The top 5 free terminology research 2.0 tools

Posted on September 5, 2017

Can’t find what you’re looking for in your go-to dictionary? No need to panic! Before you look through the reference books at your local library, open your favourite web browser on your computer or mobile device. Read on to discover (or rediscover) 5 free online tools that will help you find the right words in only a few clicks.


TERMIUM Plus® is probably one of the most useful tools available to us in our bilingual Canadian context. It’s the Government of Canada’s official terminology and linguistic data bank. Are you looking for the definition of a term or its official equivalent in French or Spanish, or even in Portuguese? TERMIUM is the tool for you!

Banque de dépannage linguistique

In French, should you say “montrer” or “démontrer”? “Chercher” or “rechercher”? “Juridique,” “judiciaire” or “légal”?

You can find the answers to all these questions in the Banque de dépannage linguistique (in French only) (BDL), a resource from the Office québécois de la langue française. The BDL also contains articles on French grammar, typography, abbreviations, syntax and more.


First of all, do you know what a concordancer is? It’s a tool that can display a word or expression in context, from a bank of original and translated texts already published on the web. There are quite a few, including TradooIT and Linguee.

The great thing about TradooIT is that it compiles similar results and displays them so that you can quickly and easily find the desired translation. You can also filter the results by source or by the form of the original expression (for example, words in upper case letters or words with a hyphen).

The advantage of using Linguee is that it includes both a concordancer and a bilingual dictionary. As a result, you can translate an expression by dealing with each word individually or with the expression as a whole.

Google advanced search

If you’ve ever done an Internet search, you’re most likely familiar with the Google search engine. Its advanced search functions allow you to optimize your search by making it more specific. It’s easy to find articles on the web that will help you master Google searches.

Comparison table

Are you still wondering which tool to use? Here’s a comparison table to help you out.

Comparison table of the 5 terminology research 2.0 tools’ characteristics
Characteristics TERMIUM Plus® Banque de dépannage linguistique TradooIT Linguee Google advanced search
Regular updates Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Relevant search criteria Yes Not applicable No No Yes
Results by field Yes Yes No No No
Results frequently taken from reliable sources Yes Yes Yes No No
High number of results Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Ability to keep a record of the results Yes No No No No
Clear and structured explanations Varies according to the source. No No No No
Terms always defined and put into context No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ability to compare the full text in both languages No No Yes No Varies according to the source. Most of the pages come from Government of Canada websites and are available in both English and French, so they can be compared.
Many new and “in” words No No Yes Yes Yes
Both dictionary and concordancer No No Yes Yes No
Free mobile application No No No Yes No

If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, there may be a typo in the term or expression you’re searching for. But keep in mind that there are many other tools, both free and paid, available online.

And how about you? What are your favourite terminology research 2.0 tools?

Translated by Fatima Rizzo, Language Portal of Canada


The opinions expressed in posts and comments published on the Our Languages blog are solely those of the authors and commenters and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Language Portal of Canada.

Get to know Olivier Doré

Olivier Doré

A graduate of the communications, writing and multimedia program at the University of Sherbrooke, Olivier has always been captivated by the nuances and subtleties of the French language. And it is because of this fascination that he left the Lanaudière region where he grew up and moved to the National Capital Region, where he works for Statistics Canada as a writer-editor. He uses the Language Portal of Canada’s resources on a daily basis as part of his terminological research.




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Submitted by Fatima Rizzo on September 6, 2017, at 13:12

My favourite terminology research tool is TERMIUM. From the sources cited in each record, we can see that every term and equivalent has been carefully chosen through rigorous research and analysis. I trust this tool and use it daily. The professionalism behind TERMIUM is second to none!

Submitted by Camille on May 8, 2020, at 17:55

I am an online translation student right now at the University of Saint Boniface. These tools are ok, but be careful when using concordancers, because some translations can be really poor.

Submitted by Olivier on May 11, 2020, at 15:26

Thanks for your comment, Camille. You are absolutely right—while concordancers are useful tools, not all translations are of equal merit. That is why it is always best to do some digging and check multiple sources before settling on a translation.