Thoughts for serious language learners
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The worst dictionary in existence

In July, I wrote that the Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary had been dropped from the Collins product line. I have since found out that I was wrong. HarperCollins has partnered with an American educational company called Cengage to release a new (sixth) edition of this landmark dictionary. I suppose the complicated business relationship with Cengage is one reason why it is so hard to find any information on this edition on Collins’ websites.

Anyway, I have installed the sixth edition on my PC and I must say it is the most bloated, slowest, buggiest software dictionary that I have ever used. Looking up a word takes 1-5 seconds on a fast machine, the dictionary takes up over 300 MB of memory, there are no phonetic transcriptions, and the recordings are of a quality that we used to have before CDs came along. It is painfully obvious that this product was written by incompetent programmers, tested by no one, and approved by managers who didn’t care. Avoid like the plague!

If you want to buy a Collins COBUILD, get the previous (fifth) edition. It is a solid piece of software developed by a completely different company. It runs fast, has phonetic transcriptions and good-quality audio. It has been discontinued, but the Elearnaid store has enough copies to last a year.

For more information, read the updated reviews of the Collins COBUILD Dictionary (book version and CD-ROM).


One Comment so far ↓

  • ummar

    yeah this cd-rom for 6th ed sucks

    i checked it out – it takes 40 minutes to install becuase there are millions of sound files (separate one for each word!!!) and it is painfully slow to lookup a word because the meanings have been stored in XML files and their parsing is usually very slow – what shit programming!!!!

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