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Found in Translation

Saturday, August 29, 2009 at 03:23 AM EDT

Babylon is a well known program which gives users access to innumerous monolingual and bilingual dictionaries in many languages. My usual tendency not long ago was to think of Babylon as a superfluous tool, especially for those who have already invested in electronic dictionaries such as Duden RAE, Aurelio, Houaiss and other specialized dictionaries.
However, on a second thought, having to juggle many dictionary windows on my computer screen while working on a translation project, and having these accumulated on my computer, not only requires memory resources from my PC’s hard disc, but it can also be time-consuming and a little counter-productive. Babylon eliminates this problem of having too many windows opened.
It is true that Babylon depends on having Internet connection, but it is also possible to have some of their dictionaries working offline as well.
For preliminary and simple researches, Babylon tool is perfect. Granted, their translation is not always the best or the most in-depth information source, but in my experience they very often indicate a path of research which can be followed using other research tools. Another interesting factor is that their platform enables research in many languages.
Furthermore, the research tool of Babylon can include - for a fee - many leading dictionaries worldwide such as Aurelio, Oxford, Langenscheidt and others.
All in all, as a professional translator and dictionary aficionado, I can’t be a total friend of Babylon, but neither am I its worst foe. Although in my opinion Babylon fails at some levels, their dictionaries can be of great assistance to professional translators, especially having the premium ones included.
So far, of course, I have mentioned here the paid license of Babylon. However, they also offer online free translation services - a great example of those, and very much used by me, are their German to English translation tool - such as multilingual online dictionaries and online text translators are available online for any user.