Online dictionary & translation apps

Dictionaries are indispensable for language learning. Not just for learners, but also for native speakers of the language. One key difference is that a native Spanish speaker uses a Spanish-Spanish dictionary, while learners may use a Spanish-English dictionary. In fact, it is a sign that a learner has reached fluency status if they can exclusively rely on a Spanish-Spanish dictionary.

I’ve personally used 2 popular online Spanish-English dictionaries/translators: spanishdict.com and Google Translate.

Google Translate is strictly a dictionary/translation tool—no grammar rules or other learning aids. It can translate 100+ languages. It is very well suited for translating sentences or even paragraphs.

Spanishdict is exclusively for Spanish-learning English speakers. The website is more than a dictionary: there you will also find conjugation tables, curated word lists, grammar blog posts, etc. The website is user-friendly and aesthetically designed.

While spanishdict is my go-to online dictionary tool, not everybody agrees with the choice. In fact, the Spanish subreddit at reddit.com had outright banned any mention of spanishdict in its forum. I found that out when a comment I submitted, which included a reference to spanishdict, was removed automatically by a bot citing spanishdict ‘contains inaccuracies that might negatively affect learning’.

While the action taken by the subreddit does seem harsh to me, I am not best qualified, on the basis of merit, to dispute the decision of the subreddit moderators who presumably are native speakers.

The Spanish subreddit does recommend some alternative dictionaries on its website. While I am not quite ready to give up on spanishdict, I am more than happy to try out in parallel WordReference.com, 1 of their recommended dictionaries.

P.S. After submitting some Spanish sentences to both spanishdict and WordReference, I’m sticking to my original assessment of the usefulness of spanishdict.

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