As a translator specialised in mechanical engineering I am always on the hunt for the best online glossarys and I am no fan of ‘simple word lists’. Without context it is quite difficult to choose the correct German or English translation. Moreover, these simple word lists often contain mistakes or terms which aren’t actually used in the industry. That’s why I am more interested in databases which also provide definitions, explanations and figures to explain a term.
Over time I found a few online glossaries which I want to share with you. These are my top 5:
The company ‘item Industrietechnik GmbH’ created a brilliant English-German and German-English database with about 26,000 technical terms. According to the website more languages will be added soon. What’s so fantastic about this resource? Well, you can carry this glossary with you as it is also available as iOS or Android app! This glossary isn’t just a list of words. It also includes definitions so you also get a lot of in-depth information to the term too. A perfect resource not only for technical translators but also for students of mechanical engineering. If you want to browse through the complete dictionary, just use the search mask.
This technical dictionary is not only a dictionary with mechanical engineering terms but also contains example sentences with the term you’re looking for. This database is quite good if you need context. Unfortunately it is only a list of terms and doesn’t contain definitions. But you can choose between the source languages English or German and a wide range of target languages: German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slowakian, Swedish, Turkish.
The Engineering Network (EngNet) has compiled a very nice database with engineering term. This comprehensive EngNet database is monolingual, e.g. you only find English terms and the corresponding definitions. I love this monoligual resource as I can look for terms by industry, by products, by services and even brand names! Languages: English only.
The IEV Online glossary is a database with electrical and electronic terminology and comprises more than 20,000 terms and definitions for various subject areas such as electrical installations, power electronics, instrument transformers, wind turbine generator systems and many more. This database has been created by the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission). The IEC is an organization which prepares and published international standard. So this database is quite reliable as it only contains international electrotechnical vocabulary. You can look up terms including their definitions in the following languages: English, German, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Finnish, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Swedish, Serbian, Slovenian, Polish, Russian, Portuguese.
This DIN-TERMinology Portal is my all-time favourite: it contains only DIN terms, definitions and is also available as app for my Smartphone. If you want to use this great resource for English, German and French you need to register first. However, registration and use of this DIN glossary is free of charge. The terms listed here come from standards and specifications. All search results include a definition and a link to the source document.
The great thing about this glossary is that you can specify the subject area (for example mechanical engineering, energy technology, standardization or food technology. And you can use the Asterix (*) to get more results.