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I'm not sure if this question belongs here, but it's certainly relevant to my German learning and I'd love to know what others are using...

I'm wanting to start reading online newspaper articles to improve my German and give me regular exposure to the language. However, there's still lots of vocab I don't know and I really don't want to keep stopping to look up words.

Some friends of mine use some software for Russian where (once activated) a popup window appears whenever you hover over any text and shows translations and other help. This would help immensely for reading any German while I still need constant help in looking up the meaning of new vocab.

Is anyone using anything specifically for doing this on OSX?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Put Firefox on your Mac if you haven't already, then add this dictionary and translation extension to Firefox. Voila!

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Perfekt, dankeschön! – Martin Mar 7 '13 at 11:20
With dictionaries, it is fundamentally important that you understand their origin and quality. Many popular user-created dictionaries like, and wiktionary not only miss many important words, but also many regular meanings, on top of occasionally providing wrong translations. If your grasp of the language is already firm, these dictionaries are useful in providing hints and reminders, but if you learn a language or need to rely on an accurate translation, I would chose a dictionary that has been reviewed well by experts. – user1914 Mar 8 '13 at 9:02

In OS X there is this convenient 'Look Up in Dictionary' feature that works in Safari and other Apple applications. It can be invoked by right-clicking a selected word or a customizable keyboard shortcut (preset is CMD-CTRL-D). Apple added a German dictionary (by Duden Verlag) only starting with OS X 10.8.

I'd recommend extending the OS X dictionary by installing the database from the German-English online dictionary (not the browser toolbar). The download includes the complete database (from 2011, I think), so it works without an Internet connection. This plugin is compatible with OS X 10.5., 10.6 and 10.7 (probably also 10.8). Download from

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I did not know this feature existed in OSX, thanks a lot! – 0x6d64 Mar 7 '13 at 16:40
@0x6d64 You can configure it using the Dictionary application (launch Dictionary from the Applications folder and press Cmd-comma …). The keyboard shortcut can be changed via System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts (Services). – TehMacDawg Mar 7 '13 at 17:06

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