When someone tells you about an online translation resource that you haven’t heard about before, what do you do? Quickly scribble it on an old receipt you have handy? Save it as a note in your phone, alongside the hundreds of other notes that will never be opened again?

If that sounds like you, and you translate from Arabic, then look no further. Below is a comprehensive list of online resources that you can save in your bookmarks. Cadenza Academic Translations has recently expanded into Arabic<>English translation, and as an in-house editor I need to know about as many resources as possible to verify terminology in diverse fields, from international politics to medieval literature. And even though many translators specialise, you never know when the author might make a reference to a completely different field to your specialism or when a text might bridge topics.

Whether or not you translate for us, I hope this alphabetical list helps take the quality and efficiency of your work to the next level: introducing you to some new resources and reminding you of forgotten favourites. Time to recycle those old receipts.

  • Almaany — An Arabic-English dictionary that often gives context in the form of phrases and sentences.
  • Arabdict — Arabic to English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Turkish, as well as definitions of Arabic words given in Arabic.
  • Arabic<>English Literary Translators Facebook group — Often, academics will quote from contemporary or classical literature. This Facebook group is a place to discuss translation conundrums taken from novels and poetry.
  • Arabterm — A highly specialised technical dictionary, separated into themed volumes.
  • Desert Sky vocabulary lists — A lot of the vocabulary is fairly rudimentary, but the themed lists do include specialised terminology on a range of topics including politics and crime, as well as idioms.
  • Living Arabic Project — Classical, Levantine, Egyptian, Maghrebi, Gulf, Iraqi and Yemeni all in one place. The Classical dictionary is based entirely on the Hans Wehr dictionary.
  • Mo3jam — A dictionary of colloquial Arabic and Arabic slang. Covers 19 dialects.
  • Oxford Dictionaries Premium — This is the only resource on the list that isn’t free. However, at a mere £16.66/year at the time of writing, the conjugation tables, root information, and set phrases available in the Arabic-English section of this dictionary make it worth considering a subscription.
  • ProZ KudoZ — Once you’ve registered for free, you can use the KudoZ terminology forum to get help from the ProZ translator community. Paid members can ask more questions per day. You can also search through previous posts, to see if your translation conundrum has already been solved.
  • com — As well as literature, academics writing in Arabic will often quote from the Qur’an. At the time of writing, the site offers 15 different English translations, and there is a search bar which can be used in either English or Arabic.
  • Reverso Context — This resource takes real examples of translated material available online and presents them in the sentence or paragraph in which they appear. Covers many languages, not just Arabic.
  • UNTERM — A multilingual terminology database maintained by the United Nations, covering terms that are relevant to the work of the UN system. Often useful for non-UN texts on politics and international development, too.