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Your Online German Dictionary Guide!

Stop looking - bookmark my top 6 online German dictionary choices!

It’s easy to find an online German dictionary – the internet abounds with them!

If you don’t find the answer to your translation query using the LEO German English online dictionary (my personal favorite), then try one of the ones listed below.

And don't forget to bookmark this page and keep all these free online German dictionaries at your fingertips!

Which ones are best? Each has strengthens and weaknesses, depending upon the nature of their contributors and the sources used for their entries.

This is my list of the free online dictionaries I think are worth using in my - purely personal - order of preference:

1. Beolingus

This is an online dictionary project run by the Chemnitz University of Technology since 1995. Beolingus currently offers over 562,000 word translations for the language pair German English, plus around 320,000 English words definitions.

Great features include the over 1 million German English sample sentences provided by the Goethe Institute and the DGT multilingual translation memory belonging to the EU, giving you examples of how a word is used in a variety of contexts.

There are also word lists for special topics, 60,000 German synonyms (OpenThesaurus project) as well as quotes and aphorisms (Linux fortune).

I also really like the automatic conversion tables for physical units (Tool bar: conversion) – really useful, even for non-translation activities such as converting American gallons into British pints!

This online German dictionary also offers the language pairs German-Portugese and German-Spanish, and is funded by donations.

You can also add Beolingus as a search engine to your web browser, a great addition for the busy translator!

2. Dict.cc

The Dict.cc online German dictionary uses as its source Beolingus vocabulary plus Mr Honey’s Business English Dictionary and user input, and boasts a total of 600,000 entries.

Dict.cc aims to become a platform for users worldwide to swop their translation knowledge – anyone can submit translation suggestions and check, correct and approve submissions made by others.

Dict.cc also offers a users’ forum for submitting translation queries, plus vocab lists submitted by users which you can call up – useful if you need to focus on a particular subject, e.g. chemistry. Unfortunately the user interface for the forum and vocab lists is only in German.

It's offline dictionary app fo riPad/iPhone and Android also gets great reviews, and you can also download their free toolbar to your browser.

To be honest, it's a really hard to choose between Leo, Beolingus and dict.cc, and I regularly use them all.

3. QuickDic.de

QuickDic.de is an free online German dictionary offering over 300,000 words and idioms in each of the two languages English and German. Amongst others, its uses Mr Honey’s Business English Dictionary as a source - which Beolingus also uses (if you’ve read this far you’ll understand that there are a limited number of sources from which each online German dictionary can draw!)

QuickDic also allows (and encourages) you to download its translation databank to your computer free of charge, providing you with your own electronic dictionary. You’ll need Microsoft Windows 2000/XP/Vista plus 20MB of uncompressed space on your hard drive.

4. PONSline

PONSline is a free online German dictionary run by PONS, a well-known German publisher of dictionaries and language learning materials. The online dictionary is naturally a lead-in, encouraging you to buy their offline products.

There is an online forum, but the dictionary is not designed around forum use, which makes it less active than LEO, for example.

TIP! Translation is all about context - if you have no luck with one of these online German dictionaries, try this great online German translation resource, which shows how the term you need is used in different contexts. 

5. Collins online dictionary

Collins German dictionary is a newer addition to the free online dictionary crowd. Published by Collins, you can be sure the terminology base is solid.

Now I don't know how extensive the dictionary is - when you start typing in a German term it automatically offers a drop down list of words it thinks you might be about to ask for.

As the words it presents are only vaguely related to your term, it suggests that the database isn't very extensive. Why should it be? I think this online version is provided as a lead-in; Collins would far prefer you buy their hardback dictionaries! Personally, I find the Beolingus and dict.cc preferable.

But as ever, the choice is yours!

6. Odge.info

The free dictionary odge.info is a German English dictionary with 210,000 German words and their translations. So automatically not as good as the ones listed above.

The German version of the site used to offer a users forum for discussion about particular German English and English German translations, as well as translation in general. This seems to have gone (link inactive), so I wouldn't be surprised if the whole site disappeared when its advertising revenue falls away.

In the meantime, happy translating with your chosen online German dictionary!

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