Part 4 – The secret power of search engines

(This post is going to refer to Google specifically because Google is still the search engine I use the most and the search engine I know best but I’m sure you will be able to apply the tips you read here to your favourite search engine too.)

We’re all familiar with search engines these days and how to use them but are you using them effectively and getting the most out of them for translation purposes? Here are a few tips and tricks. Perhaps one of two of them will be new to you. And if you have any tips or tricks of your own you’d like to share, please post them below!

Finding authentic documents

In the Advanced Search Window of Google you can set the search parameters to find documents in PDF format only. These documents may be more useful to you and more reliable than the templates we often otherwise first come across online. Authentic documents are a good place to check how terminology is used in equivalent documents in the target language and a good place to look for collocations and turns of phrase. The quickest way to set the file type is to type “filetype:PDF” into the search box along with your search term.

Finding a term on a specific website

If you have a term which you know you can find on a multilingual website, you can get straight to that term on the multilingual Website by entering your term along with “site:” followed by the URL you are interested in into the search box.

Finding a term on a specific language or country-specific website

If you are translating a document into British English and you want to ensure that your hit list brings up British websites only, you can type: “” into the search box along with your term.

Field of translation

Do you automatically add the field of translation when you are searching for a term? Many terms are used across different fields. You can save time and search more efficiently by adding the field to your first search, i.e. “Abgrenzungsvereinbarung” Markenrecht. Also try typing the term in the source language and the field in the target language.

Do you know part of the translation?

Translating from German into English I often find that I know exactly how to translate part of a very long compound noun. If you type the source language term along with the parts of the target language term you already know into the search box, you will often come up with the correct or at least a suggested term which may help you to find the actual term you are looking for.

Do spend some time clicking through the advanced search settings to see what else search engines can do for you.


5 thoughts on “Part 4 – The secret power of search engines

  1. Pingback: Part 5 – Corpora and parallel texts | Translator Mentoring Blog

  2. Pingback: Time-saving terminology tool – IntelliWebSearch | Translator Mentoring Blog

  3. Great tips. The first one is one I never heard of and will definitely start using. Thanks! (Found your blog via a LinkedIn discussion.)

  4. Pingback: Weekly favorites (Nov 22-28)

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