Linguee or Reverso

I mentioned the Linguee site when it first appeared. For the German>English combination, probably the first choice for the creators, it will give you quotes from bilingual websites. It has changed a bit over the years. The best change for me was the addition to the first page of URLs of the sites referenced.

Because, and this is the big problem, most bilingual DE/EN websites are probably German sites and the English on them may be non-native. It may be useful for terminology nonetheless.

Linguee is apparently very widely used. I use it much more than I ever thought I would, but I look most often at the .eu sites and usually ignore the .de ones.

Nikki Graham has the combination Spanish>English and she doesn’t find Linguee much use but likes Reverso: Time to Reverso your use of Linguee?

Reverso has a user-friendly, easy-to-read layout and a number of useful sections. I mainly tend to use just the dictionary (based on the 2005 edition of Collins for my es-en pair) and context parts of the site, although it offers translation (MT), conjugation, grammar and spellcheck sections as well. You can even download the Reverso app free onto your mobile phone to access its features on the go.
…They are right when they claim that professional translators will find the specialized entries in their dictionary very helpful, because I certainly do!

I’ve only had a quick look at Reverso, but it does not have the obscure or new German terms I usually look up. For instance Technikgeschoss came up in an architectural description recently – not actually uncommon nor unfamiliar to me, but Linguee immediately gives you several possibilities which you could then research further.

If I did not know the term service floor or plant room, I might open a dictionary on my shelves but I see it has been untouched for years. I would probably consult the Langenscheidt dictionaries online as a member of the BDÜ and Langenscheidt Technik would say:

Technikgeschoss n • service floor; mechanical equipment floor; plant room level; mechanical floor pract

Reverso does have both a dictionary (Collins) and a collaborative dictionary, but I suppose that the terms in the latter are limited to those in the former, so there is rather a lack of specialized terminology. But I have only looked at it very briefly and not in connection with a specific translation.

In the recent comments on Zahn and Dietl, I was reminded that I use scarcely any paper dictionaries nowadays. I wonder if the online versions, especially Acolada ones with a subscription, will do better at adding new terminology.

Anyway, neither Linguee nor any dictionary solve a translator’s problems – they just provide a basis for further research.

LATER NOTE: in discussion on Twitter (I tweet as Transblawg but rarely engage), Anne de Freyman says she only uses the big Collins (unabridge?) FR>EN as the Reverso version is too small – which was my impression. However, I haven’t been using the Collins Unabridged DE>EN as much as I used to. I find the Collins online thesaurus good. Anne wrote that she uses Evernote Premium to create a custom search engine, in effect, accessible on all devices, and including whole websites and glossaries. An interesting possibility, although I could collect hundreds of sites before finding one of my new terms in one.

5 thoughts on “Linguee or Reverso

  1. The creation of custom search engines is a labourious task, yet it is often worth the effort. IMHO the easiest way is using one or more Google CSEs. They also have public URLs, which can be bookmarked and used on all devices.
    One big CSE is translation 2.0. It has been set up by Jean-Marie Le Ray and is accessible on
    For my own work, I have set up several CSEs (among them a special dictionary CSE for English and German and a CSE crawling EU websites). They are freely accessible on

  2. Thanks, Lisa. Yes, I suspect those CSEs in Google are easier than setting up Evernote, but then I would not need a CSE on three devices. I once quickly set up a small one for lawyers’ websites, I think. I didn’t use it much but it looked promising. The problem with lawyers’ websites is that a German site is fairly formal, with surnames and titles all given, and its English version is often to be used in Germany, so the cultural changes one might like to make are not going to be fit for purpose. Anyway, I may get round to it one day.

  3. “but then I would not need a CSE on three devices”
    No, you wouldn’t. A CSE has a public URL which you can access from any device (and share with others, if you like).

  4. “Because, and this is the big problem, most bilingual DE/EN websites are probably German sites and the English on them may be non-native.”

    At you can filter sites by their top level domain, e.g. show only quotes where the EN side is from a uk domain.

  5. I’ll try it the next time I try Linguee, but I don’t actually mind seeing all, provided I can see the .de/.eu/.uk/.com/.ch/.at or whatever. I do general websearches comparing UK, EDU (US universities) and broader searches sometimes.

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