Diccionario de la lengua española:

Diccionario de la lengua española:

Nowadays with the extended and massive use of the web, it is rather easy to find a good dictionary online that you can trust. Although there are actually very good and useful translators in the web, sometimes our choice must be defined by our needs.

Unlike many other translators, the Diccionario de la lengua española is the online version of the official and updated dictionary of the Real Academia Española. So, we should not expect a wide range of languages to choose from nor a variety of options. This precise tool is exactly what it claims to be, the best and only oficial web resource to trust when we are looking for the exact and correct form of a word. So this is, of course, just a one way spanish dictionary.

Its use is simple, we just have to go to www.rae.es and fill the first field that appears in the home screen, the one labelled with the name of the dictionary. Once we have typed the word we are willing to search, we press enter or we click the arrow in the right hand side of the search field.

Once we have done the search we will be shown the exact definition of the word, as well as its different meaning ranging in relevance from higher to lower. In the same line of every meaning, we find the morphological category of the word. In some cases we might as well find explanatory abbreviations that will help us understand the use normally given to the word or information such as the country or region where that exact meaning of the word is used.

In the image below we can see an example of a word with different meanings and how the dictionary efficiently manages to show details and explanations about the category of the words and the contexts and expressions it is more commonly used with. After all the definitions and meanings, we can find other term entries for the compound words containing the word in the search. Some of this terms can refer to technical terminology and will always be explained by an abbreviation related to the field of study where we will find such meaning.

Here are some of the abbreviations used in this entry that will help us get a global idea of the criteria used in the dictionary:

-adj. stands for adjetivo. (adjective).

-m. stands for nombre masculine (masculine noun).

-Coloq. stands for colloquial (colloquial).

-Guat. Stands for Guatemala.

-U.t.c.s. stands for usado también como sustantivo (also used as a noun).

-Arq. stands for Arquitectura (architecture).

-Anat. stands for Anatomía (anatomy).

-loc.verb. stands for locución verbal (verb phrase).

Once we have used it for a while we can easily find out that this dictionary is the best available for Spanish definitions, not merely as it is the only official one, but also because they have managed to make a reliable online version without disregarding the details found in the paper volumes. Moreover, with this dictionary we will also be able to find the most determinant information about every term we search, and find the meaning of each abbreviation included in the description by just pointing it.

To sum up we must point out that is a powerful search engine that provides the best reference in the web for any Spanish word and all the meanings accepted by the official institution RAE. The adaptation of the volumes and the new rules make it a perfect solution for those who seek the most updated material in Spanish and they want to be meticulous.

By using this online dictionary we can be sure that every result of our searches has been studied for along time by some of the best scholars. And that not only means accuracy but also durability.

This dictionary is enough technical and yet simple to fit almost everyone’s needs; from casual readers to professional researchers.


Google Translate:

When we refer to Google, we instantly think about the most popular, fast and powerful search engine on the web. Although Google’s finest and most successful service to date is actually their search engine, the company is moving forward to offer other high quality services based on the web.

Their translator has now become not just the most popular worldwide, but also a reference in terms of mainstream translation and language resources. Google Translate can translate any kind of text (including websites) into a huge variety of languages.

Apparently the success of this translator is the massive amount of words that it can handle. It is based on statistics and the main corpus of the system is based on more than a billion words. Today, the Google Translate service offers a variety of 52 languages to choose from.

To start translating a text we only have to use the intuitive user interface where we can type or paste the text we want to be translated and choose the language it is written in and the language we want the text to be translated to.  We can also import a document straight from our computer or external memory device. To do so, we must click on the “translate a document” option right below the text field.

After having used it in various occasions we will for sure be convinced about its simplicity of use, and that is exactly what it is: a simple and very powerful online free translation tool. But we cannot expect this online translator to function as professional human. It is an automatic translator and with a few minutes of use we can easily identify that.

For example I have noticed that small texts give better translation results than larger ones. Also, paragraphs with smaller clauses and well structured ones. In very long texts it would be useful to divide the text into various portions in order to get better final results. Sometimes the translator will not be able to distinguish between prepositions or pronouns that can only be used in certain ways in the original language for the text.

As we can see in the image below as an example, the accuracy of the translator is simply incredible, but of course the result is not perfect and it lacks grammaticality.

These are some of the problems that I have come across:

Punctuation: The so common use of the coma in Spanish, is often a problem when translating into English. One of the first things we can perceive when translating particularly long pieces, is that the wrong and useless use of the comas in the final English version makes the result artificial in form. The use of dashes is also a recurrent mistake by the translator.

Verbs and Nouns: Some nouns that in English can be used as non inflected forms of a verb, are usually translated as nouns into Spanish and viceversa.

Compound words: The Google translator has definitely problems when translating words that come together as a single unit. It tends to change the meaning of the word when translating from English into Spanish and usually translates the compounds as separate words when the translation is into Spanish.

Determiners: The translator usually lacks the use of determiners  when translating from English to Spanish. This is often related to clauses where names are the subjects. Also, the translator fails when at differentiating between the Spanish “de” and “del”.

We must point out that the most common errors with prepositions have been solved almost completely.

Honestly, I think we are in front of the best free translator available now. It offers not just a very good way to approach the first draft of a translation, but also the usefulness of such a fast service powered by Google. It is certainly impressive.

Slang Site:

When we are learning a language one of the problems we come across when we want to practice and test our fluency in a native speaker context, it is common that the speakers of the language we are learning usually use terms that we do not know. Some will be words that will not appear in a normal dictionary as they are part of the cultural or regional slang.

In English, slang words are not always offensive or inappropriate, sometimes they are just words that are only used in certain areas, or very specific words that are usually created to refer to cultural items.

Now, we have tools to identify those words and understand their meanings. In www.slangsite.com we can find a very useful list of terms that are used in common slang English. The site is specially recommended for those looking for words used in the UK English varieties.

The quality of the references found in this dictionary is simply amazing. You can find very common words and also terms that are used just in specific areas.

The user interface is pretty uncomfortable as it lack a search engine, but we can browse the words by their initial letter. Probably, this is not the smartest way to look up for words, but it is certainly worth it. The asthetic and the colours of the site at least, are suitable for reading.

Here are a couple of captions to see how it is structured and how it looks like:

In the caption right above we can see a definition of the verb “to mither”. This particular example shows how incredibly precise this resource is. From my experience I can tell that this is such a particular word from the Yorkshire dialects that not many people know, not even in the UK. Below “mithering” we can also find the acronym “MITIN”.

The reference to acronyms of new use is one of the main features of this dictionary as it does not only provide a meaning and the actual words it stands for, but it also gives examples of its use.

To conclude, we must claim that this is not the most smart or powerful online resource to look up words, but it is certainly an amazing dictionary with thousands of entries based on real slang words and examples of their use. There is undoubtedly a lot of work behind this tool.