Sunday, 15 May 2011

Is this the best interactive multilingual dictionary?

ELT EFL ESL ESOL CLIL Resources, Games, Activities: Learn while you browse

When Russell Stannard says Lingro is the best site he's discovered this year, then one can't help but to sit up and take notice. And took notice was what I did and duly put it through its paces. Russell, as usual, has done a fantastic training video on it, and you can watch it here.

Lingro is basically a dictionary, but a dictionary with a difference. It's almost like having a dictionary beside you while you surf the web, except searching is almost instant. Here are its features:
  • It allows you to load a web page, or a document (.txt, .doc or .pdf)  and it makes all words of the page clickable.
  • It claims to have 8 million translations in 11 languages.
  • If you just want a plain old dictionary, it claims to be the fastest multilingual dictionary on the web. Definitions appear as you type.
  • It remembers all the words you look up, allowing you to review and study them
  • It also keeps the sentences in which the word you looked for appeared
  • You can also play games with your stored words
  • You can organise your words into different lists
  • If a word isn't in the dictionary, you can collaborate by adding the meaning. I've already added some.
Russell was right, Lingro is indeed fantastic. However, perfection doesn't exist, so expect the odd problem here and there, such as occasional sluggish response (especially in Chrome - the problem Chrome has with Flash is quite well-known). Here are a few other reservations I have:
  • Although you can browse around a website within Lingro, you'll have to remember that to follow a link, you'll need to click the little green button which appears above the link you hover over, and which says 'Click here to open link', because, if you click on the original link, it will presume you're looking for the meaning of the word you happen to click on!
  • It is only capable of looking up single words, not phrases, nor even phrasal verbs.
  • Each time you look up a word, it's stored on your word history, even if you'd already looked it up before. Allow me to explain. Imagine you looked up the word 'consigna'. Maybe you clicked on it twice. You go to your word lists page, and you'll see 'consigna' in your word history list. You drag it to your 'Spanish' list. Then, maybe you click it again, just to check. Now, you drag the word from the history to the bin as you've already kept it on your 'Spanish' list. But, you'll find that the word is still on the history list! That's because since you've clicked on it a total of 3 times, you'll have to drag it to the bin 3 times! Somewhat of a pain, really.
  • The sentence history is on a separate page. It would make more sense to be able to see the sentences together with the word list.
Remember that to be able to save your words, you would need to log in. I had trouble finding where to do it! It's placed (misplaced, more like it) at the bottom right.

ELT ICT ELL CLIL EFL ESL Tools, Resources, Using Lingro multilingual dictionary

Thanks to Russell Stannard for discovering this site. To try Lingro, click here. I think learners would love this site!

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