The Canadian Government’s Translation Bureau
recently made its French/English/Spanish technical terminology database, Termium
, free to access after over a decade as a subscription-based service. While off-the-cuff translations are often available from free services like BabelFish
, Termium focuses on technical terminology such as scientific, medical and legal terms.
Of equal interest to the core service are other tools like The Canadian Style
, the government’s official rules for how to write "Canadian" (an odd hybrid of British and American styles), HyperGrammar 2
, a series of educational grammar modules developed for self-directed learning, and Word Tailoring
, an attempt to create a translation database for idiomatic French words and expressions that don't necessarily offer a single literal translation.
There are also a wealth of French-language tools for learning grammar, improving your writing style, and seeking alternate terms for common verbs and expressions.
Also worthy of note is the always-free Grand Dictionnaire
, the product of the Quebec government's Office de la langue française, which is far less robust than Termium but has a stronger focus on "proper" language for Quebec. And, if you're struggling to improve your French writing skills, Bon Patron
is a (frequently slow-loading) Java-powered tool that will check your French spelling and grammar and offer correction suggestions in real time.