As translators, we all understand the importance of Internet searches. From a specific term to images that confirm our translation, we search for everything all the time. While we’ve all developed our own personal strategies, it is important to keep a few advanced search strategies in mind when translating.
If you are unfamiliar with some of the strategies below, I recommend giving them a try, as many can prove to be worthwhile. Stay tuned – towards the end of the post I’ll make things more interesting, illustrating some great combinations of search strategies. Let’s dive in:
Search by file type
This is a fundamental search strategy for an advanced content search. It allows for searches by specific file types, for example, only for PDF files, limiting the results to more tailored possible sources of information.
…and then the desired extension.
filetype:pdf (the results will only display downloadable PDF files)
filetype:xls (the results will only display Excel files from versions up to 2003)
filetype:xlsx (the results will only display Excel files from versions after 2003)
filetype:doc (the results will only display Word files and if you replace doc with docx, the results will display more recent Word file versions).
All you need is the desired file extension in order to find results and download the ones you choose.
Search for an exact phrase
This is probably the mostly widely known search strategy but one of the most useful.
If you add quotation marks to terms or phrases, you will only obtain exact results and not results where the same words appear randomly.
A search for “exact phrase on Google”
Will return results like this:
Web page title search
This search technique will only focus on the title of a web page. To perform this search, simply write:
… and insert the term after the colon, making sure that the term appears immediately after the colon without any spaces.
Web page body search
Very similar to the previous strategy, this search displays results in the body of Internet pages and ignores the title. For this search, write:
… and insert the term after the colon.
This strategy searches in the URL, that is, in the link of a web page, which can return very interesting results.
inurl:”I love translation”
Will give you:
Search within a website
Unlike the previous searches, this strategy allows you to search within a specific website. The results will not be confined to a single page of a website, but will expand to all of its pages.
…and then add the site (without spaces after the colon).
You can then add the search term after the website. For example:
The results will look like:
Search by location
This is an excellent strategy that allows you to choose the country of the results.
USA:Translation (results will only show pages from the United States).
You can employ a combination of search strategies to get even more accurate results. For example, you can search for “translation strategy” in the title of a specific website:
Site:www.site.com intitle: “translation strategy”
Or in the body of the page:
Site:www.site.com intext:“translation strategy”
Or even search in PDFs on a website:
Site:www.site.com “translation strategy” filetype:pdf
Search for an Excel file in the United States:
Let’s consider a scenario. Imagine you are working on a translation project for Google Cloud content from English to German. You translated the term Boot disk as Bootdatenträger, but you are unsure if this is the correct translation and you want to understand if the term is actually used by Google professionals.
You can search for: “Bootdatenträger”. However, the results will show the words as they are used by everyone, not only Google professionals. In order to obtain better results, search for:
This returns a result that will confirm your translation. Using this strategy, you can confirm your translation and feel confident knowing the term you choose is correct.
I hope you enjoyed this post. There are several other Internet search strategies, but I chose some of the more useful ones. Do you know any other strategies that help with your translation? If so, leave a comment below.
Header image source: FreeImages.com
Turian da Silva Bielschowsky is the founder and managing director of Magma Translation and a English-German-Portuguese translator. He is also passionate about supporting NGOs, such as Rede Postinho, and many others around the globe.