By Daniel Ángel, Project Manager

I don’t know if you do the same, but I visit Google each and every day, either its English version or the Spanish one, on my PC and my portable devices. I cannot stay away of it: if I don’t know how to do something, I fall under its spell and end up searching for tutorials to feed my curiosity. That’s right, folks, I’m suffering from googlelitis or whatever it is called…

The operation of a search engine like this is quite easy: type what you’re looking for + Enter. I’m pretty sure most of Internet users only use this search pattern almost all the time. However, what clearly differentiates Google to be a really useful search engine is its capacity to define searches and focus on individual features. To deal with it we should use the so called boolean operators or search commands.

Boolean operators are marks we can add to our searches on Google in order to communicate the searching engine the restriction we would like to set to the term or terms being researched. These features are really helpful when making researches on the Internet, as they approach us in a quicker and more precise manner to the information source that we will eventually use as reference for our translation. Among those that could help us as translators we can find the following:

  •  »  » (quotation marks): Google will search exactly for what we would type between these quotation marks. Note it’s not the same searching for Shooter video games than “Shooter video games”. As for the first search, we may find pages containing just shooter or games, whereas with the second example only pages containing the whole sentence Shooter video games would be shown.
  • – (minus sign): if we add the minus sign behind a term, only pages without such term would appear.
  • + (plus sign): it should be placed before words Google does not recognize as searchable terms by default because they are too common, for example, prepositions or articles.
  • OR or / (slash): these two operators fulfill the same role, Google will search for pages containing one or other term.
  • * (wildcard): this sign will replace any word. It can be also used along with the literalness operator ( » « ) in order to restrict our search.
  • . (dot): it can be used as a wildcard as well, however instead of replacing just a word it can refer to any word, just one or many.
  • ~ (tilde): to be placed before a word in order to search for similar words.

The operators shown below should be typed in the following order: operator+colon+term to be searched. Remember not leaving any blank space between these three items.

  • intitle or allintitle: you can use these expressions to show pages where the term only appears in the title.
  • inurl or allinurl: similar to the previous operator, however in this case only web pages with the term specified in the URL would be shown.
  • intext: only searches in the body text of the web page will be carried out, not including titles, the URL, the description, images, etc.
  • site: thanks to this command, we can tremendously restrict the search, since it will be focused on the page we would specify after “site:”. Very useful to search in pages not including internal search engines. Furthermore, it will greatly help us searching just on sites with a specific domain, so that we could search just in Spanish pages adding site:es. Both this operator and the previous one could be used to search for terminology in a client’s translated web page or, if required, any parallel text for reference.
  • related: it allows finding web pages with similar content as in the URL specified.
  • define: I use this command nearly every day. It shows definitions of the term specified from a large number of web pages. Frequently, when there is no way to find the translation of a specialized term in a glossary, dictionary or parallel text, the best we can do is translating in a descriptive way. To do so, I use to look at the definitions that Google o Wikipedia can provide me.

These are just a few really useful tricks to make searches on Google that would allow us to carry our research task out in a quicker and more reliable way. I’m pretty sure this topic about making researches on the Internet could be further extended with more tricks and suggestions. Let me finish this post with some references (in Spanish) I used for this article. I’m pretty sure they will be of your interest:

I hope it will be of great help for you, see you soon!