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English may be the lingua franca (Google it), but there are other languages–in fact, a lot of them. Software designed to translate text from one language to another is nothing new, but most typically involve lots of typing or cutting and pasting. Dicter is a free translation tool based on Google Translate. It automatically detects the original language and translates it into one of more than 40 other languages. It’s much quicker and easier to use than most other methods, too.
Most of the time, Dicter is nowhere to be seen, but it pops up automatically when you type its hotkey combo (Ctrl + Alt) or click its system tray icon. Dicter works pretty much anywhere there’s text, including Web sites, documents, and programs. We selected some text and typed Ctrl + Alt. After a brief moment, Dicter’s tiny window opened, showing Translate from English at the top and English to Spanish at the bottom with our text translated into Spanish in between. Aside from Settings and Close buttons, there’s only a button labeled To clipboard. We clicked it and pasted our text into a blank Word document, as easy as empanada. We sampled several languages, and each time Dicter quickly and completely translated our text from the original to the selected language; accurately, too, we hope, though when we translated one piece of text into three different languages consecutively and finally back to English, the results seemed more like something from the “Whisper Game” than readable text. That’s to be expected with any machine translation, though, and that’s why it’s critical to work from primary sources. The program’s Settings button let us choose to retranslate the text into another language selected from a long menu of choices or set a language for default translations from English.
Dicter is hands down the best translation software for everyday use we’ve encountered. It’s extremely easy to use, with virtually instantaneous translations to and from 42 languages (so far) and an unobtrusive, flexible modus operandi (Dicter it!).