Have you been given the daunting task of taking a piece of text in one language and changing every single word so it makes sense and reads nicely in another one?
The internet’s got your back – check out these free resources for translation between most living languages!
Proz.com Term Search
The focal point of the online translation community, holding millions of entries. Highly qualified and experienced linguists will often add an authoritative opinion on how to handle a particular translation problem. Due to the big pool of expert knowledge, ProZ is often at the forefront of new terminology standards being set, particularly for “younger” words.
The official terminology database of the European Union covering all 26 EU languages; a critical resource ensuring consistenty and public availability of the official EU terminology.
Microsoft Language Portal
Microsoft maintains an official terminology database for all of its products, including short descriptions of terms as well as product context. An invaluable tool when doing IT-related translations, not only because it provides you with conclusive translations for IT terminology, but also because consistency is so important when translating things like graphic user interfaces.
The World Intellectual Property Organization – a UN agency responsible for IP matters – maintains this beautiful database of terms derived from patents, a translation field with extremely strict terminology requirements.
Oxford Learner‘s Dictionary
The online version of the colossal Oxford English Dictionary presents definitions, pronunciation and etymology through a convenient and fast user interface.
The tried and tested reference (and, in some ways, source) for American English; reliable, rich in information and featuring interesting editorial content.
With a history as a standard-setting body for German language, the DUDEN is the most comprehensive, up-to-date and authoritative reference for anyone working with German.
Dictionnaire de l’Académie Française
French has the doubtful distinction of having the oldest standardized orthography among all European languages. With the Académie being the official authority since 1694, you arguably won’t find a more comprehensive lexicon for the beloved language of why do you need so many letters to write that word?
Diccionario de la lengua española
The official reference dictionary for Castilian since 1780, updated with a new edition every ten years. Although the Spanish language is famously widespread and spoken in many local dialects, this work remains the only standard publication on Spanish.
Advanced Google Search
1. Exact Match and Exclusion
By putting a phrase in “quotation marks”, Google will return only results that include the exact phrase inside them; you can exclude results that include a certain keyword by putting a minus in front of it:
“Paul McCartney” -dead will return all pages that deal with Sir Paul, without the conspiracy theory stuff.
2. Comparing Results Numbers
Google will always give you the amount of results it found for a given search term, right below the search bar; while this should be used with caution, it can still give you a good idea of which term is more common whenever you’re on the fence about two (or more) translations.
3. Site Searching
The site: operator can be extremely useful when researching company-specific terminology. If, for instance, we’re looking for the official German translations used by Samsung for its S20 phone. We type in Samsung Galaxy S20 deutsch site:samsung.com, which will return the German-language product page for the S20 on the official Samsung website.
4. Converting Units / Currencies
Google’s conversion function is great whenever you encounter measurement units that you need to convert, and it will even reliably convert a few “exotic” pairings, like lbf to kN.