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Your German to English
Dictionary Guide

Great translation needs a great German to English dictionary!

Whether you’ re looking for an online dictionary  or a big paper dictionary to hold down/prop up your desk, a general, all-purpose dictionary or one on a specific subject area, the choice these days is simply staggering.

As ever, you tend to get what you pay for. There’s a lot of free information available online, some of mixed quality.

For most students, translators and lovers of German, a mixture of online sources and a traditional, hardback German to English dictionary or two will always be best solution.

So which ones will help you most?


1. A Classic German to English Dictionary

They may be a bit heavy, but if you’re in the slightest bit serious about studying German or working in translation, then there's no getting past the need for a traditional, hard copy, general German to English dictionary. 

I love both my Oxford Duden and my Collins dictionary.

These should be your basic reference and your minimum investment.

I’d also recommend a concise version for carrying to class or lectures.

Don’t forget – dictionaries fall under the heading of "deductible expenses" if you work as a translator!

Check out my recommendations....



2. Specialist German dictionaries

Most working translators specialize in a few subject areas - such as medical, legal or technical translation. They’ll usually invest in a few of the classic reference works in their field.

I’ve trawled the translator forums and put together a list of specialist English German dictionaries that get the thumbs up from translators active in those fields. Some of the price labels can be a bit scary, but second-hand copies are a good solution.

Check out my pick of the best...



3. An Online German to English Dictionary

As with so many things, the internet has totally transformed the translation business. If you only need to translate a few words then the internet provides unlimited online dictionary resources.

If you’re looking for a good free online dictionary then here's my recommended selection, as well as my cream of the crop, all time favorite, LEO!

You'll also want to refer to more specialized glossaries as soon as the subject matter of your German translations becomes more specialized.

Here are my favorite online sources...



4. Software & Electronic Dictionaries

You'll often hear about German dictionary software. Many major dictionary publishers now offer their dictionaries in electronic format - to install on your PC or download directly to a hand-held device such as an iPod. Kindle versions are also available so you can read your German novels and translate any unknown German words directly in the text as you go.

If you're constantly on the go, then you might find an electronic handheld dictionary helpful. They are more relevant to the traveler than the translator but, packed with dictionary and language-learning software, these little gems let you translate German wherever you are.

Check out my top favorites...



A Latin Dictionary?!

And don’t forget to brush up your Latin. (Latin?!)

You’d be amazed at how many German texts include short Latin phrases – but have no fear, this Latin English translation dictionary and tips on Latin translation will help!


Happy translating!

Joanna

German Translation Tips & Resources



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