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What are good online dictionaries for translation between German and English?

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Note that we can also use the ensuing list for the FAQ. –  Phira May 24 '11 at 19:33
The answers go more the direction which are good dictionaries. I thought what asks for a definition are a least a list of criteria to rate dictionaries. But I'm no expert for the English language, please correct me, if I'm wrong. –  bernd_k Jun 5 '11 at 14:30

20 Answers 20

I suggest LEO.org — in Germany it's heavily used for the translation of English words into German and vice versa. There are also forums which help translate whole sentences and idioms.

The site also has pronunciation and declination tables for most words (including the English ones). It also includes dictionaries between German and other languages than English.

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Leo is the reference when it comes to translating words to or from german. It might be sometimes hard to choose one word over another, but for that there is experience, the forum, and now GL&U. –  Eldros May 25 '11 at 7:37

Aside from LEO, I often find dict.cc to be quite handy.

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I always use dict.cc because it's very fast. –  splattne May 25 '11 at 9:38
dict.cc - the better LEO. –  nem75 Apr 13 '12 at 11:17
BTW I like that you can contribute to dict.cc. –  Martin May 26 '12 at 11:49

While it doesn't have much etymological content, I have found the dict.tu-chemnitz.de dictionary to be very good, especially because it has many examples and phrases.

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I find this one better than Leo as it's more forgiving of missing umlauts and other mistakes, gives more examples, gives plurals more easily etc.. –  Christopher May 24 '11 at 20:29
Plus it has a very nice clean looking interface. This is my weapon of choice. –  teukkam May 25 '11 at 5:24
Yep, that's a good one. The best point: It's not commercial. I also use it often use the play button to hear the pronunciation. BEOLINGUS.de is also the name of this dict. –  OneWorld Apr 18 '12 at 12:10

I sometimes look at linguee. They use human translated bilingual texts to suggest translations.

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+1 Linguee is great for technical terms, which Leo hardly covers. –  RoToRa May 24 '11 at 21:59
I'm usually better of with linguee, don't use Leo that much anymore since I got to know linguee. –  markus Jun 5 '11 at 9:34
+1 You really need to see the words used in context. –  Stovner Jun 5 '11 at 11:05

A site that explains Austrian words and phrases in ordinary German:


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My last case scenario:

Google Image search

Sometimes a dictionary just doesn't cut it, especially for regional food specialities

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Weird that nobody has mentioned Google Translate so far.

Since I got to know linguee, that and Google translate have made Leo obsolete for me.

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I like using WordReference, which has an English <=> German dictionary as well as forums about specific word usage.

Duden is also free online now.

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I favour LEO but use PONS aside.

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In addition, I'm using the terminology database of the European Union, IATE, for technical and buerocratic terms.
For an example, try to feed it a word widely used in various fields of terminology, such as dove-tail.

Link: Inter-Active Terminology for Europe

Original Text:
Zu ergänzen sind vielleicht noch Dictionaries zu Fachbegriffen. Relativ häufig sind im Alltag respektive in Tageszeitungen und Nachrichten noch Begriffe aus dem "Behördenvokabular" anzutreffen, hier ist IATE, die Terminologiedatenbank der EU, nützlich.

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dict.cc translates single words and lots of phrases. Most words have pronunciation contributed by users.

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As mru said, dict.leo.org is a good place to start. Then, there is dict.cc which I also use frequently.

If you're interested in the etymology of a word, you can take a look at the German site of Wiktionary. Or, also online available, there is Duden.

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Dicdata is also a good dictionary.

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Collins offers:

Concise German Dictionary Online (paid subscription)

German-English Dictionary (free; “Beta” at the time of writing [December 2011])

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Why not posting this as an answer to this question? it simply has all properties the OP is looking for. Anyway, great one, thank you. –  user508 Dec 14 '11 at 0:40
@Gigili: I’m not sure it has got all the features the OP there is after: for instance, “all declensions” isn’t strictly covered (by anything I’ve found, in fact). This question is linked from that one so I dare say the OP will find this list of resources anyway. But if you strongly feel this should be an answer there as well, go ahead and add it! –  Brian Nixon Dec 14 '11 at 3:05
No thank you, is not strong enough to do that. It was a suggestion. –  user508 Dec 14 '11 at 8:33

For me one of the most amazing dictionaries is:


  • You get the word definition in German and with examples taken from three different dictionaries
  • Different meanings for the same word are clearly explained and marked. Even frequent/non frequent uses are color coded (green/red)
  • At the end there is a section with the translation and again, full of examples for every possible use
  • It does the same thing for other languages
  • It is good detecting search/input typos
  • Works great with any verb tense

Most of the other free dictionaries I have found do not make such a clear division of different word/case uses with examples for each one.

Whenever that is not enough I use LEO because it has better word-by-word translations and/or Linguee because you get more real life translations. Both of them can be more useful if you just want a quick translation. However if your focus is on learning new words, then thefreedictionary.com would be my first choice.

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It is a bit overloaded with advertisements. –  Ingo Dec 15 '13 at 12:45

Bab.la is fantastic as it shows contexts of words in actual sentences and has a much clearer layout than Leo.

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wörterbuch.info has meaning, synonym and pronunciation.

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There’s Oxford Language Dictionaries Online, which is the online version of the paper Oxford German Dictionary. A paid subscription is required.

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Not a dictionary as such, but I frequently use Wikipedia's "this article in another language" feature. The set of words for which a somewhat useful translation can be found like this, and words for which a translation can be found in dictionaries are almost completely disjoint.

As a concrete explanation, Wikipedia provides information on various specific terms that, if at all, would show up only in field-specific dictionaries:

  • When I want to know the English translation of "Ameisenbär" (anteater), I check a dictionary, but when I want to know the English translation of "Büschelohrmaki" (hairy-eared dwarf lemur), I rather directly check whether Wikipedia has articles on the animal in both languages. (The Latin species names can usually be used to check whether both articles are indeed referring to the same animal.)
  • Similarly, when I want to find the English translation of "Propeller" (propeller), I look it up in a dictionary, but for a more specific concept such as "Mantelpropeller" (ducted fan), or "Fenestron" ("fenestron" in English, too, but who knows?), I rather search on Wikipedia.
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protected by RegDwight Jan 2 '14 at 14:10

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