online terminology resources

There is an array of free resources that can facilitate the work of a translator. They are well-maintained and give access to useful and important information. As professionals in the field of translation, we are privileged to live in a world where access to online resources is easy and where technology works in our favor. In addition to several apps that any translator and interpreter should have there are many terminology resources that can help us do our job better. Here is a list of the most useful ones.

Online Dictionaries

A good dictionary is very important for a translator. Every translator has an array of both paper and e-dictionaries handy that help them do their job. Online you can also find a great number of dictionaries and thesaurus. Below are five of the most used dictionaries by translators: 

  • Oxford dictionaries online – no doubt this is the most preferred English dictionary that is a reference tool not only for translators and linguists but also by other people who need to look up a word for one reason or another.   
  • Duden is one of the best online German dictionaries and is invaluable if your work language is German. 
  • Van Dale is the Dutch equivalent of the best online dictionary and is often used by those translating to and from Dutch.  
  • Spanishdict is considered the most popular website for Spanish translation. The dictionary offers translation from and to Spanish along with verb conjugations. 
  • Linguee bilingual dictionaries offer 11 languages with very good entries. It should be used with discretion, though, since some of the bilingual texts are poor. 

The five dictionaries listed above are just a small excerpt of what the internet can offer as tools to translators. You can browse and bookmark those that you feel are the most useful for your job.

Terminology Databases and Glossaries  

Terminology and its management are very important, especially in document translation. Each language service provider has a rich database that the translators can use but it is also good to take advantage of the vast resources the internet offers. Here are a few useful terminology bases: 

  • IATE is the EU’s “InterActive Terminology for Europe” terminology database. It has a user-friendly interface with intuitive autofill in the searchbar – you just need to type three letters and it suggests a term. You can choose to see translation in a given target language or in any language available.
  • Proz.com is a source that is well-known among the translation professionals. The site allows you to choose your source and target languages as well as the discipline you need.  
  • Microsoft Language Portal offers help in 90 languages with international Microsoft terminology along with glossaries and localization style guides. 
  • EU Jargon and Alternatives will help with industry-specific terms for specialized texts. It can help you exchange a jargon word for a technical phrase that will be more understandable by the general audience.  
  • EUR-Lex – Europa EU is a database that is updated on a regular basis and offers free access to documents related to EU law, national law and legislation procedures. Documents can be found in 24 languages.  
  • MediLexicon is one of the largest databases of pharmaceutical and medical abbreviations and can help a lot to those dealing with medical and pharmaceutical translations.  
  • MedlinePlus is another free medical database, which includes information about medications and medical conditions from the US National Institute of Health. 
  • Multilingual Chemical Terminology by ECHA provides access to EU chemical terminology and regulations in 22 EU languages. The database contains over 1,200 entries.
  • TechTerms is especially for those dealing with different sorts of technical texts. You will find information about technical, Internet, hardware and software terms along with tech acronyms. 

Naturally, there are plenty of other glossaries and terminology databases that you can find online and use in your work as a translator. The British National Corpus and the Corpus of Contemporary American English, for example, are also very useful tools that can facilitate your work.   

The Best Terminology Blogs to Follow

Along with the interesting translation blogs, that you are probably already following, it is good to take note of a few terminology blogs that can facilitate your work.  

  • TermCoord. (Terminology Coordination of the European Parliament) is one of the best places to visit. In addition to a blog, the site has links to IATE, different interviews and publications along with traineeships and cooperation with universities. It also has a very useful tool called Glossary Links that allows you to search for a glossary in a range of categories and languages.  
  • Terminosophy by Besharat Fathi was one of the top 25 language blogs for 2017 and there is a solid reason for this decision. The aim of the blog is to present the function of terminology and how it relates to other domains of study. You can learn new terms, read interesting articles and follow the latest trends in terminology.  
  • Terminologia etc. by Licia Corbolante is a blog written in Italian. It reveals how terms are coined, explains about concept analysis and shows how terminology can be affected by linguistic and non-language-specific factors.
  • WordLo by Maria Pia Montoro is a blog written in English and Italian that focuses on terminology, neologisms and buzzwords. The site also offers useful information about the various terminology tools a translator can use.
  • SAP’s terminology blog by Mark Childress is a blog that is dedicated to terminology management at SAP, presenting different practical cases.

As translators we need to take advantage of all available resources that can help us do our job better and faster. That can be different apps, a better keyboard, discussions with peers in the social media or browsing through the various terminology resources that the web offers for us.

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