The top 5 free terminology research 2.0 tools

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Posted: 
September 5, 2017
Written by: Olivier Doré

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®

TERMIUM Plus® is probably one of the most useful tools available to us in our bilingual Canadian context. It is 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 (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.

Concordancers

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 WeBiText and Linguee.

The great thing about WeBiText is that you can restrict your search to a specific source and subject. For example, you can limit your search results to pages from the Government of Canada or from a specific government department, or to pages related to a given field (health, finance, etc.).

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 terminology research 2.0 tools’ characteristics
Characteristics TERMIUM Plus® Banque de dépannage linguistique WeBiText Linguee Google advanced search
Regular updates Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Relevant search criteria Yes Not applicable Yes No Yes
Results by field Yes Yes Yes No No
Results frequently taken from reliable sources Yes Yes Yes No No
High number of results Yes No No 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 No Yes Yes
Both dictionary and concordancer No No No 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

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

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About the author

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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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!

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