As an interpreter, I collect terms to prepare for simultaneous translation at conferences. Phrases, idioms and sayings are also "terms", and you never know when they will pop up during interpreting. Dalia Tessler was my connection with Yavneh Publishing House, and they encouraged me to create a dictionary out of all these lists of idioms. It took the form of a thesaurus, since idioms cannot be arranged by alphabetical order: they work by semantic fields.
The Thesaurus of Idioms and Phrases, English-Hebrew-English was published in 2004 and the last copies of its 3rd edition are running out. It's time for the electronic version.
My CV, just the relevant stuff:
Translator from age 17, interpreter for 20 years. I taught in the Translation and Interpreting Department of Bar Ilan University until recently. I had also worked as a tour guide; translator and operations manager in a subtitling company; producer of Israeli stands and pavilions in professional fairs overseas. Currently serving as an external advisor to the Israeli Court System in a project aimed at improving the quality of court interpreting in Israel.
"וּכְשֶׁיִּזְדַּמֵּן לִי בִּלְשׁוֹן קֹדֶשׁ מִלָּה קָשָׁה –
וּמַלְכוּתָהּ אֶתֵּן לִרְעוּתָהּ הַטּוֹבָה מִמֶּנָּה.
[...] וְחַכְמֵי כָּל אֻמָּה הִסְכִּימוּ,
כִּי אֵין לָאָדָם לְהַעְתִּיק סֵפֶר עַד יֵדַע שְׁלשָׁה דְּבָרִים:
סוֹד הַלָּשׁוֹן אֲשֶׁר יַעְתִּיק מִגְּבוּלֶיהָ,
וְסוֹד הַלָּשׁוֹן אֲשֶׁר הוּא מַעְתִּיק אֵלֶיהָ,
וְסוֹד הַחָכְמָה אֲשֶׁר הוּא מְפָרֵשׁ מִלֶּיהָ
וּבִשְׁלֹשָׁה אֵלֶּה חֶבֶל הַמְּלִיצָה יֵרָתֵק,
וְהַחוּט הַמְשֻׁלָּשׁ לֹא בִמְהֵרָה יִנָּתֵק".
רבי יהודה אלחריזי (1235-1170)
מתוך הקדמת המעתיק (המתרגם)
ל"ספר המאור" לרמב"ם
To my mentor, the late Professor Miriam Shlesinger, who planted the seed for this dictionary, then watered and weeded it – with wisdom, good taste and generosity, and as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
To Professor Elda Weizman, who was chair of the Translation and Interpretation Studies Department at Bar-Ilan University at the time this thesaurus was compiled, for her support and her assistance with definitions; to Dalia Tessler, editor of the Hebrew entries, who saw the project through from inception to completion and steered me clear of numerous pitfalls; and to Brenda Malkiel and the late Asher Harris, editors of the English entries, for being gentle but uncompromising.
To my teachers, colleagues and students who contributed to this thesaurus and patiently answered my nitpicking questions. Special thanks to Ruchie Avital and the late Tony Berris.
Dedicated with love to my dear departed
Mother, Denise Gabriel née Knafo, who translated Tintin into Hebrew for me on Saturday mornings;
Father, Eliyahu Gabriel, who taught me to read English without a dictionary;
And husband, Jean-Luc Sevenier, the man who was not afraid of a successful woman, and without whom this project would never have come to be.