From mastering your working languages to being organized and ethical, there is a set of must-have skills to become a successful translator.
71 Free Tools and Resources for Translators
Speed up your workflow, increase your productivity, and improve the accuracy of your translations with these free tools and resources for translators.
Even if you love to translate, sometimes the translation process can be quite boring and repetitive. Fortunately, technological advances enabled the creation of several tools and resources to save translators time, money and many headaches.
I am not only talking about CAT tools or dictionaries, but tools and resources that will enhance your life as a freelancer as well as your exposure as a translator.
Along with each free tool and resource, there will be a brief description, as well as its utility and most important features. I will keep these short and concise, so you can quickly identify which ones are useful to you.
In the list below there are tools and resources that also offer a paid or premium version. It is up to you to decide if you want to upgrade them later or if you want to keep the free version. Others can fit several categories; however, they will just be mentioned once to avoid repetition.
Linguee is a powerful resource that combines a dictionary with a search engine and has several language pairs available. When you search for a word or sentence, Linguee provides its possible equivalents, as well as several contextual excerpts in both languages.
WordReference is one of the largest bilingual dictionaries on the web. It has a forum to discuss and ask questions about translation and languages, and also provides grammar rules and verb conjugations in several languages.
The Free Dictionary is available in dozens of languages. Besides its bilingual dictionaries, it also includes medical, financial and legal dictionaries, as well as other relevant features such as a thesaurus, an encyclopedia and an acronyms section.
Dicionarios.cc is very intuitive and easy to use – one of my favorites. There you can type a word in 6 different languages, and it will search its definition through several monolingual dictionaries.
IATE is the European Union’s database and its aim is to collect, disseminate and manage EU-specific terminology. IATE has entries in 25 languages, including Latin.
UNTERM is the United Nations terminology database. It has entries in the 6 UN’s official languages, as well as in German and Portuguese.
TERMIUM Plus is the Government of Canada’s terminology and linguistic data bank. It gives you access to terms in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
WTOTERM is the World Trade Organization terminology database. It is available in English, French and Spanish.
ProZ is the most known portal and network for translators, perfect for crowdsourcing. It provides a database that gathers translation dictionaries and glossaries, a forum to ask questions or join discussions, discounts on translation tools and other useful resources and features.
EUROSTAT provides statistics regarding Europe in English, French and German, allowing comparisons between countries and regions.
IMDb is a database that provides information on movies, TV shows and celebrities. It is great to find original translations of movie titles and other relevant data.
Magic Search allows you to search multiple sources – databases, dictionaries, corpora, machine translation engines and search engines with a single click. You just have to choose a language pair and submit.
Google Translate is certainly the most known multilingual machine translation service. It supports more than 100 languages and it is used worldwide.
Bing Microsoft Translator is very similar to Google Translate; however, it is in its beta phase.
Reverso offers several helpful tools and resources for translators: machine translation, translation in context, dictionaries, verb conjugations, grammar tips, spell checking and synonyms.
DeepL is a recent machine translation service conceived by the same creators of Linguee and offers 72 language combinations.
Moses is a statistical machine translation engine system that allows you to automatically train translation models for any language pairs. You can learn more on how it works reading the manual user available on its website.
OmegaT is an open-source translation memory tool that provides several professional features such as fuzzy matching and match propagation to speed up the translator’s workflow. OmegaT also supports more than 30 file formats, as well as non-Latin alphabets and right-to-left languages.
Smartcat allows translators, editors and contributors to work together and communicate in real time. The free version offers features like unlimited users and projects, translation memory, terminology management, quality assurance, built-in industry dictionaries and multistage workflows.
MateCat is an open-source tool similar to OmegaT, however you can use it directly on your browser. It supports termbases and glossaries, as well as 72 file formats.
Poedit extracts translatable texts from source code and allows you to localize websites, apps and WordPress themes and plugins much easier and quicker.
Wordfast Anywhere allows translators to access and work on translation projects directly from the web browser. Using WFA, translators can store translation memories, glossaries and files on Wordfast’s servers and access them anywhere.
Xbench 2.9 is a free terminology management and quality assurance tool that helps you improve the quality of your translations.
TMXeditor is a desktop application that allows translators to edit Translation Memory eXchange files. In return, it is only free for 30 days – great for an emergency. The developers of TMXeditor also offer other useful tools, some of them for free.
Protemos is not exactly a CAT tool, but a translation management business system that allows you to keep track of everything related to your translation business.
Grammarly automatically detects grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice and style mistakes, and can be installed on your browser.
Reverso Speller allows you to check grammar and spelling of English or French texts. You just have to copy and paste your text there. However, don’t forget that nothing replaces a professional proofreader.
OnlineCorrection is a basic English spell checker. In the bottom of its page you will find the links to the following languages: German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Italian and Russian. However, don’t forget that nothing replaces a professional proofreader.
Open Office is an awesome free alternative to Microsoft Office. It is an open-source software suite and it can read other file formats with a very high degree of accuracy.
Libre Office is the direct competitor of Open Office. It is up to you to decide which one pleases you the most and fits your needs better.
Google Docs allows you to write, edit files and access them directly in your browser wherever you are. Personally, I use it to access and share files online.
Notepad++ is a convenient text and code editor for when you want to localize websites or apps.
Subtitle Workshop is a tool for creating, editing and converting text-based subtitle files. It supports more than 60 file formats and offers a user-friendly interface.
Subtitle Edit is similar to Subtitle Workshop. The features list doesn’t differ too much from one to another.
Aegisub also is an open source software and can perform as good as them. All in all, it is your personal preference that decides which one you prefer to work with.
Dropbox is a file hosting service that allows you to store up to 2 GB of storage when using the free plan. It allows you to access files anywhere, as well as share files with other people and create backup files.
Google Drive is also a file hosting service to store, share and access files from any device and from anywhere. The free plan offers up to 15 GB of free storage.
Smash is not exactly a storage tool, but it is handy when it comes to sending large files to someone. It allows you to send files with no size limit and choose for how long they will be available to download, up to a limit of 14 days. You can also protect the uploaded files with a password. No registration needed!
Time and Task Management
Google Calendar is an easy way to track your day, week or month. You can set up reminders for upcoming activities or specific days and share calendars with other people.
Evernote has a lot of features and you can use it in several ways. It allows you to take notes, save images, plan and organize your tasks, among much other interesting features.
Trello is a flexible and visual tool to manage everything you want by using cards. As well as other tools of its nature, it allows you to set up reminders and share tasks or plans with others.
Notion is my tool of choice when it comes to managing my time and tasks because it is highly customizable and easy to use.
WordPress is the most popular blogging platform and allows you to build websites for free. It is a useful tool if you want to start a website or a blog and you don’t have any knowledge on how to do it. Note that I am talking about WordPress.com and not WordPress.org. You can find the differences between them both here.
Blogger gives you the opportunity to create a customized blog easily and for free.
Wix is a flexible website builder that allows you to create websites through the use of drag and drop tools.
Weebly, as well as the previous ones, is a service to create websites that offers several templates to choose from. After all, it’s up to you which one of the abovementioned you prefer.
Medium is a place to read and write about everything you can imagine. You can create an account on Medium and write about what you want for free.
LinkedIn, besides being an outstanding social media for networking, also allows you to write articles. You can use this feature to create some sort of blog and share your writing content.
Websites, Blogs and Podcasts
Slator provides news and articles on translation and language technologies, as well as research reports and a weekly newsletter.
Statistical Machine Translation is a website that gathers all the available and relevant information regarding statistical machine translation.
Journal of Specialised Translation is an international journal dedicated to all matters regarding this field. This includes mostly publications within an academic and professional environment.
Journal of Audiovisual Translation is the first international journal dedicated to audiovisual translation studies.
Translation Without Borders provides aid in humanitarian crisis through translation and interpretation. Besides that, TWB also has a blog and a news section.
Smartcat Blog approaches several relevant topics on translation and localization. They also have a blog available in Russian.
Marketing Tips for Translators is a podcast hosted by Tess Whitty featuring successful freelance translators on different marketing tools and strategies.
Speaking of Translation is a podcast hosted by Eve Lindemuth Bodeux and Corinne McKay. The show revolves around any topics that can be related to the translation field.
Globally Speaking is a podcast hosted by Renato Beninatto and Michael Stevens about translation and localization.
Smart Habits for Translators is a podcast hosted by Veronika Demichelis and Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo. Their show focus mainly on the idea of balance between work and personal life.
Training for Translators helps freelance translators through high-quality professional development. Besides a blog, there are also paid trainings and courses.
Alumiar Elísio is the website you are looking at right now! In short, our goal is to teach translation in a practical, didactic and simple way. You can find more about us and what we do in our About page.
Pocket allows you to save links with one click. This is the perfect tool to save all these tools and resources, as well as relevant articles and sources.
EasyWordCount is a tool that basically counts the number of characters and words. You only need to copy and paste your text there.
UnitConverters is a tool that allows you to convert any type of unit you can imagine – temperature, measurement, weight, time and many others.
XMind 8 is an awesome mind mapping and brainstorming tool to study, organize ideas logically or create ontologies. I used this tool several times when creating Alumiar Elísio.
Forest is an environmentally friendly tool that blocks sites to help you focus on your tasks. It is great to combine with the Pomodoro Technique.
Photopea is an online photo editor for browsers. Personally, I use it to edit and crop photos for Alumiar Elísio and create images with visual content for Instagram. A great alternative to Photoshop.
Canva is useful if you can’t use tools like Photoshop or Photopea. It is very simple to use and offers hundreds of templates and design elements to build your visuals.
Google Search Console and Google Analytics will be useful to you if you decide to create your own website. They allow you to optimize your website for search engines, as well as get detailed data and reports from your website.
Some of these free tools and resources for translators are only available for desktop, others for multiple devices and browsers. This offers more flexibility on how you can take advantage of them.
After all, it is up to you to decide which tools and resources to use and how to use them. I agree that tools and resources are great, but sometimes they can fail, be outdated or provide less accurate information.
I didn’t include any glossaries and books because I will save them for another article, otherwise this one would be too long.
If you want to suggest a free tool, resource, or warn us of any broken links, get in touch with us via e-mail at [email protected] or via our social media.
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