Monolingual dictionaries and language resources:
- RAE.es - This is the most official monolingual Spanish dictionary you're going to find. Recommended.
- The Free Spanish Dictionary - Another useful monolingual Spanish dictionary.
- SpanishChecker.com - Another spell checker. This one also provides tips to manually check homophones whenever they come up.
- Conjugation.org and WordReference Spanish Verb Conjugation - I use these verb conjugation websites as spell checkers, too.
- Thesaurus.com - Useful for finding the word with the right connotation.
- One Look's Reverse Dictionary - Also for finding words.
Bilingual or multilingual dictionaries and language resources:
- WordReference: Spanish-English - Translation dictionary. Also includes a monolingual Spanish dictionary and thesaurus. Highly recommended.
- Yahoo! Education: American Heritage Spanish-English Dictionary - Useful for secondary meanings and regional meanings that other dictionaries leave out. Highly recommended.
- Bab.La: Loving Languages - Translation dictionary with automatic examples from the media.
- Collins Lexibase's Reverso - Translation dictionary. Highly recommended.
- Linguee.com - This website allows you to input a phrase, then cross-references occurrences of the phrase across media that has a translation already available. This allows you to see how real people have translated the phrase before. Recommended.
- Diccionario Etimológico: Origen de las Palabras - Spanish language etymology website from Chile. To search, type your word in the box next to the button that says Busca! (Search!)
- El Castellano: La Página del idioma español - Spanish language etymology website from Spain. To search, scroll down to the text box Buscador (Search Engine) and type the word you want, then elect to search "www.elcastellano.org" not "web" and hit the Enviar (Send) button.
- Online Etymology Dictionary - for English. If you don't find it here, use Merriam-Webster.
- Use of written accent marks in Spanish
- A list of common questions about some of the "irregularities" of Spanish - with answers.
- About.com: Spanish Homophones - Solo and sólo are both pronounced SO-lo, so why does one need an accent? Look up Spanish homophones (words pronounced the same way).
- A Complete Guide to Written Accent Marks in Spanish
Read/Listen to Spanish:
I am a science major and I like to tell my parents what I am learning in school. I need more than just the layperson Spanish science vocabulary for that. I recommend SoloCiencia's mailing list. Spanish Wikipedia and newspapers are also good.
- SoloCiencia.com - Science news website with an e-mail mailing list.
- Univision.com: Noticias - Spanish news channel from the United States
- El Universal: Internacional - International news from Mexican newspaper
- El Mundo: Ciencia - Science section of a newspaper from Spain
- Latino USA - a podcast by National Public Radio (NPR) by and for Latinos. It is a great resource for learning more about Latino culture.
Similar Translation Projects by Other People:
- Cairaguas' incomplete list of good translation by other people - This is a Google Docs file where I keep a list of songs that was I was going to translate, but decided not to because I found another translation that was already great.
- Enya Translations and Lyrics - Irish/English, Latin/English.
- Song Translations by Coby Lubliner - French, Italian, Catalan, Spanish, Modern Greek... all to English.
- Deciphered Melody: Deciphering Mysterious Japanese Runes - Japanese/English. Anime, video game, and misc.
- Letras4U.com - English to Spanish.
- Spanish to English: Poemas en español traducidos al inglés - Spanish poems translated to English
- Letras de Canciones Traducidas - English songs translated to Spanish, with YouTube embedded videos
Smoke & Croak's Music Videos - This website translates, performs and records British/American songs into Spanish/French/Italian. Very professional music videos. Their translation music video of The Killers' "Mr. Brightside" is spooky good.- old link
Do you know of other projects with side-by-side translations? Let me know!
One of the more menial tasks before songs are ready to post is making sure that every line begins in uppercase. I wrote a Perl script to do it for me. The code has comments which begin with the pound (#) symbol to describe what is going on.
song_transform.pl (2012 version) requires input file song_input.rtf
song_transform.pl (2016 version with improved special character handling) requires input file song_input.rtf
Pro: This program does not ruin special characters or output them as question marks or boxes. It leaves special characters alone and transfers them unaltered to the output file.
Con: This program does not transform accented first letters so you need to check the program output manually.
How to use on Windows:
First download and install Perl (free and legitimate software). Once installed, copy the code above into Notepad and save as filetype "All Files" (to avoid saving with the .txt extension) and name the file song_transform.pl in the folder where you installed Perl (probably C:\Perl or C:\Perl64). To bring up the program, open the Windows command box by using WindowsKey + R and typing cmd into the "Run" window that comes up. Navigate to the folder where you installed Perl by typing something like this into the command line:
...or wherever your Perl folder is located. Hit enter. Now type this into the command line:
The program will run. It will ask you if you want to open song_input.rtf. Follow the instructions. At the end, the program will ask you if you want to open song_output.rtf. If you don't want to open the input and output files from the command window now, you can open them later by finding them in your Perl folder. The .rtf file extension is a rich text file, the most open-source text file you can have while still maintaining font, italics, bold, special characters, and other basic formatting that gets lost with the plain .txt text file. If you want to edit other file types (e.g. .docx), just switch the file extension in the script.
How to use on Mac:
Mac OS X already has Perl pre-installed. Skip the installation step and just save the script, then run it. The input and output files will be generated in the same folder you saved the script. However, you might need to manually create the song_input.rtf file and tell the program no when it asks to open it from within the script. The script will still run on the rich text file, but it will skip the part that opens WordPad. I haven't tested that part on a Mac, so I don't know if it produces an error. After the script is finished, open the output file song_output.rtf manually as well.
Perl code edit notes:
Published: November 12, 2010
Very simple. Transformed first letter of every line into uppercase except for lines that had a url or special characters in the beginning.
Modified: January 26, 2011
Now transforms the first letter after a special character (such as ¿ or ¡) and after the italics <i> tag.
Modified: July 1, 2012
Now the program can open the necessary input and output Wordpad files in the foreground, directly from the command window. If you don't want this, comment out (add a hashtag before) the system() functions or select no to the prompt "Open song_input.rtf now? (y=1/n=0)" at the beginning, then select no to the prompt "Open song_output.rtf now? (y=1/n=0)" at the end.
Modified: November 15, 2016
Cleaned up code formatting and improved the special character reading for Windows 10. If you don't have wordpad.exe, either replace the program exe link in the system() functions with another program that reads rich text files, or select no at prompts asking to open .rtf files. The code will still run and the output will still be created, but you will need to open files manually.
Resources were last edited 3/12/2022 to add my last version of the perl code.