The ideal website for linguists, and how a family lived without computers
Anyone with an interest in languages knows by now that the Internet offers a phenomenal wealth of linguistic resources. Only a decade ago, an itch to learn something about the nature of less widely-spoken languages meant a trip to a library. Today there are dozens of websites offering not only descriptive information but instructional and dictionary services as well.
A great example is provided by Foreignword.com (http://www.foreignword.com/), an extremely rich and diverse language site that offers links to every kind of linguistic service and reference resource. At the top of the page is a dictionary form that functions like a search engine or currency converter. There is a form into which you enter the word you want translated, then select the appropriate language from drop-down lists in the from and into boxes. There is also a mono-lingual option that will give you a detailed dictionary definition of the word and its compounds in the language to which it belongs. I ran into some trouble with this format when trying to translate words from and into languages with non-Roman scripts. The default language and encoding for my computer is Thai, but I was unable to enter Thai words into the boxes. Presumably there is a way to do this, and if any reader manages to discover it, I would be thankful for a tip.
The translating option, however, is only the tip of the Foreignword.com iceberg. There are links to more than 200 dictionaries covering 67 tongues, text translation tools that support 60 languages, and a plethora of glossaries. It also offers a directory of 3,100 professional translators whom you can contact for specialised work. There are even columns of language-related news and magazine articles. There is a type of person, and I am one of them, who can find their attention hijacked for hours by a site like this. I heartily recommend Foreignword.com to them.