This inadequacy becomes even more acute when a translator encounters marginal terminology, such as exotic or rarely used terms, which constitutes a major challenge to technical translation. As a timely example, while recently translating a document pertaining to cables, I had to employ quite elaborate online search techniques in order to find an exact Russian equivalent for the English term Chinese fingers, since I could not find it in any traditional dictionary. A similar problem arises with terms that have numerous similar meanings, such as pin, rod and so on. Choosing the correct target term requires an extensive knowledge of both the subject matter and the specific design or situation described in the text being translated, which, unfortunately, is often not the case.
This is precisely where online resources combined with iterative search techniques implemented by full-text search engines come into play. From the translator’s point of view, a full-text search engine is an interface to a gigantic searchable collection of texts and images containing terms and expressions in the target language. Unlike special dictionaries as a source of target terminology, a full-text search engine responds to a user query with real documents — samples of the actual usage of a given term in a relevant context, which is exactly what a translator needs. . .