Free Language and Translation Tools

If one of your ancestors came from another country, chances are at least some of the records will be in a language other than English. When contacting look-up volunteers or records repositories in other countries, there is also a possibility that they will not speak English. These free genealogy resources can help.

Babelfish-A service of Yahoo!, Babelfish allows users to paste up to 150 words in the box for translation. Just below that box is an option to translate a webpage.

-This site offers multiple translation tools for you to use. For single word translations, they search over 265 online dictionaries that cover 73 languages. There is also an option to translate short texts. Finally, they offer a free software called Xanadu. Xanadu is a language and translation wizard.

Italian Form Generators-This site offers several letter generators including initial requests, followup if no response and letters requesting additional information.

Italian to English Vocabulary for Genealogy-This site offers a nice lists of Italian terms you may find in your research. The English translation is given as well with additional details that may be helpful to know.

Foreign Name Equivalents-Many immigrants Anglicized their names when they came to the US to aid in assimilation. This tool gives you the equivalent of the name in other languages. Free genealogy resources such as this one are helpful if you are having difficulty locating an ancestor's information prior to their immigration. You will need Adobe Reader (free) to view the files.

Your Dictionary-This is one of the larger collections of language dictionaries and tools available. Please note that some of the linked resources on this website may require payment.

Dictionary of the Scots Language-This is two very nice dictionaries in one- the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue and the Scottish National Dictionary. The search tools are on the left side of the page.

German Occupations-This gives you the old name, current German name and the English translation of occupations. Helpful when translating German records.

South African Genealogy Words-This gives a nice list of Afrikaans genealogy terms. The site also gives contact information for individuals who can translate from Afrikaans to English. It does not say whether the translation is free so keep that in mind. Please note that the email addresses include the number 1 after the @ sign in the email addresses as a spam prevention method. You will need to remove it to send your email.

Foreign Letter Writing Guides-From FamilySearch, it includes guides on writing letters in Czech and Slovak, Finland, French, German, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish. Guides cover information you need to know, gives details about the resources available, offers translations of common phrases and what to expect. It even offers a sample letter that you can use to build your own.

Genealogy Word Lists-FamilySearch also offers genealogy word lists in Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Latin, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish

Genealogy Form Letters-From, from letters to a family member or institution in French, German, Italian or Spanish. Just fill in the blanks using the link at the top of the form letter's page

Polish Letter Writing Guide-By the Polish Genealogy Society of America, this is another nice guide for writing for Polish records. It covers basics such as how to address your letter and sending money. One nice feature about this guide is that it gives several salutations instead of the all-purpose Dear Sir so you can tailor your letter to the individual who will be reading it. Also included is twenty-five common sentences you may be using and their Polish translation.


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