content top


Just read in Transblawg about a new edition of the Collins German Dictionary – and it brought back memories of my time in Glasgow.

Peter Terrell hired me in the early 70s right out of university for my first (and first overseas) job as a compiler on a bilingual English-German dictionary project for Collins Publishers – most likely the first incarnation of the dictionary mentioned by Margaret Marks. I worked in the derelict building of Collins in Glasgow’s Cathedral Street, the only one that was left standing on the north side of the street. This was before computers, and our small crew worked with paper and pencil on the German entries for the dictionary.

I was the new kid in the office, and Roland Breitsprecher, later of Duden-Oxford Bildwörterbuch, and Veronika Schnorr (today Büro für Lexikographie in Stuttgart), helped me to make sense of my job.

I will always be grateful to Peter for giving me the chance to start in the language business. I had no idea of the direction I wanted to take and he was extraordinarily patient with me. Even when I left Collins (much sooner than I had planned) for the United States, exchanging electrical bar heaters and hot water heaters with time switches for central heating and perpetual hot water, he was generous enough to allow me to contribute on a freelance basis for some time.

The last time I saw Roland was 1978 in Mannheim. Veronika came to visit us in Tokyo one time in the early 80s and another time she kindly offered her office in Stuttgart so that I could interview prospective translators. With Peter I still have occasional contact: I visited him in Glasgow one year, and I did some translation work for his company Lexus Translations. The old Collins building in Cathedral Street is no more, I am told.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *