We have every reason to believe that the future is in the end of interactive systems which enable the sharing of tasks between men and computers. For the digital era offers to linguists, among others, a tremendous amount of time saved. Here is a review of the main online search tools one can use for translation purposes:
- Automatic translation tools (Systran, Google Traduction, Reverso, etc.).
- Monolingual or multilingual general dictionnaries (Wiktionary, Larousse, Académie française, Reverso, Collins, The Robert, WordReference, etc.).
- Multilingual specialized databases (Iate, Termium, Unterm, Thesaurus of UNESCO, private or insitutional websites, etc.).
- Encyclopedias (Britannica, Universalis, Agora, etc.).
- Websites with collections (British National Corpus, etc.).
- Online libraries (Google Books, National Library of France, Universities, etc.).
- Online classes (YouTube, MOOCs) and specialized websites.
The links on the left allow to review these different types of ressources while bringin forward their advantages and limits.
The first three tools are the most basic and used. They often prevent long searches to link an language to another and can be used as a starting point in a translation step. Yet, they are both a great help and a trap for any user not aware of the Internet limitations and of machines in general. In spite of all these easy-access ressources, the following elements can still be improved :
- Free and flexible tools : the most specialized, thorough and reliable tools often have to be paid for or don’t exist as a digital version. Books are too static for translators, among others, Cds are too old now or need to be updated, and interactive websites are expensive in the long term since you have to pay several times for the same data.
- Search efficiency : some data equire a subscription, which forces you to be connected to a system that may jeopardize or prolong its consultation.
- Reliability and visibility : private websites owned by specialists (experienced in a particular area) are very rare.
- Quality : many online tools are not updated, or worse (for an audience of professional linguists), not proofread regularly.