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Online Translation Resources

A day or so ago, someone mentioned in the main Duolingo forum that it would be nice to have a readily available link to an appropriate online dictionary. I thought I'd share some of the online resoures I use when I'm working on Duolingo translations.


This is an online german-english dictionary. It's been around a LONG time and it has grown to support many other languages as well. This is my favorite online dictionary and the one I turn to first. I like it for its large vocabulary, sure, but also for its many, many examples and useful links to internal discussion forums. Also, virtually all words have convenient icon links to canoo.net for complete, thorough and exhaustive noun and verb conjugations. Which brings me to...


Absolutely exhaustive tables of nouns along with their plurals in all cases. I usually only access this site only indirectly via LEO though.


Another great online german-english dictionary. I like this one first because they do a little better job making noun plurals available right on the front page instead of making you look for them via a canoo.net link. Also, they sometimes have definition variants that LEO doesn't have (and vice versa). This is my second favorite dictionary. I have LEO and this one open in tabs at all times.


A good, German language dictionary. Definitions are all in German, but you'd be surprised how valuable those can be even if your German is not very good (mine is not).


Another online German dictionary, in wiki form, again with German definitions.


This is a really excellent resource. You type in words or short phrases, and it returns lists of German paragraphs that contain the word or phrase along with the equivalent paragraph in English. These are human translated paragraphs too, not machine translated, so the quality is high. The best thing about this site is you can see the word or phrase you're interested in used in many, many different contexts, and this can help greatly when you're trying to decide how to most appropriately translate a passage.


This is a link to about.com's list of German abbreviations. This has come in handy more than once.


The German version of Wikipedia. This can be extremely useful when researching people, places, cultural references, etc. from the material you're translating. I've used this surprisingly often.


Obviously this is just Google maps, right? Yeah. But there have been several instances now where I've been translating an article that is talking about a region in Germany, a particular river, highway, etc., and it has been really helpful to look these up on Google maps, see how they are oriented, find out what's nearby (sometimes this is important for context), maybe even drop into street view. I've worked on three articles now that were about buildings (in Berlin and Jena). If you're lucky, there are signs and things that you can see on those buildings in street view that suddenly make the original article make a lot more sense (at least that's been my experience). So, yeah, it's just Google maps, but it can be surprisingly helpful.

And that's what I've got.

What other resources do you guys use?

December 17, 2012



I strongly advise against using leo.org and dict.cc. They're terribly unreliable. This is because the majority of their databases consists of user-generated content and there's no professional quality control. I once tried to report a wrong entry on dict.cc, but nothing ever happened. If you're looking for a reliable dictionary, I highly recommend http://www.wordreference.com/de/ and http://www.pons.eu If you're comfortable with a monolingual dictionary, use http://www.duden.de It's used by virtually all native speakers.


It's a great idea to google/wikipedia what you translate - not only does give you a better translation, it means you can learn about Germany while you learn German. It'll also help to make the words you're learning stick if you engage more with the content.

Leo is my favourite online dictionary (and the forums there can also be really useful), but if possible I would advise anybody wanting to learn German seriously to buy a big 'paper' dictionary (I use Collins). This will really help you to get the exact right word for the context.

Duden is the definitive (all) German dictionary, and they recently made their online dictionary free of charge - http://www.duden.de/

Some other useful resources:


This is my favourite dictionary:



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