The New Routledge & Van Dale Dutch Dictionary; French-English Dictionary of Social Security Terms, First Edition

The New Routledge & Van Dale Dutch Dictionary Dutch-English/English-Dutch, 2nd Edition



Reviewed by: Jeannette K. Ringold
Authors: R. Hempelman and N. Osselton [Editorial consultant for English edition: Sarah Butler]
Publisher: Routledge & Van Dale
Publication date: 2014
ISBN: 978-1138785793
Price: $53.96 (paperback); $168.43 (hardcover)
Number of pages/entries: 1,154 pages; over 24,000 Dutch entries with an additional 9,000 headwords
Available from:

According the publisher, the 2014 revised edition of The New Routledge & Van Dale Dutch Dictionary: Dutch-English/English-Dutch is “ideal for Dutch language learners and users at all levels.”

The dictionary was first published in 2001 by Van Dale Lexicografie as Ster Woordenboek Engels-Nederlands/Nederlands-Engels. In 2003, Routledge released it as The New Routledge Dutch Dictionary: Dutch-English and English-Dutch (authors R. Hempelman and N. Osselton). The second edition incorporated some major changes and improvements. The very brief history of this dictionary shows that it has evolved from a dictionary intended for Dutch speakers to one intended for English speakers learning Dutch.


The New Routledge & Van Dale Dutch Dictionary is a bit too bulky for a pocket dictionary and also too heavy (2 ½ pounds). The binding is sturdy and seems to be holding up after a month’s use. However, the dictionary doesn’t lie flat without a weight to prop it open. There’s also barely enough space at the spine for the columns on either side of the binding to be read easily. However, the typeface has been changed to the Frutiger font, which is a very clear and clean-looking sans serif font that’s quite legible even with the small point size the dictionary uses.

Content and Organization

The dictionary is definitely intended for general use by English speakers wishing to learn Dutch. The English pronunciation guide of the previous edition has been eliminated and the phonetic transcription of headwords is shown only for the Dutch. The translations are very good but quite limited.

Instead of marking the gender for all Dutch nouns in parentheses after each noun, the new edition has “articles for Dutch nouns presented at a glance, in the margin before the headwords.” Since this is an innovation that makes the articles stand out, it would have been useful to indicate that Dutch nouns have two genders: common gender and neuter. The common gender is a mixture of what used to be masculine and feminine, which is indicated by the definite article de; neuter is indicated by the article het. Some nouns have two genders with no difference in meaning, while other nouns with two genders do have a difference in meaning. There is only one plural article, de. Context and expressions are shown when appropriate.

In the English>Dutch section, the articles are marked differently. The common definite article de is the default and is left out. Dutch neuter nouns are followed by a superscript h to indicate the use of the article het. When either het or de is allowed, the superscript +h appears. Unfortunately, this superscript is very small and is also in a lighter color, which makes it difficult to read. In terms of organization, it would also have been better to have a visible separation between the Dutch>English and English>Dutch sections of the dictionary.

The presentation of verbs has been enhanced, which is a major improvement. In addition to the list of irregular Dutch verbs with conjugated forms in the front of the dictionary, the verbs now have conjugation information (imperfect singular and present perfect) added after the headword. Verbal prefixes (separable and inseparable) are also shown. This provides a lot of information for the language learner because it indicates whether the auxiliary verb hebben or zijn (there are verbs that take either hebben [to have] or zijn [to be]) is used to form the perfect tenses: aanheffen (hief aan, heeft aangeheven); emigreren (emigreerde is geëmigreerd); ontsnappen (ontsnapte is ontsnapt); zich opdringen (drong zich op, heeft zich opgedrongen). The reflexive pronoun is placed in the margin before the verb.

The English spelling used is basically British, but American expressions are included when there’s a lexical difference. The translations are short and effective, although more context would be useful. Belgian usage is also included.

Overall Evaluation

As a general dictionary, The New Routledge & Van Dale Dutch Dictionary is of limited value for professional translators and interpreters. The range of headwords is fairly narrow and the physical format of the book makes it unpleasant to use. Despite the very nice features and improvements mentioned above, it will not be one of my “go-to” dictionaries.

Jeannette K. Ringold is an ATA-certified French>English translator who has translated a wide range of literature from Dutch and French. Many of her translations of Dutch novels and short stories by prominent authors have been published. She has a PhD in Romance languages and literature from the University of California, Berkeley. Contact:

French-English Dictionary of Social Security Terms, First Edition

Reviewed by: Pamela Gilbert-Snyder
Author: Svetolik P. Djordjevic
Publisher: Jordana Publishing
Publication date: October 2014
ISBN: 978-0-9764480-7-5 (CD)
Price: $29.95
Number of pages/entries: Total 9,718 terms (790 main entries, 8,129 subentries, and 799 abbreviations)
Available from: Jordana Publishing

In the November/December 2009 issue of this magazine, I reviewed the 113,000-term Dictionary of Medicine—Dictionnaire de médecine compiled by Svetolik P. Djordjevic, calling it “an extremely valuable addition to references in this language combination.”1 Now Djordjevic has come out with the French-English Dictionary of Social Security Terms. This is a considerably shorter work, but with 9,718 terms (including 790 main entries), it’s still quite substantial.

The preface states that the author compiled terms used in Canada, Belgium, France, and Switzerland over a 24-year period during which he worked full-time for the U.S. Social Security Administration. The following caveat is given: “Since the majority of applicants for U.S. Social Security benefits come from Canada, and in particular from the province of Québec, this dictionary reflects that fact by the preponderance of terms coming from that country.” Indeed, many, though not all, terms are identified by the country in which they are used, and the designations “Canada” and “Quebec” occur far more often (835 and 510 times, respectively) than “France” (654 times), “Belgium” (65 times), or “Switzerland” (only 6 times).

Given the focus on Canada, I initially questioned the usefulness of this dictionary, since Quebec government websites offer a wealth of bilingual resources whose terminology can be consulted in context simply by clicking between “English” and “Français.” However, I became quickly convinced of its worth when encountering such unwieldy terms as droits de cotisation à une [sic] régime enregistré d’épargne retraire [sic], which are very handy to have at your fingertips. (Incidently, in my limited evaluation, I ran across a surprising number of typos such as the ones I just marked, including deuzième for deuxième.) Nevertheless, because my own work encompasses social security subjects in the contexts of public health and corporate sponsorship primarily in France, where parallel documents in English are rarer, I undertook to evaluate the dictionary’s usefulness for a France-focused translator such as myself.

Search Structure

The dictionary was easy to install on my MacBook Air (OS X, version 10.7.5). These computers don’t have CD-ROM drives, so I used a computer that had one to drag the contents of the dictionary from the CD-ROM onto a thumb drive, which I then plugged into a USB port on my MacBook Air. It was also easy to run from my copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader, version 10.1.3. According to the dictionary’s “read me” file, it will open with Adobe Reader versions 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11.

The instructions are simple and adequate. A single page in the introduction file contains three easy-to-follow instructions for searching, complete with an Adobe screenshot showing the user exactly where to click to search the dictionary.

Each letter of the alphabet is assigned a separate pdf file. From the index file, users may click on the desired letter file and scroll through its contents to search for terms, or else type the desired term into the search window that pops up after clicking “Search this document” under the bookmark tab (which is opened by clicking on the tab’s icon to the left of the document page).

From this search window, PDF files may be searched individually by checking “In the current document.” However, it’s also possible to search the entire dictionary by checking “All PDF documents in,” then using the pull-down menu to select “French English Dictionary of Soc” or “Lexicon.” In addition, other locations on the user’s computer may be searched by clicking on “Browse for location” in the pull-down menu and selecting a folder or disc. This handy feature allows the user to search multiple resources at once. However, it will search PDF documents only.

As in his previous dictionary, the author warns of possible difficulties typing in French symbols, such as à, â, é, è, etc., depending on your keyboard setup. I was able to type in the symbols with no problem, but words containing such symbols can be pasted into the search field if need be.

Search results are presented in the form of a list of the PDF documents (i.e., files assigned to a particular letter of the alphabet) in which the term appears. Unfortunately, the names of these documents are cut off at “French-English Dictionary of Social Security Terms,” making each document name identical. The user must hover the cursor over each document name in order to view the entire—very long—file name, or click the arrow next to it to drop down its list of appearances. For searches yielding copious results, this can be time-consuming. This is especially true given that subentries are listed in truncated form on the dictionary’s pages. For example, users won’t find aide à l’enfance (child care) by searching for it; they must search for aide then look for the subentry à l’enfance. Successive searches for enfance, l’enfance, and à l’enfance didn’t turn up this subentry under aide, and the search for l’enfance turned up only the subentry de l’enfance en difficulté under éducation (special education). A search for enfance alone turned up only the main entry. However, when the user unchecks “Whole Words Only,” all instances appear.

If the “Whole Words Only” option just beneath the search field is not checked, searches yield every appearance of the term in the dictionary, even such unhelpful ones as permission (in a search for mission) in the statement “Adobe product screenshot reprinted with permission from Adobe Systems Incorporated” in the introduction file. The “Whole Words Only” option is helpful for distinguishing relevancy; fortunately, it is selected by default. Another plus: search results show terms clearly in boldface as discreet entries rather than embedding them in their surrounding text (an improvement over Djordjevic’s previous dictionary).

Users may sort search results by relevance ranking, date modified, filename, or location. I’m not sure how useful relevance ranking is, however, since even when this option is selected, both the PDF documents containing the instances in which the term appears and the list of instances themselves are presented in alphabetical order. The main entry of the term is not listed first. The main entry for the term maladie, for example, is buried in the seventh of 10 documents listed in the search results. Of course, users wishing to consult only the main entry can simply click on the appropriate alphabetical file and scroll through. Scrolling is sped up by clicking on alphabetical tabs (aa, ab, ac, etc.) to the left of the document page.

Inconveniently, document pages are sized at 70%, so they must be enlarged to at least 100% to be read easily. Although different pages within the same document retain the new page size when that document is browsed, when a new document is opened it must be resized all over again. If there is a way of setting the page-view size to 100% by default, I didn’t find it. Despite this inconvenience, clicking between search results on the list and navigating between pages is quick and easy.


The French social security system has four branches: maladie (health insurance), famille (family allowances), accidents du travail et maladies professionnelles (occupational health and safety), and retraite (retirement). I searched for terms found in documents generated by each of these branches and found that the dictionary covers all of the subject areas one would expect to encounter in such documentation. These are listed by the author as “employment, banking, business, education, family relationships, health care, retirement, law, and taxes.”

I found all of the many general terms for which I searched (e.g., aide, assurance, bénéfice, caisse, couverture, garantie, invalidité, maladie, pension, prestation, régime, retraite, santé, and soins). However, when it came to the subentries, I encountered a few holes. For example, assurance chômage is found (unemployment insurance), but not assurance retraite; retraite anticipé (early retirement) is also missing. The main entry for aide has at least 30 subentries, but aide à la complémentaire santé (ACS), for “supplemental health insurance assistance,” is not among them. France’s Caisse d’Allocations Familiales (CAF) appears, but it’s given as “Family Allowance Fund,” although it would be more accurately rendered as “Family Allowance Office.” Moreover, the national network under which France’s 123 CAF offices fall, the Caisse nationale des allocations familiales (CNAF), does not appear. Neither do cohésion or intervention sociale, both of which appear commonly in documents on which I have worked that touch on French welfare. For “single parent,” I found parent seul and (chef de) famille monoparentale, but not parent isolé, which I have encountered just as often.

Main entries for general terms, such as garantie (given helpfully as “security interest, provision, coverage, benefit”), prestation (benefit), régime (plan, system), and soins (care, treatment), contain an abundance of subentries (over 100 for prestation alone). These give the dictionary an exhaustive feel and enable the user to infer equivalencies when longer exact terms (such as aide à la complémentaire santé) are missing. The main entry for bénéficiaire is given as “beneficiary, payee, and recipient.” It has 11 subentries, including this nugget: ayant épuisé son droit aux prestations d’assurance-chômage (unemployment insurance exhaustee). Caisse, a ubiquitious term in this field, is given as “box, cash, fund, and office,” and has 97 subentries.

There are 799 very useful acronyms and abbreviations, including obscure ones French translators run across surprisingly often, such as cpdt (for cependant). France’s Couverture Maladie Universelle (Universal Health Coverage) is there, under the acronym CMU. So is Caisse nationale d’assurance vieillesse (CNAV), or “national old-age insurance fund.” AR, for autre régime (“other [pension] plan/system [France]”), is there. So are OOPAC, for organisme officiel de paiement des allocations de chômage (Official Unemployment Benefits Agency [France]), and Mutualité sociale agricole (MSA), for “Farmer’s Mutual Insurance.” Revenu de solidarité active (RSA) (“active solidarity income”) is missing, but there are a host of other acronyms relating specifically to France.

As in his last dictionary, Djordjevic lists many prepositions as main entries, such as en, which includes such subentries en d.d. for en date de (on the date of), en esp. for en espèce (in cash), en m.p. for en mains propres (personally), en perte d’autonomie (incapacitated), and en rép. à (in response to).

Overall Evaluation

This dictionary, available only on CD, is another very useful work I’m happy to add to my bilingual resources, especially as the focus, social security, covers many subject areas.


1Gilbert-Snyder, Pamela. “Dictionary of Medicine: French-English with English-French Glossary, Third Revised Edition,” The ATA Chronicle (November/December, 2009), 48.

Pamela Gilbert-Snyder is an ATA-certified French>English translator and a member of ATA’s Dictionary Review Committee. She has over 20 years of experience in the legal, financial, environmental, and medical fields (including international development), and has published translations in the areas of oil and gas, sailing, theater, and current events. She has an MA in French and an MA in translation and interpreting from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, as well as an MFA in creative writing. Contact:

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