- The WWW search interfaces work best for technical terms, i.e.
terms used in a specific field. They also work for abbreviations.
Alternatively you could try my interfaces for finding databases or abbreviations.
- Simply select a search technique above (Altavista is automatically
opened and the search string inserted in the search box). For each language there are
several techniques: generally speaking, technique no. 1 is the most effective.
Alternatively you can try Google, Northern Light or a
regional search engine (different search engines provide different results!) - the
same rules apply. When using a regional search engine, sometimes you have a choice of
searching the local web (e.g. Italian) or the world web. For more
results, TRY BOTH!
- Replace "keyword"
at the beginning of the search string in Altavista's search box with your own search term
(word or phrase) in lower case. Quotation marks (" ") are not
required for phrases, as Altavista automatically understands several words one after the
other as a phrase.
- Your keyword
must be the actual term you are looking for (e.g. blue chip) rather than a word
describing the field it belongs to (e.g. financial, stock market, investment). Then hit Find.
- Leave "Language:" set to "any language"
- To increase
A) Check your spelling! (write all letters in lower case!)
B) Consider alternative spelling, e.g. ä/ae, bluechip/blue chip/blue-chip;
C) Cut your keywords down (e.g. instead of the long phrase catch weight item,
search for the shorter phrase catch weight);
D) Use * for 0-... characters, placing it after min. 3 characters;
E) Instead of e.g. the phrase internet backbone, search for (internet NEAR
backbone), including the brackets!
F) If you are still getting no results, forget the search criteria above (empty the search
box in Altavista) and search for:
(e.g. title:tursiops truncatus)
anchor:keyword (e.g. anchor:tursiops truncatus)
- To limit your
A) Set "Language:" in Altavista to the language you are interested in;
B) Add more related keywords (using AND), e.g. backbone AND internet;
C) Write anchor: before your keyword (e.g. anchor:internet backbone).
This makes it more likely that your search term is a headword and not just a term
used to describe another. Only use this if you obtain TOO MANY results.
- If the search criteria in one language fail, use search
criteria in another language: for example, you may find an Italian term defined on a
- Once you have opened a results page, locate your term with
CTRL+F (or Edit/Find).
- To find BILINGUAL GLOSSARIES, try using search criteria in one
language (TARGET LANGUAGE) with your keyword in the other language (SOURCE LANGUAGE). E.g.
Need to translate Trojan horse into Spanish? Search for trojan horse using
Spanish glossary search interface!
- To find TRANSLATIONS
of scientific terms (e.g. Italian translation of English great crested grebe):
Search for your SOURCE language term (great crested grebe). Once you have found
the scientific name in Latin (podiceps cristatus), either:
A) Search for the scientific term using glossary search criteria in your TARGET language
(here: Italian), or
B) Change the language in Altavista to your TARGET language (here: Italian) and run a
simple search for the scientific term (Finds: svasso maggiore) (without the
glossary search criteria).
- To find TRANSLATIONS
of technical terms (e.g. Italian translation of English proxy server): Search for
your SOURCE language term (proxy server) either:
A) Using glossary search criteria in your TARGET language (here: Italian), or
B) Running a simple phrase search in Altavista, setting the language to your TARGET
language (here: Italian). The chances are you will find your English term alongside an
Italian equivalent; or else you will discover that the same term is used in Italian, too.
- To find
dictionaries in a specific field, as opposed to dictionaries containing a specific
keyword, specify the field in the title by adding the following at the end
of the search string:
... AND title:stock market
... AND title:financ* (for finance, financial, etc.)
... AND title:finanz* (for Finanzwörterbuch etc.; *=approx. 10
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