Dictionaries, mainly monolingual dictionaries, are one of the most important tools for the translator due to their valuable lexical information. Nevertheless, authors such as Fenner (1989) or Robers (1997) state that dictionaries—and lexicography in general—occupy a secondary position in Translation Studies: [… ] dictionary consultation is a major component of the research phase of translation. However, [… ] the role of dictionaries and dictionary use in this phase and, indeed all translation phases, is underestimated and even denigrated. (Roberts, 1997)
It seems self-evident that dictionary consultation constitutes an important stage in the process of translation. Dictionaries provide translators with valuable information. However, if we want our students to be efficient users of this reference material, we need to understand how they use these sources of vocabulary in their work. Taking these two statements as starting points, our paper reports on some of our research findings, in which we discuss the results of an empirical research project, conducted with translation students at University Jaume I (Castellon, Spain), in order to establish how they use different types of dictionaries.
We comment on the main objectives of our research and findings regarding the types of dictionary used the frequency of use, the main reasons for consultation, etc. The conclusion is that our students do not take advantage of the different dictionaries available. In addition, the results suggest that they are not familiar with electronic dictionaries—CD-ROM dictionaries and online dictionaries.
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