If you’re learning Russian and do not use the website Multitran.ru, you’re really missing out. Multitran offers translation between Russian and a plethora of other languages: English, Spanish, German, Afrikaans, Estonian, and Kalmyk, just to name a few.
The most valuable thing about Multitran, though, is not the sheer number of words and translations it offers. It’s the sentences. Sentences are how I learned Russian. Learning words in isolation does not help me very much. I need a sentence to see how it’s supposed to be used. Multitran has so many sentences. It is amazing. I’ve only ever used the English-Russian and Russian-English parts (since I don’t know any of the other languages it offers), so maybe the plethora of sentences isn’t true for other languages. Regardless, if you have any connection to the Russian language, you should check it out.
I found a wonderful blog entry yesterday that tells you how to install a little script on your Mac that enables you to look up anything in Multitran. You simply highlight the word in question, go to the Services menu of the application, and click on “Multitran.” The instructions on how to do this are here. You do have to download something—don’t worry, it’s perfectly safe. I downloaded it and it works great. A word of advice to those of you on Mac OS X 10.7 and later: remember, to find the user library folder to put the little script in, go to Finder, click the “Go” menu, and then hold down the option key. Apple developers, in their infinite wisdom, hid the library from us, but we power users will not be deterred!
(If that entry has made no sense to you, never fear, I will dispense with the computer-speak and return with my usual history/writing/Russia related entries shortly!)