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Online dictionary, accessible from the browser menu. Available as add-on for IE or Netscape.
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Material Type: Reference Material
Technical Format: HTML/Text
Date Added to MERLOT: April 16, 2003
Date Modified in MERLOT: March 17, 2012
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Submitter: Horst Kurz


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Primary Audience: High School, College General Ed, Graduate School, Professional
Mobile Compatibility: Not specified at this time
Technical Requirements: javascript
Language: English
Material Version: 4/2003
Cost Involved: no
Source Code Available: no
Accessibility Information Available: no
Creative Commons: unsure


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Discussion for WordReference

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Avatar for Samira Bakr
4 years ago

Samira Bakr (Content Developer/Author)

It gives great help in translation.

Technical Remarks:

Easy to use but still needs some improvement

Avatar for Barbara Kuczun Nelson
13 years ago

Barbara Kuczun Nelson (Faculty) features four multilingual translation dictionaries from
HarperCollins in French, German, Italian and Spanish, and the Collins English
dictionary. The English Spanish dictionary alone has over 160,000 words with
more than 230,000 translations.

As a teacher, the single best thing about this particular on-line dictionary is
that the word looked up is contextualized so the user can see proper usages. For
example, a search for the word "dar" resulted in twelve definitions with
examples of how the verb "to give" can be used as a transitive verb, five ways
it can be used as an intransitive verb, and 7 ways as a reflexive verb. To the
left of the definition, the word appears in the middle of a vertical list of
twenty words in alphabetical order. This is a nice feature if you want to look
up a different form of the word easily. Only single words can be entered,
however, there are instructions for looking up the word used in an expression.
Mike Kellogg, the author of the site, has a sense of humor. In his FAQ he
addresses this issue and says "this is just a dictionary. Use it as you would
use a regular dictionary. If you would like to receive a (bad) translation of
an entire web page, there are plenty of companies doing that such as AltaVista's

My Spanish classes have used this dictionary for several years in and out of the
classroom or LRC with great success. I myself have linked to it on many of my
web pages for easy access. For example, in the Language Resource Center if
students are working in pairs on another study module, they can easily open two
browser windows and switch back and forth from the dictionary to the assigned
work. Since the words are defined and then used in context there is less
likelihood that students will produce such creations as the classic "ir espalda"
for "to go back" or "tener un buen tiempo" for "divertirse."

The free WordReference search box can be added very easily to your own website
by copying and pasting some simple HTML code. The translation will open in a
new browser window. The search box can also be modified to include selected
languages. The search box is small and unobtrusive.

If I were a PC user I would love this next feature. WordReference can be used as
a browser add-on tool. WordReference Personal works with Windows and comes in
two forms, one for Internet Explorer, one for Netscape. The download is free
and fast. To translate any word on any web page, double-click the word to
highlight it, click the right mouse button, and chose from the menu. A small
window will then open with the translation in the corner of the screen.
Unfortunately this option is not available for Macs.

Technical Remarks:

The dictionary loads quickly, has an uncluttered interface, and a good font size
for easy reading. It is very easy to use and the directions are clear. There is
a FAQ page with some short suggestions from the author. There are no irritating
pop-up windows or flashing banners for advertising. There is a single
advertisement banner (for at the time of this writing) at the
top. There is no login required. The WordReference search box can be installed
on both PCs and Macs, however, it is available as a browser add-on tool for only
Used in course