Thursday, 18 March 2021

Must-know Google search operators for translators (part 2)

Google search operators are powerful tools which translators can employ to create correct and idiomatic translations. They help narrow down the hits returned by Google, extracting specific information that a less refined search query would not.

The headache of online searches these days is that many of the words and phrases found online are unreliable, fishy or incorrect. How do translators go about finding correct and reliable words and phrases for use in their translations?

This blog post is the continuation of my previous blog post "Must-know Google search operators for translators (part 1)", which you can find here.


Focused internet searches are vital to the specialised work of translators
and can be powerfully aided by Google search operators


Reading a Google result

It is necessary to understand how a Google result is read.

When I enter, for example, the search words "Elisabeth Hippe-Heisler" into the Google search bar (known as "search query"), this is one of the results that will be displayed by Google:


The URL, which stands for Uniform Resource Locator, is the address of a given unique resource on the web.

The title is the title which the author of the webpage has added to the webpage.

The search words "Elisabeth Hippe-Heisler" will be displayed in bold in an extract from the webpage text.

Note that all examples which I’ve given below are based on translations from English to German (the main language combination I work with), but are, of course, applicable to any language combination.

The most helpful Google search operators for translators (part 2) 



The intitle: operator serves to search for words likely to appear in the title of a website. It is called “title” because in the underlying HTML code <title> tags are used:


Since machine learning and artificial intelligence are a frequent topic of my patent translations, I often need to equip myself with relevant English/German glossaries before embarking on my translation. It is possible to track down webpages with the German word “Glossar” or the English word “glossary” in the title.


The following search query will bring up 74 glossaries with either “Glossar” or “glossary” as well as “künstliche Intelligenz” (German for “artificial intelligence”) in the title.

intitle:Glossar|glossary intitle:"künstliche Intelligenz" 


For a more minimal use of words in my search query, I could alternatively shorten the search query as follows: 

allintitle:Glossar|glossary "künstliche Intelligenz"



Say I’m thinking of using the term “Beacon-Frame” in my German translation, but am unsure whether it is a term that’s typically used in a German data communications context. Assuming further that I trust the reliability of terms on the site (or say I’ve been instructed to use this site for reference), I can then test for this term by typing the following query into Google:

"Beacon Frame" intitle:itwissen 


2 Google search hits will confirm to me that “Beacon-Frame” is used on This convinces me it is appropriate to use the translation “Beacon-Frame” in my German translation.

The tilde symbol 

The tilde symbol ~ is the Google operator for finding synonyms.



To broaden my search for German deep learning-related glossaries, I can either use the OR operator | (the pipe symbol) and include various synonyms for “Glossar” (German for “glossary”) in my hunt for German glossaries:

"deep learning" intitle:glossar|begriffe|fachbegriffe|lexikon|terminologie 


Or so as to have to type less, I could simply use the tilde symbol:

"deep learning" ~intitle:glossar

Who (apart from translators and writers) uses Google to track down synonyms? Note: the tilde operator was deprecated several years ago, but I'm listing it here anyway, not least to demonstrate that Google will sometimes drop support for operators if usage is low!


The related: search operator is used to find sites similar to the one that is useful to me. 


Example: is the European Patent Office’s website, so will bring up other IP-related sites relevant to me as a patent translator as I can consequently extract useful terminology from them.




The filetype: operator serves to limit searches to a specific file format of documents I want to look at online.


Many reliable glossaries are contained in and available on the web as PDF files. If I’m required to collect glossaries for a mechatronics translation and, for instance, want to restrict my search to PDF files, I could use the following search query:

Mechatronik intitle:glossar|glossary filetype:pdf


Combinations of search operators (for example site: and intitle:) 

There are obviously lots of ways in which search operators can be combined for more efficient web searching! For example, one particularly useful way of tracking down terminology for a translation is combining the site: and intitle: search operators.


Say it occurs to me that the expression “operatively connected” (or “operatively coupled”), which is typically used in patents, has already been discussed by translators on and I want to take a look at the discussion around this expression. 

English-to-German glossaries in the KudoZ database on are listed at, and they all have the words “English to German” in the browser title bar. For quick access to KudoZ results right from my Google search bar, I therefore usually use the following search command:

operatively intitle:"English to German"



Focused internet searches are vital to the specialised work of translators and can be powerfully aided by Google search operators. Google search operators are strings of characters that are added to a search engine query to help narrow down the hits returned by Google and produce more accurate translations.


This blog post is the continuation of my previous blog post "Must-know Google search operators for translators (part 1)", which you can find here.