Language research with Linkman

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Translators and language practitioners, both students and professionals: does any of this sound familiar?

  • You need to search on the Internet for some piece of information, some resource, some item of terminology; you automatically go to your local Google site without thinking of other search engines (e.g. AltaVista or Excite [especially relevant for North America], Scroogle [Google without the ads]) or foreign Google sites [,, etc.] which might be more relevant for your search.
  • You (vaguely) remember such aids to searching as Boolean operators but have forgotten that Google presupposes AND, does not always recognize NOT, does not always function with OR, sometimes only requires one set of “ (inverted commas), etc.
  • You have noted down a very important website address (URL) on a scrap of paper (meaning to file this more safely), but now you cannot find that scrap of paper; you go back to Google and spend some considerable time trying to find the site. Having found the address, you write it down again on a scrap of paper, put it away safely in your wallet or your research file and find the first scrap of paper.
  • You remember having bookmarked a very important website address (URL) under Favourites and now spend minutes reading through all your many Favourites to try to find it again.
  • You have a whole collection of terminology and other resources filed in different formats in different places and different files or folders and you wish you could “organize” them more effectively.

Like many other academics and professionals needing to make use of search techniques to find information, we translators and language practitioners have long since discovered the advantages of using the Internet for the purposes of finding, confirming and/or differentiating between terminological items – either on a monolingual basis (i.e. in our source of target language in order to be sure that we have fully understood all the facets of meaning contained in a specific word or phrase) or bilingually/multilingually (i.e. between our source and target language[s] to ensure that we are not being led astray by interference phenomena or specific connotations). The volume of material available for this purpose is growing almost exponentially from day to day; as professional translators we need to be able to refer to such material almost instantly when translating on the screen, and as university teachers we need to instil in our students of language and translation the necessity to manage their resources effectively. The value of these Internet resources – depending on our own personal preferences and work techniques – can equal that of having standard dictionaries or accessing the translation memories of our clients.

Like so many colleagues, I first discovered Powermarks as a bookmark management program for this purpose soon after its appearance over a decade ago, and immediately adopted it to organize my terminological resources on a regular and systematic basis. It was fast and efficient (especially its automatic storage function for URLs, keywords, etc. was a real advance on most other management systems available which were still also using folder techniques). It also provided a yardstick for my students of technical translation to evaluate similar freeware or shareware programs for their own purposes in the course of their studies and thus develop their own terminological database by systematically using a bookmark management system. Like so many other colleagues, I was therefore extremely disappointed when the makers of Powermarks decided to withdraw the program from the market.

That is until I discovered Linkman from Outertech. Not only does the program work in a very similar fashion to Powermarks, it allows bookmarks stored under Powermarks to be imported into Linkman databases quickly and safely, does all of what Powermarks did but more effectively and also includes a number of helpful features enhancing both the storage and management of resources and allowing my own personal evaluation or the same. In this way I can if necessary not only call up all the terminological resources I have found and conscientiously filed, but more importantly select those resources which I have tested and used regularly – a significant aid to ensuring terminological accuracy and consistency when translating technical or specialized texts.

For me, Linkman’s major features are its ability to search by different criteria (name, path, description, keyword, comments, folder, etc.), its use of wildcards and Boolean operators for searching, its efficient identification of dead links and automatic updating if a webpage has changed its address, its support for various browsers and file formats, its colour coding for evaluation, and its automatic backup function (can be disabled if required). It is available in a FREE version (lacking URL validation and a few other minor features), which will certainly endear it to students, and a PRO version which is the version best suited to professional translators and academics (not only for terminological work, but also for research resources, corpora sites, bibliographies, etc., etc. – not to mention for such mundane private purposes as one’s favourite recipe or sports sites on the Internet).

Having collected and evaluated monolingual, bilingual and multilingual terminological resources for professional translation and research purposes over many years in Powermarks, by using Linkman Pro I have now finally been able to import these into Linkman databases and organize them by source language or language pair (cross-referencing to other entries under Comments is simple and effective) according to subject area (which can be designated as parent or child [and grandchild, etc.] database folder as the case may be). Given that the vast majority of terminological resources on the Internet is monolingual (English-language dictionaries, glossaries, wordlists, handbooks, primers, etc.), the current stock of terminological websites I have so far stored, classified, evaluated and updated/checked regularly at present totals more than 8,500 and counting; the number of bilingual and multilingual resources is understandably smaller, but still extremely valuable and much more specialized. By “filtering the Internet” in this way, it is hoped that these resources can eventually also be made available as a Language Resources Database for study and research purposes at North-West University in South Africa not only for language practice and translation students and staff, but also for those of various academic disciplines, on a similar basis to other commercially available databases. Linkman makes it possible!

Prof. Brian J. Careless, MA, PhD • Professor Extraordinary • School of Languages • Vaal Triangle Campus • North-West University • P.O. Box 1174 • Vanderbijlpark 1900 • South Africa (Professional Translator and Professor of English/Technical Translation [retired] • Fachhochschule Flensburg University of Applied Sciences • Germany) E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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