Who doesn’t know WordReference.com? It has become so widely used that I risk repetition by featuring it here. But I still remember back to the BWR period of my life (« before Word Reference »), so for any readers who find themselves in that situation, let me introduce to you a multi-lingual dictionary that is simply the best.

It’s nothing much to look at, but don’t let appearances deceive you. It’s a powerful and very reliable online dictionary full of useful features for translation:

  • 14 English to another language pairs (Spanish, French, Italian, German, Russian, Portuguese, Polish, Romanian, Czech, Greek, Turkish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and soon Arabic)
  • 5 « to English » pairs (Spanish, French, Italian, German, Russian)
  • other combinations including Spanish to French and Portuguese, French and Portuguese to Spanish.
  • monolingual dictionaries (English, Spanish),  synonym dictionaries and conjugation tables.
  • plugins for Firefox and widgets for your blog.
  • accessible for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

But the feature that keeps me coming back is the forums. When you search for a word, not only do you get a detailed list of usages, audio pronunciation and compound forms, but you also get links to questions that have been posted in the forums relating to how to translate the term. Every translator knows the frustration of looking up a word and not finding a translation that fits. The WordReference community has become so huge that there is a very good chance that someone has already come across the same problem, and may have posted a question about it. Translation dictionaries are valuable tools but can never replace native speaker instinct, which is why the human contact available in the forums of WordReference is so valuable.

There are many online dictionaries available, but I haven’t felt the need to look further than WordReference. What about you – do you have a favourite free online translation tool? Tell us about it in the comments.

photo credit: jovike cc

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4 Commentaires

  1. sesa-Reply
    2 avril 2009 à 8 h 56 min

    имам въпросче: Как да го подкарам английски->български,че нещо не намирам опцията.
    благодаря 🙂

    • 2 avril 2009 à 10 h 01 min

      Wow – this is the first time I’ve ever had a comment in Bulgarian!! Thanks for your contribution. If I have understood you correctly, you are asking whether WordReference.com has an English-English dictionary option. On the « Enter a word » window on the main page, you can select the option « English Only » at the bottom of the list. However, I feel that WordReference is best used as a multilingual dictionary. The English definitions are not very detailed, and the format is not very easy to use. There are many other options for English-English dictionaries. The one I use most often is the Cambridge Advanced Learners Online Dictionary.. Hope that helps, and thanks again for your visit.

  2. Ricardo-Reply
    2 avril 2009 à 18 h 20 min

    Simon,

    Great article, thanks! I’ve used WordReference and it is very good, but I’ve found that for Spanish translations, and synonyms, the best dictionary out there online is Word Magic’s. You can go to their dictionary using this link:

    http://www.wordmagicsoft.com/dictionary

    I hope this helps…

    Ricardo

  3. 29 septembre 2012 à 10 h 08 min

    Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve visited this blog before but after going through some of the posts I realized it’s new
    to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely pleased I found it and I’ll
    be book-marking it and checking back frequently!

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