It is important to ﬁnd and use a good dictionary to supplement your reading. Dictionaries can be online or physical, but most people ﬁnd online dictionaries to be much more convenient.
How to choose a dictionary
The best dictionary to use depends on your language. There are some excellent dictionaries dedicated entirely to a single language. The ideal dictionary will give you example sentences, an English equivalent, and the correct pronunciation.
Here are a few dictionaries that oﬀer translations for multiple languages:
– Linguee: Clean interface. translations are sorted by frequency
– Wiktionary: A poplar dictionary with helpful pronunciation guides and support for a wide variety of languages
– Bab.la: Great interface and lots of sample sentences. Has a built-in verb conjugator
– Reverso: Useful example sentences
– Tatoeba: Helps you ﬁnd example sentences
– Forvo: Example sentences and pronunciation recordings — no deﬁnitions
There is also translation software, which can help you get the sense of the meaning of an entire sentence. Avoid becoming over-reliant on translating whole sentences.
Make sure you attempt to understand a sentence yourself ﬁrst. Avoid using translators for single words, since you may be given an inaccurate translation.
– Google Translate: The most popular translation software on the web
– DeepL: A powerful alternative to Google Translate
– Keyword lookup: Chrome tip to help you search dictionaries faster using the search bar
– ImTranslator: Dictionary lookup addon
You may also like to learn some phrases, either to help you get a feel for the language or if you are travelling soon. The primary issue with phrasebooks is that generally the reader doesn’t remember the phrases they read. Learning needs to be supplemented with ﬂashcards.
The best phrasebooks are likely speciﬁc to your language. Try to find websites that have phrases and words in lots of languages that teach you in an interactive fashion. Here’s one example:
– LanguageGuide: Interactive way of showing simple vocabulary