Oxford Language Dictionaries Online vs Google Translate

By Anna Marie Johnson, 03/19/2013

Do you use Google Translate?  The Oxford Language Dictionaries Online, available from the University Libraries Databases A-Z list offers some advantages over Google Translate, especially for beginning language learners.

  1. The Oxford dictionaries are authoritative. No “voting” on whether the translation is good or not.  They are compiled by language experts.
  2. Phrases!  It’s fine to know the meaning of a single word.  Google translate works decently for that.  When you’re learning a language though, it is super helpful to know the phrases that often accompany a particular word, especially when they color the meaning of that word or when the word is not used literally.  For example, Google will tell you that “gesicht” in German means “face.”  The Oxford Language Dictionary will tell you that “solche Unhöflichkeit steht dir nicht zu Gesicht[e]” or “such impoliteness ill becomes you.”  The translation of that phrase in Google: “Such rudeness does not become you to face.”
  3. Need to cite the word you translated?  Oxford Language Dictionaries Online help you do that with the click of a button!
  4. The dictionaries contain important grammatical information for each language.
  5. Lists of useful phrases to use when you’re traveling!

The dictionaries also briefly summarize the history and current state of the  language. U of L Libraries subscribes to Chinese, German, French, Italian, Russian, and Spanish dictionaries through this service.

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