionary, which had glossed the English word dishwasher as "plongeur," and that the Vietnamese translator had in turn translated the latter word as th<j l#n, not realizing the real meaning of the French slang plongeur. This instance illustrates the danger of indiscriminate conclusions on the part of a dictionary user. Had the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America Dictionary Society of North America

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Publisher
Dictionary Society of North America
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Copyright © The Dictionary Society of North America
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2160-5076
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Abstract

Dinh-Hoa Nguyen In the fall of 1948, on my way from Hanoi to the United States to attend Union College, in Schenectady, N. Y., I was given a copy of the Vietnamese translation of Meet the U.S.A. during my visit to the U.S. Information Service in Saigon. In this orientation booklet, chock-full of information about university life in my host country, I read that most students have to "work their way through college"--I remember being much impressed with this idiomatic expression--and that among the various chores which American students had to do for money, there was one activity stated as th$ län. Greatly puzzled, I asked myself, "Divers, too? What if the institution is not located on the seacoast?" Then I instantly realized that the translator engaged to do the booklet had either worked from a French version of Meet the U.S.A. or used an EnglishFrench dictionary, which had glossed the English word dishwasher as "plongeur," and that the Vietnamese translator had in turn translated the latter word as th<j l#n, not realizing the real meaning of the French slang plongeur. This instance illustrates the danger of indiscriminate conclusions on the part of a dictionary user. Had the

Journal

Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North AmericaDictionary Society of North America

Published: Apr 4, 1980

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