Some Questions about linguee.com

What is Linguee.com?

With Linguee, you can search many millions of bilingual texts for words and expressions. Every expression is accompanied by useful additional information and suitable example sentences.

What are the benefits of Linguee?

When you translate texts into a foreign language, you usually look for common phrases rather than translations of single words. With its intelligent search and the significantly larger amount of stored text content, Linguee is the right tool for this task. You find:

(1) Which context is a translation used in;

(2) How frequently a particular translation occurs;

(3) Example sentences illustrating how other people translated an expression.

By searching not only for a single word, but for a group of words in context, you can easily find a translation that optimally fits a given context. With its large number of entries, Linguee often retrieves translations of rare terms that you won’t find anywhere else.

How can Linguee be used?

Linguee is used like a search engine. You search for a word or a phrase, and you find pairs of sentences that contain the word or the phrase as an exact or similar match.

If the search is not successful, it usually pays off to simplify the search phrase and search again. The search result is clearly arranged in groups of expressions and ordered by frequency.

By clicking on the “More examples” button you are presented with more example sentences.

What Linguee is not:

Linguee does not offer an automatic translation of whole texts. It is not a translation engine but an electronic tool that groups together translations that have already been made.

Translation engines may help to get the gist of foreign language texts. They are not useful for looking up vocabulary, however; and you cannot rely on the quality of the generated translations, as a machine cannot understand the subtleties or contexts of language.

Linguee takes a different approach: Every entry in the Linguee database has been translated by humans. Currently, there is no viable technical alternative to a human translator, and if you don’t have one at hand, you can use Linguee to discover how other human translators have translated a word or phrase you are interested in.

Where do the texts come from?

The most important source for Linguee translations is the bilingual web. Other valuable sources include European Union documents and patent specifications.

How exactly does Linguee get its translations?

A specialized computer program, a web crawler, automatically searches the internet for webpages that are available in multiple language versions. These pages are detected automatically, and the spider automatically extracts the translated sentences. The texts are then evaluated by a machine-learning algorithm which filters out the high quality translations for display.

This system is capable of autonomously making some distinctions between good and bad translations. It has found out, for instance, that a page is usually machine translated if it contains the word “Wordpress,” and contains many words that are literally translated.

Through this evaluation algorithm, Linguee is learning to find thousands of correlations to reliably extract the best translations that are found by its spider. As of now, Linguee’s software has compared more than a trillion sentences.

At the end of the day, it retains only the top 0.01 per cent of the translations it finds.

What are the future plans for Linguee?

Because of its uniqueness, the people at Linguee are working hard on the expansion of the search engine in other languages.

Linguee is now available in English-German, English-Spanish, English-French, and English-Portuguese. Chinese, Japanese and other languages will follow.

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