Wordsmiths require words and their meanings. Sometimes, those of other languages too. I am a guy who dabbles around with words, some I carry in my head and some I need to carry with me. But where?
Thanks to my flash drive accessory, I can literally carry a computer in my pocket. Among a lot of other portable software, a dictionary is a key weapon for my job as a writer.
The great thing about a dictionary is that you can have too many of them and still require more. Just like the hardcover versions, each digital dictionary has its own nuance.
Lingoes is a free dictionary application and a multi-language translator which caters to over 60 languages. But with my penchant for the portable versions, we will take a look at Portable Lingoes. Both are essentially two faces of the same software. With the portable version you don’t have to install anything and can run it straight off its folder on your pen drive.
Lingoes starts its life as a 5.3MB download. And here’s how it looks when you first crank it up with a word.
Wait! Wasn’t this just a dictionary and a free language translator? Principally yes, but there are quite a few, other useful nuggets tucked away inside the program. Let’s take it feature by feature from here on.
The Dictionary – Both Online and Offline
Get the meaning of the word from a number of pre-installed resources like Google Dictionary, Essential English Dictionary, WordNet Online, Spelling Suggestion and Google Web Definition. You have access to a lot of renowned and popular dictionary packs which can be installed for free.
The top of the line dictionary downloads includes dictionaries and thesauruses from Longman, Collins, Merriam-Webster and Macmillan. That’s just one shelf of choices from the many that are on offer inclusive of dictionaries in over 60 languages. All dictionaries can be managed from a single interface.
Please note that the sizes of these dictionary packs are considerable from a few to double digit MBs. So make some space for them on your flash drive.
The cursor translator can be configured from the settings. It allows you to lookup the meaning or translation on any webpage or Windows on the click of a mouse over the word.
Wikipedia – One Touch Access to Over 3,500,000 articles
This is one resource that you should always make space for. The English version of the online knowledge bank tops at 257.48 MB of download. Heavy but worth each MB it gulps up.
Free Language Translator – Get Over 44 Lingos
Lingoes uses a cursor translator (select a word or a sentence with the cursor) to cross translate in 23 languages. You can set your native language in the settings and Lingoes decodes foreign words into it. The translation service can be selected from a dropdown and the choices are aplenty.
Configure the hotkeys for productivity and you won’t have to halt in your tracks for the translations. I tried it out with my native tongue and the results were pretty close and understandable.
Lingoes uses the default Windows installed Microsoft Sam to voice text. It also offers real time word pronunciation while selecting or looking up the word. If you further want to enhance the voiceovers, Lingoes makes it easy to download and install a Natural Voice Packages from Longman and Webster.
A how-to on how to build your own voice package is also given.
Extra Nuggets – The Appendices
Unlike the human one, you won’t throw this away. The Appendices are a useful subset of tools helping you with things like currency conversion, time zone calculations, International Dialing Codes and weights/measures converter. Many others are downloadable from the website. To expand the mix, there are a few games also on offer.
After downloading it, I am still playing around with it. As a dictionary it is a very good alternative to the ever popular WordWeb. Lingoes offers a lot of expandable options. Connected to the internet, it becomes a powerful interface for clearing away my wordy cobwebs. But even without the net, it offers a lot more that belies its freeware tag. For instance, with the kind of space today’s thumb drives offer, I can download and install the weighty Wikipedia file and use it for offline lookups.
Lingoes (v2.6.2) ‘speaks fluently’ with Win 2000/XP/2003/Vista/7 + IE6 or later.
Let us know how do you like the sound of Lingoes. If you like your words and the meanings behind them, I am betting you should like the little green parrot.