Online dictionaries for translators and much more… Everyone thinks that we professional translators translate without thinking about our perfect command of languages and yes, many times we do, but other times we use what we call “parallel texts” and Google search results.
[This is an automatic translation, not a professional translation]
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Parallel texts: an essential source of information for translators
What are parallel texts? They are documents of the same similarity in the source language and in the target language. Translation professionals use these documents to compare both forms of writing and expression, terminology and structure.
At the same time, we use the search engines to see the web matches of the search terms. To do this we use Boolean operators, that is, we use quotes and other structures to find the term we need in the target language. Thanks to the Internet and the many publications on the web, the translator’s hard work has been made much easier.
Finally, let’s not forget the dictionaries, our faithful help since many years. We have long since abandoned paper to use online dictionaries, whether monolingual, bilingual or thesaurus.
Online dictionaries for translators
One of the most used online dictionaries for online translation services is Linguee
Linguee, in addition to functioning as a dictionary, makes a web search of the texts that contain the word or phrase entered and that have been translated at the same time. This tool must be used with great care, since not all websites have been translated by professional translators and many times they are not the product of a specialized translation agency such as Tradupla, but come from translation aficionados or simply from an automatic translation system. However, most companies and individuals tend to rely on a professional translation service and therefore it becomes an essential tool because we can see the translation in context.
Another indispensable dictionary for professional translators is the American company Proz. This is a giant translation company in which translation companies and freelance translators enjoy many advantages such as training, employment, but essentially glossaries, terminology database and online dictionary. In this online community of translators we share our knowledge, ask questions and answer questions from other translators to create our own glossaries while being rewarded with points to increase our prestige on the web.
We cannot forget about the European Union’s terminology database. It consists of a huge database of multilingual terms entered by translators and terminologists from the European Union.
We can use a series of filters such as query theme or search by term, abbreviation or any other.
Another very useful bilingual dictionary is Reverso . This dictionary contains many translated idioms and places the different terms in different contexts to help with translation. It also works as a monolingual dictionary.
On the web there are a lot of bilingual and monolingual dictionaries, let’s continue to see some others that are well known by all, such as the DRAE.
You may wonder why we use a monolingual dictionary. It seems that we know our mother tongue inside out… well, we don’t. We have to consult many times the different meanings and nuances to use one word or another. Sometimes we come across terms that are borrowed and if they appear in italics in the DRAE we have to reflect them in italics as well.
There are curious words, such as “zoom” or “whiskey” that the RAE dictionary does not allow us to write as such but rather as “zum” or that prefers the Spanish form as “güisqui”.
The monolingual dictionaries of each language are therefore essential for these issues and there are many of these such as the Petit Robert for French, although this is a fee.
Wordreference is another well-known dictionary that can function as a monolingual, bilingual dictionary and also serves to look up synonyms and antonyms and much more. It is one of the most complete on the web with multiple language combinations.
I would not like to finish this post without naming one of the best thesauri on the web, the UNESCO thesaurus. It consists of a list of terms to search for documents, thematic analysis and publications in different fields such as education, science or communication.
Other online dictionaries
To conclude, I would like to mention the ideal Woxikon dictionary for searching for abbreviations or the Signum Synonym dictionary for searching for synonyms.