Join almost 1 million
monthly
readers!

Contact Me

Coaching and Consultation

Language Hacking League!

Join over 50,000 people to get FREE weekly language hacking tips, cool links, site updates & two free chapters of the Language Hacking Guide!

No Spam. Not ever.

Current Mission:


Coach a monoglot in her first ever successful language learning mission! Learn more!

Previous post:

Next post:

Best free online dictionaries for translators and linguists

| 57 comments | Category: Tool and Resources, translation

dictSorry traditionalists, but printed dictionaries are on the way out! They are either too small to contain enough entries or too large for those of us that travel, as well as being too expensive. In the time it takes me to go get a big fat dictionary, and flick through the pages for a particular entry (which may not even be there), I could have looked up several words on several sites, and even read a bit of the Wikipedia article for the term, all through free online sites that are just as good or usually much better than their printed equivalents.

As a technical translator for technology-based documents, the concepts of most documents I translate didn’t even exist ten years ago, so a printed dictionary may already be out of date if I were to buy it for the ridiculously high prices that most of the best large dictionaries sell for nowadays…

So today I’m going to share several of my favourite free online dictionaries with you! Note that most of these are actually technical dictionaries (apart from Wordreference), so they may not be so useful for looking up basic words and would thus not suit beginner to intermediate learners. For legal, economic, medical, litherary, political, technological, financial, scientific, industrial etc. words, sometimes you need a more efficient solution than a general dictionary for finding the right translation.

If it’s a basic word, don’t forget my advice about using Google Image to see what it means without even needing a translation (presuming it’s not an abstract quality)! I’ve also discussed the use of online forums and special Google searches to clear any language doubts you may be having. However, if you need a good translation of a word in the right context and you don’t know it already, these are an excellent place to start!

Multilingual dictionaries

Most of these sites do not actually specialise in one language. Since they are mostly not even written by one company, but are open to the community for editing, they can be used for several languages. Don’t think of this as them “spreading themselves thin”, some of these have vast amounts of words in particular language combinations that would put several specialised large printed dictionaries to shame! Of course, you should always be a bit sceptical before committing to a translation, and try to confirm your translation on several dictionaries or online forums.

wikihingeWikipedia

Wikipedia is already well known as the free online encyclopedia, but did you know that it is also an essential tool for many translators? If you look up an entry on Wikipedia (and some on Wiktionary), it is very likely that the page has a frame on the left indicating several translations for that entry in other languages. You can read those entries in the other language if you wish, but sometimes the title of the entry is all you need; especially once you have confirmed that the entry you originally came to is in the right context (e.g. there are two main ways of looking at the English word “nail”; what is at the end of your fingers, and what you hit with a hammer, each with very different translations).

Of course, you need to go to the particular Wikipedia for the source language of the term you are looking up, rather than necessarily the English version. Wikipedia has over 100,000 individual entries in each of the 28 top languages, which can make it a very useful dictionary indeed! Overall, it is available in over 200 languages, and you can see the list of them here.

wordrefWordreference

Wordreference is my favourite dictionary for looking up simple words, concepts, expressions, and some grammatical doubts. I especially like it’s automatic suggestion as you type and it’s ability to conjugate (regular and irregular) verbs in a search (e.g. searching for quepa in Spanish will direct you to the verb caber, “to fit”, as well as tell you what conjugation quepa is of this verb and give a link to its full conjugation table). If the base dictionary doesn’t have the term you are looking for, unless it’s really obscure, it’s likely that someone else will have asked about it in the forums and there will be a link to that discussion for you to read. You can of course ask the question yourself if you sign up for a free account.

One advantage of this over some other simple dictionaries is that it usually has several entries on a single word if it can be translated in other ways, and would usually give at least a one word synonym as well as possibly an example sentence to suggest context. It can help for some technical terminology, but I usually avoid this dictionary if the word is technical. This dictionary is very good for Spanish, French and Italian (to/from English) since these options have been on the site for several years. It is less extensive, but is constantly improving for German, Russian, Portuguese, Polish, Romanian, Czech, Greek, Turkish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Arabic.

prozProz

The Proz term search results (using the Kudoz option) are provided entirely by translators who have spent time working on researching that particular term. It is excellent for more technical words, and all terminology is given in categories, and the term itself is almost always given in the sentence and context that is relevant to it. This is important for confidence, since one-word translations of words for all situations are actually not that common as I suggested above in the Wikipedia example. It has a huge amount of language options and you can ask a question yourself if you don’t find a satisfactory answer in the search.

Because nearly all of these solutions are given by professional translators, this dictionary is not useful for basic terminology that fluent speakers are presumed to know already. If your term contains several words, use quotation marks ” ” for that exact phrase, or plus signs + to include each word in no particular order. Just searching for all the words directly will give an “OR” result, which is not useful for set phrases.

iateIATE

The InterActive Terminology for Europe is a vast database of terminology applied in official public EU documents, covering many fields and all official EU languages. Depending on the word you wish to translate, this may be the most appropriate source. Example translations are given and you can search by category. This is quite technical, and not the best for more natural language.

mymemMyMemory

I have recently discovered MyMemory from translated.net, and I am quite impressed! It opens up Translation Memories from professional translators and makes them searchable. Like other sites mentioned here, it has many language combinations, and category relevant search options and is constantly updated.

Bilingual dictionaries

It’s harder to be general here, because there are so many languages to cover, and there may be very good dictionaries for any given language (to/from English). Ones that I have come across so far include Grand dictionnaire termilogique, Quebec’s officially promoted dictionary, which has saved me on occasion for French translations much more than some of those above. Once again, this is a dictionary for technical terminology.

For German you can use Leo, for Irish there’s focal.ie, Slovnik for Czech and many, many more! Instead of listing them all here, maybe you can help me and provide a link to your favourite online dictionary in the comments? :) Any experience with the sites that I’ve mentioned? Do share! In a later post, I’ll be coming back to how you can better use some of these dictionaries, so if you haven’t subscribed to this site yet, now is the best time :)

If you found this post interesting, please share it with your friends on Facebook, twitter, Stumbleupon or however else you like! :D

***********************

Enter your email in the top right of the site to subscribe to the Language Hacking League e-mail list for way more tips sent directly to your inbox!

If you enjoyed this post, you will love my TEDx talk! You can get much better details of how I recommend learning a language if you watch it here.

This article was written by

Comments: If you liked this post or have anything to say, please leave a comment! I love reading them :)
Just keep in mind that I’ll delete any rude, trolling, spammy, irrelevant or way off-topic comments. Also, use your REAL name, not a brand or business one, and don’t link to your site in the comments unless it’s relevant to this post.
If you have a general language learning question, please ask it in the forums. Otherwise please use the search tool on the right for any other question not related to this post.

———————————–

  • http://molista.blogspot.com/ Glavkos

    Hey Benny , once again execellent tips from you…I am very happy about the fact that you never get tired dude.
    My humble presence would add
    http://slovari.yandex.ru/ wich is both dictionary and encyclopedia, for those who are trying to learn russian.
    Something similar exists for every language , i suppose…

    Congratulations , once again …

  • http://molista.blogspot.com/ Glavkos

    Hey Benny , once again execellent tips from you…I am very happy about the fact that you never get tired dude.
    My humble presence would add
    http://slovari.yandex.ru/ wich is both dictionary and encyclopedia, for those who are trying to learn russian.
    Something similar exists for every language , i suppose…

    Congratulations , once again …

  • http://ichestudiolangues.tumblr.com/ Jessica

    Just a quick question, sorry if this is the wrong place to ask or if it has been answered before, but what languages do you translate from? Just curious! :)
    Thanks for another helpful post, good luck with your current endeavour!
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..new blog! =-.

  • http://ichestudiolangues.tumblr.com Jessica

    Just a quick question, sorry if this is the wrong place to ask or if it has been answered before, but what languages do you translate from? Just curious! :)
    Thanks for another helpful post, good luck with your current endeavour!
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..new blog! =-.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ benny

    @Glavkos Thanks for the link. I’m sure I’ll use it when I get around to Russian ;)
    @Jessica The choice of languages I work from is a combination of general demand and my abilities. I’d say a good 80% of my work is from French, because I have the most experience as an Electronic Engineer working in this language, and the engineering industry in France is much stronger compared to that of other countries whose languages I can work with, and thus, there is much more work available to translate. I have several separate outsourcers (i.e. those who look for direct clients for me and charge a small percentage fee) who send me work originally in French.
    Next is Spanish; my best language. There is a good electronic engineering in Spain, but not as strong as in France. Probably 15% of my work is from Spanish. I just have one client for Spanish and get along very well with them.
    Finally nearly all the rest is from Italian. My Italian is not excellent so I only accept a very very small range of documents that I’d be extremely familiar with. All of my translations for each language were initially proofread by other translators before taking me on, so I know it’s good enough. The electronic engineering industry in Italy is definitely not strong, so all of that work comes from one client, who is actually German! Experience has taught me that working with Italians is possibly the most unpleasant professional experience possible so I won’t be focussing much on expanding on that.
    I’ve also translated some Portuguese, but that is rare because Portugal simply doesn’t have that many documents in my fields for there to be much demand. All of my work comes from Europe. I don’t lose out on exchange rates since my Irish bank operates in Euro, and the bureaucracy and consistent responsiveness times each day is convenient. Brazil has a good electronics industry, but unfortunately I’d be too expensive when quoting in Brazilian reais rather than Euro. I’d like to work more in Spanish and Portuguese if possible, but for the moment have a good balance. I don’t think I’ll translate from any other languages professionally for quite some time; we’ll see how these language missions go!! ;)
    Hope that answers your question!! Very glad you are enjoying my site. Thanks for the RT btw :)

    • http://ichestudiolangues.wordpress.com/ Jessica

      Yup, it did answer my question, thanks! :)
      .-= Jessica´s last blog ..Kühlschrank Poesie =-.

    • Lorenzo

      Tell me Benny, when you say that working with Italian is perhapes the most unpleasant professional experience possible, is it a general statement or does it actually apply to a particular professional field only (in your case electronical engineering and possibly professional translation)? Please feel free to answer my question in all sincerity, I won’t get hurt – quite on the contrary. In fact, I’m pretty sure that your views and experiences will confirm and reinforce my impressions and opinions on this topic!

      • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ benny

        Lorenzo. I absolutely love Italians and will always go back to Italy whenever I can, and meet Italians in my travels and speak that beautiful language whenever possible :) And I love so many things about Italy and the culture in each of Italy’s states; it’s one of my favourite countries in the world!
        HOWEVER, it is one of my least favourite countries in the world for working in. I have had a total of 3 jobs in Italy, so it’s hardly enough to make generalisations, but each one of them has been among the worst I’ve had in my life (and I’ve had loads), and it had nothing to do with the actual work that I was doing.
        My bosses treated me unfairly, exploited me, paid me much much less than was fair considering the money the business and they were earning, and the combination of bureaucracy and corruption was mind-boggling. I will definitely return to Italy to live in for a few more months or longer, but if it wasn’t for having an Internet-based job, that would simply not be an option. I’m sure there are plenty of exceptions and fair bosses in Italy, but I’m afraid that this may not be true for the majority.
        A lot of Italians agree with me on these points and I can tell you probably would too. It’s very sad, because I otherwise love the country and the people.

      • Lorenzo

        Sorry I meant “working with Italians” (the people) not “with Italian” (the language)

        • Lorenzo

          Dear Benny, thank you very much for your interesting reply. Your account sounds absolutely realistic and I know for sure that you’re telling the plain truth. Indeed, after working for over six years in this country and attending numerous job interviews as well as hearing about other people’s experiences in the working world I’ve simply got fed up with Italy and its hopeless labor market, and would love to move abroad for work (in fact, I came very close to achieving this goal in October last year when I had a job interview in Brussels for a job with EPSO – the EU’s Personnel Selection Office). By the way, you forgot to mention nepotism among the main factors which make Italy such an unpleasant country to work in: as a matter of fact, connections are almost all that matters in my homeland when it comes to finding a decent job – or even any job at all! Indeed, this is as serious a problem as corruption – and probably an even more difficult one to eradicate. So here is my friendly advice to all of you: avoid working for Italian employers and Italian businesses as far as possible!

          • http://www.pondjumperscroatia.com/ Pond Jumpers:Croatia

            I feel like the above comments could’ve been written about Croatia. I know a few people who have worked in Croatia and Italy, and they say Croatia is like Italy’s horrible work environment X 2. Croatia is a fabulous place to visit, but working is an entire other ball game. So, when you think about how bad Italy’s work environment can be, just be happy you aren’t working on the other side of the sea.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com benny

    @Glavkos Thanks for the link. I’m sure I’ll use it when I get around to Russian ;)
    @Jessica The choice of languages I work from is a combination of general demand and my abilities. I’d say a good 80% of my work is from French, because I have the most experience as an Electronic Engineer working in this language, and the engineering industry in France is much stronger compared to that of other countries whose languages I can work with, and thus, there is much more work available to translate. I have several separate outsourcers (i.e. those who look for direct clients for me and charge a small percentage fee) who send me work originally in French.
    Next is Spanish; my best language. There is a good electronic engineering in Spain, but not as strong as in France. Probably 15% of my work is from Spanish. I just have one client for Spanish and get along very well with them.
    Finally nearly all the rest is from Italian. My Italian is not excellent so I only accept a very very small range of documents that I’d be extremely familiar with. All of my translations for each language were initially proofread by other translators before taking me on, so I know it’s good enough. The electronic engineering industry in Italy is definitely not strong, so all of that work comes from one client, who is actually German! Experience has taught me that working with Italians is possibly the most unpleasant professional experience possible so I won’t be focussing much on expanding on that.
    I’ve also translated some Portuguese, but that is rare because Portugal simply doesn’t have that many documents in my fields for there to be much demand. All of my work comes from Europe. I don’t lose out on exchange rates since my Irish bank operates in Euro, and the bureaucracy and consistent responsiveness times each day is convenient. Brazil has a good electronics industry, but unfortunately I’d be too expensive when quoting in Brazilian reais rather than Euro. I’d like to work more in Spanish and Portuguese if possible, but for the moment have a good balance. I don’t think I’ll translate from any other languages professionally for quite some time; we’ll see how these language missions go!! ;)
    Hope that answers your question!! Very glad you are enjoying my site. Thanks for the RT btw :)

    • http://ichestudiolangues.wordpress.com Jessica

      Yup, it did answer my question, thanks! :)
      .-= Jessica´s last blog ..Kühlschrank Poesie =-.

    • Lorenzo

      Tell me Benny, when you say that working with Italian is perhapes the most unpleasant professional experience possible, is it a general statement or does it actually apply to a particular professional field only (in your case electronical engineering and possibly professional translation)? Please feel free to answer my question in all sincerity, I won’t get hurt – quite on the contrary. In fact, I’m pretty sure that your views and experiences will confirm and reinforce my impressions and opinions on this topic!

      • http://www.fluentin3months.com benny

        Lorenzo. I absolutely love Italians and will always go back to Italy whenever I can, and meet Italians in my travels and speak that beautiful language whenever possible :) And I love so many things about Italy and the culture in each of Italy’s states; it’s one of my favourite countries in the world!
        HOWEVER, it is one of my least favourite countries in the world for working in. I have had a total of 3 jobs in Italy, so it’s hardly enough to make generalisations, but each one of them has been among the worst I’ve had in my life (and I’ve had loads), and it had nothing to do with the actual work that I was doing.
        My bosses treated me unfairly, exploited me, paid me much much less than was fair considering the money the business and they were earning, and the combination of bureaucracy and corruption was mind-boggling. I will definitely return to Italy to live in for a few more months or longer, but if it wasn’t for having an Internet-based job, that would simply not be an option. I’m sure there are plenty of exceptions and fair bosses in Italy, but I’m afraid that this may not be true for the majority.
        A lot of Italians agree with me on these points and I can tell you probably would too. It’s very sad, because I otherwise love the country and the people.

      • Lorenzo

        Sorry I meant “working with Italians” (the people) not “with Italian” (the language)

        • Lorenzo

          Dear Benny, thank you very much for your interesting reply. Your account sounds absolutely realistic and I know for sure that you’re telling the plain truth. Indeed, after working for over six years in this country and attending numerous job interviews as well as hearing about other people’s experiences in the working world I’ve simply got fed up with Italy and its hopeless labor market, and would love to move abroad for work (in fact, I came very close to achieving this goal in October last year when I had a job interview in Brussels for a job with EPSO – the EU’s Personnel Selection Office). By the way, you forgot to mention nepotism among the main factors which make Italy such an unpleasant country to work in: as a matter of fact, connections are almost all that matters in my homeland when it comes to finding a decent job – or even any job at all! Indeed, this is as serious a problem as corruption – and probably an even more difficult one to eradicate. So here is my friendly advice to all of you: avoid working for Italian employers and Italian businesses as far as possible!

          • http://www.pondjumperscroatia.com Pond Jumpers:Croatia

            I feel like the above comments could’ve been written about Croatia. I know a few people who have worked in Croatia and Italy, and they say Croatia is like Italy’s horrible work environment X 2. Croatia is a fabulous place to visit, but working is an entire other ball game. So, when you think about how bad Italy’s work environment can be, just be happy you aren’t working on the other side of the sea.

  • John

    Benny, IMHO the best French dictionary is this one: http://www.cnrtl.fr/definition/

  • John

    Benny, IMHO the best French dictionary is this one: http://www.cnrtl.fr/definition/

  • http://unterpalmen.wordpress.com/ Daniel

    For translating from German to English (and vice versa) I prefer http://dict.cc. It seems that it contains a larger database of words than http://dict.leo.org and it’s also build like wikipedia (people can enter words and rate the correctness). A big plus: You can download the whole dictionary for free (~30MB) and use it offline (in case you’re stuck in a place without Internet acess…).

    Does anyone know any other dictionaries of this user-generated type?

  • http://unterpalmen.wordpress.com/ Daniel

    For translating from German to English (and vice versa) I prefer http://dict.cc. It seems that it contains a larger database of words than http://dict.leo.org and it’s also build like wikipedia (people can enter words and rate the correctness). A big plus: You can download the whole dictionary for free (~30MB) and use it offline (in case you’re stuck in a place without Internet acess…).

    Does anyone know any other dictionaries of this user-generated type?

  • Joti

    A monolingual English dictionairy I love is http://www.wordnik.com/

    it collects definitions from the web along with some other info. I think the mulitlingual dictionairies I use most are already mentioned.

  • Joti

    A monolingual English dictionairy I love is http://www.wordnik.com/

    it collects definitions from the web along with some other info. I think the mulitlingual dictionairies I use most are already mentioned.

  • Stefan

    Unfortunately there is no extensive german-korean dictionary on the web yet, so I stick to english-korean and korean-korean. I wish, there’d be a site like leo.org for german-korean, and of course, I’d like to have it’s content free (unlike leo).

    Here are links to korean online-dictionaries (korean-english, korean-japanese, korean-chinese, korean-korean, medical terms, technical terms, …):
    http://dic.naver.com/
    http://alldic.daum.net/
    http://alldic.nate.com/

  • Stefan

    Unfortunately there is no extensive german-korean dictionary on the web yet, so I stick to english-korean and korean-korean. I wish, there’d be a site like leo.org for german-korean, and of course, I’d like to have it’s content free (unlike leo).

    Here are links to korean online-dictionaries (korean-english, korean-japanese, korean-chinese, korean-korean, medical terms, technical terms, …):
    http://dic.naver.com/
    http://alldic.daum.net/
    http://alldic.nate.com/

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ benny

    Thanks for all of those links everyone! Keep ‘em coming :)

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com benny

    Thanks for all of those links everyone! Keep ‘em coming :)

  • Carine

    Hi Benny,
    Il like http://www.lexilogos.com/ which provides links to resources in a wide range of languages.

    Thanks for the very useful info, as usual !

  • Carine

    Hi Benny,
    Il like http://www.lexilogos.com/ which provides links to resources in a wide range of languages.

    Thanks for the very useful info, as usual !

  • Johano

    I like the Ting dictionary for Mandarin, as it gives recordings of native speakers pronouncing many words, phrases and sentences. (There are undoubtedly other good Chinese resources.)

  • Johano

    I like the Ting dictionary for Mandarin, as it gives recordings of native speakers pronouncing many words, phrases and sentences. (There are undoubtedly other good Chinese resources.)

  • http://www.pondjumperscroatia.com/ Pond Jumpers:Croatia

    Great resources. I will definitely be saving them. I just wish there were more available resources for Croatian.
    .-= Pond Jumpers:Croatia´s last blog ..we just have to laugh (if we aren’t crying) =-.

  • http://www.pondjumperscroatia.com Pond Jumpers:Croatia

    Great resources. I will definitely be saving them. I just wish there were more available resources for Croatian.
    .-= Pond Jumpers:Croatia´s last blog ..we just have to laugh (if we aren’t crying) =-.

  • Cainntear

    “Of course, you should always be a bit sceptical before committing to a translation, and try to confirm your translation on several dictionaries or online forums.”

    You should always be *very* sceptical. I’ve seen online free dictionaries making many of the classic mistakes (usually of the “false friend” variety).

    Sadly, checking on multiple forums isn’t much use, because there’s a certain amount of intellectual incest on the internet, with source A citing source B and source B citing source C, which in turn cites source A.

    Dictionaries are expensive because they take a lot of work to make.

    Dictionaries cost more to make now than ever because they do, as you said, go out of date very quickly. This means that you’ve got less time to make your money back, so you have to sell for more.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ benny

      You should indeed be VERY sceptical when it’s a professional translation. But most people who read my blogs are casual linguists so getting a “gist” may be enough for them :)
      You are right that the dictionaries cost lots of money for a good reason, but I still think open source dictionaries are the way forward. You learn based on the translators weight in the community (in Proz) or the number of agreements on the translation (in MyMemory) etc. that there is a “good chance” that you have found the right translation. These systems can only improve with time :)
      Most translators are right to use printed dictionaries, but this is not practical for me since I travel a lot and weight and space is an issue. I usually triple or quadruple check a translation I’m not sure about through various online sources before sticking with it.

      • Cainntear

        They can only get better? I disagree. I’ve seen several examples of erroneous facts (in all domains, not just language) emerging on a website and slowly being replicated across the internet without an audit trail to allow anyone to unpick and correct them. Wikipedia and Wiktionary are two prime culprits.

        The longer the false fact circulates, the worse it gets, so it “getting better” is not guaranteed.

  • Cainntear

    “Of course, you should always be a bit sceptical before committing to a translation, and try to confirm your translation on several dictionaries or online forums.”

    You should always be *very* sceptical. I’ve seen online free dictionaries making many of the classic mistakes (usually of the “false friend” variety).

    Sadly, checking on multiple forums isn’t much use, because there’s a certain amount of intellectual incest on the internet, with source A citing source B and source B citing source C, which in turn cites source A.

    Dictionaries are expensive because they take a lot of work to make.

    Dictionaries cost more to make now than ever because they do, as you said, go out of date very quickly. This means that you’ve got less time to make your money back, so you have to sell for more.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com benny

      You should indeed be VERY sceptical when it’s a professional translation. But most people who read my blogs are casual linguists so getting a “gist” may be enough for them :)
      You are right that the dictionaries cost lots of money for a good reason, but I still think open source dictionaries are the way forward. You learn based on the translators weight in the community (in Proz) or the number of agreements on the translation (in MyMemory) etc. that there is a “good chance” that you have found the right translation. These systems can only improve with time :)
      Most translators are right to use printed dictionaries, but this is not practical for me since I travel a lot and weight and space is an issue. I usually triple or quadruple check a translation I’m not sure about through various online sources before sticking with it.

      • Cainntear

        They can only get better? I disagree. I’ve seen several examples of erroneous facts (in all domains, not just language) emerging on a website and slowly being replicated across the internet without an audit trail to allow anyone to unpick and correct them. Wikipedia and Wiktionary are two prime culprits.

        The longer the false fact circulates, the worse it gets, so it “getting better” is not guaranteed.

  • Patk

    I like dict.cc too. For English learners, It’s useful even if you don’t know German: you can listen to audio recording of expressions.
    And I think that they are adding new language pairs besides English-German.

  • Patk

    I like dict.cc too. For English learners, It’s useful even if you don’t know German: you can listen to audio recording of expressions.
    And I think that they are adding new language pairs besides English-German.

  • Ed

    For English speakers trying to learn Mandarin Chinese, I would suggest nciku.com . The feature I especially like is a free-drawing function that allows you to draw a character you don’t know in order to look it up (rather than looking through dozens of pages of characters). Very helpful, especially if you don’t know if the character is traditional or simplified.

  • Ed

    For English speakers trying to learn Mandarin Chinese, I would suggest nciku.com . The feature I especially like is a free-drawing function that allows you to draw a character you don’t know in order to look it up (rather than looking through dozens of pages of characters). Very helpful, especially if you don’t know if the character is traditional or simplified.

  • http://pocketcultures.com/ Liz

    Very useful post.

    I found this site to be very useful for specialist technical vocab (especially electrical). It has a lot of definitions that don’t appear in the regular dictionaries.

    http://std.iec.ch/iev/iev.nsf/2decad0ea7d70589c12574490032b74e?OpenForm

    I’ve only used the French so far but there seems to be a good range of other languages too.
    .-= Liz´s last blog ..Immigrants: Citizens of the World =-.

  • http://pocketcultures.com Liz

    Very useful post.

    I found this site to be very useful for specialist technical vocab (especially electrical). It has a lot of definitions that don’t appear in the regular dictionaries.

    http://std.iec.ch/iev/iev.nsf/2decad0ea7d70589c12574490032b74e?OpenForm

    I’ve only used the French so far but there seems to be a good range of other languages too.
    .-= Liz´s last blog ..Immigrants: Citizens of the World =-.

  • Sascha

    I found this site useful for the German-English translation of Legal English terms based on Swiss law http://www.swisslegalenglish.com since it has many terms which other dictionaries like leo or dict.cc do not list.

  • Sascha

    I found this site useful for the German-English translation of Legal English terms based on Swiss law http://www.swisslegalenglish.com since it has many terms which other dictionaries like leo or dict.cc do not list.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/bogor Dilasari

    Thanks for sharing such informative post. It's very useful for me who still has to use dictionaries frequently during my blogging process. Best wishes to you.

  • bathmateus

    I loved your posting.
    Bathmate

  • bathmateus

    Wow it’s nice posting, I like it.
    Bathmate

  • http://eldonreeves.wordpress.com/ Eldon

    Cantonese-English dictionary: http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk/dictionary/ a very rare commodity :)

  • Tore

    Best for English-Japanese-English:
    http://www.alc.co.jp/

  • Daniel N.

    http://dict.tu-chemnitz.de is also a very good German-X dictionary (X = English, Spanish, Portuguese)

  • http://twitter.com/wanderingpup Jon Stevenson

    Saluton, Benny! Jen estas du bonegaj vortaroj por esperanto:

    La Reta Vortaro: http://reta-vortaro.de/revo/
    Esperanto-Panorama’s Esperanta-Angla Vortaro: http://www.esperanto-panorama.net/vortaro/eoen.htm

    La TTT-ejo de Bertilo estas bona ankaŭ: http://www.bertilow.com/index.html

    Ĝis!
    Johano

  • http://twitter.com/globetrottertex Globetrotting Texan

    Thank you for this post. It comes in handy for the other globetrotting freelance translators out there!

  • Eva Solache

    Hello Benny, I whatched your Ted Talk and I totally agree with your opinion about learning lenguages, I’ve been learning english for one year, my level english is not perfect but I’ts much better than before it was. I use internet for learning english every day.

    I prepare prepare the test DELF (B2) .

    Your tips are very useful for me