Sat, 18 Mar 2000

'Linguist' needs improving

I refer to the article by Zatni Arbi, Linguist: A locally made Indonesian English dictionary, published in The Jakarta Post on March 13, 2000. I purchased this electronic dictionary about a year ago when PT Ciptasoft Prima had an exhibition at the Shangrila Hotel. As a registered user, I was never notified of any upgrades. I can only think of two possibilities: there have been no upgrades since my purchase or there have been several upgrades and users have not been informed by PT Ciptasoft.

The latter seems more logical to me, however, and it is PT Ciptasoft that can answer my curiosity. If that is the case, PT Ciptasoft is not serving customers who buy a licensed product and those customers end up looking for pirated ones which are widely available in Mangga Dua, the computer center in downtown Jakarta. Almost all stores selling CD-ROMs there have the pirated version of Linguist.

Having used Linguist for some time, I still find the nonelectronic dictionary by John M. Echols and Hassan Shadily, published by the Gramedia Group, more complete and more indepth in content. Unlike Linguist, that mostly translates a word for a word or a phrase for a phrase, this ordinary dictionary uses sentence examples in explaining a word which I believe is a great help not only to students but also learners of the English language in general.

If PT Ciptasoft and Gramedia work together in producing a more complete electronic dictionary, combining Linguist with the dictionary by Gramedia, it would result in an English-Indonesian- English dictionary everybody would want to purchase. As far as I know, besides Linguist, there are no other electronic English- Indonesian-English dictionaries.

I prefer to use an electronic dictionary, of course, since my work involves using computers a lot. However, in my opinion, the content of Linguist is not complete and is unsatisfactory. That's why I still use a nonelectronic dictionary. It would be a very good idea, if, in the future, good electronic English-Indonesian- English dictionaries were widely available. Either Linguist improves its content or other companies will publish better electronic dictionaries.