Translating for the U.S. Department of State

by Sine
(Brentwood, TN)

Hi Joanna,

What a fabulous website! I came across it looking for dictionary advice and already ordered the Oxford-Duden you had recommended. Thank you for that.

Are you at all familiar with the requirements for linguists contracting with the State Department and their entrance exam?

I was wondering if you had a recommendation for any specialized dictionaries that would be good to have, like something covering international relations and trade?

So far I've been working with Linguee, which I find useful in that it gives me enough ideas to pick the better alternative, but it's probably not the most professional way, especially when it comes to more technical terms.


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by: Joanna

Hi Sine

Many thanks indeed for your kind words about this site!

I'm afraid I'm on the "wrong side of the pond" and so have no experience with US State Department and its qualification requirements for linguists.

I would suggest having a look at the American Translators Association (ATA) website ( as they may have some relevant links and can point you in the right direction.

Re. specialist dictionaries, authoritative dictionaries tend to be expensive, and I've only found this one to date: Lexikon des Internationalen Handels – Dictionary of International Trade.

I've listed some of my favorite dictionaries here which I hope will be a good starting point, and I'm always grateful to hear about other translators' dictionary recommendations!

Linguee has a role to play, but be careful - it pulls up everything, and you need to consider carefully how reliable its suggested translations sound for your particular context.

Hope that's been of some help, good luck!


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German to English Translation

Joanna Scudamore-Trezek

I'm a German to English translator living and working in Vienna, Austria. I turn German texts into clear and accessible English, allowing clients to present their stories, ideas and information to a completely new audience. My business and marketing clients rely on me to get their message across clearly and effectively.  How can I help you today?

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