I read with interest the debate in your pages regarding the value of a second language for engineering graduates (NCE 18 and 25 June). In carrying out research for two previous publications (The Building Envelope and Connections, Butterworth Architecture) which featured case studies of prestigious buildings around Europe I spent some time interviewing foreign architects and engineers. It soon became apparent that one of the implications of the European Union would be the increasing instances of design teams made up of consultants of different nationalities and that this mix might result in some difficulties in clear and concise communication. With the help of a sponsorship grant from Bovis, which also realised the need to avoid miscommunication, I set about compiling and editing a multilingual dictionary in 1994.
This month the Multilingual Dictionary of Architecture and Building Terms (English, French, German, Spanish and Italian) is published by Spon/Routledge (ISBN 0419 199 209). This dictionary is specifically targeted at design and construction professions and includes approximately 2,500 down to earth everyday terms likely to be useful in the design as well as the site office. Your readers may be interested in taking this short cut!
Chris Grech, Whitby Bird & Partners, 60 Newman Street, London W1P 4DA.