WordReference is not translation software


Senior Member
🇬🇧 English (England)

I've noticed a new message appearing when I search for more than one word. In Italian:

Spiacenti, i nostri dizionari non sono in grado di tradurre delle frasi!
WordReference offre dizionari online, non un software di traduzione. Per favore cerca i termini individuali (puoi cliccare su ognuno di loro qui sotto) o chiedi nel forum se ti serve ulteriore aiuto.

Basically it says the dictionary doesn't translate phrases, isn't translation software and that you should look for the individual terms or ask for help in the forums. It's a small thing really, but it's just a bit tiresome when I've been happily using this site for years and know more or less exactly what I'm doing with it and where to find what I want to get a message suggesting otherwise almost every time that I use the site! If it could at least be shortened a bit... but I'm not sure who it's really helping to be honest. It becomes clear pretty much instantly that WR isn't translation software to anyone who tries to use it that way, surely?
  • merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    Hello. I have noticed this too every time I look for an expression. The information given is not entirely true. It gives the impression you can or should only look for one word at a time. I almost never do, and Wordreference is prepared for that. For example, I look up "wise guy" (two words) I get the message but this expression is already in the dictionary and translated into several languages. If I just search for "guy" it might take five minutes to find "wise guy". There are hundreds of examples of two or three word expressions like wise guy, safety pin... which are correctly translated and in our dictionaries.
    I imagine this message is meant for people who look for entire sentences and get no answer. This, of course, is not the way to go. But even here once in a while I do it, because you can find interesting threads this way. If you search for "every cloud has a silver lining" you can find threads that give translations especially in commonly searched languages like "English, Spanish, French"....
    Perhaps the message should be slightly changed or shortened as Tsoapm suggests
    Last edited:


    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I've noticed this, too: I'm fairly certain it's been added quite recently (within the last two or three weeks, I would guess).
    The English version of it reads:

    WordReference can't find this exact phrase, but click on each word to see its meaning
    WordReference provides online dictionaries, not translation software. Please look up the individual words (you can click on them below) or ask in the forums if you need more help.

    To the best of my knowledge the functionality of the site and the forums hasn't changed so I guess it's perhaps aimed at new users who perhaps don't know what they're doing and had the wrong idea about things.