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The Cosnauta's Blog

<p>Some Google search operators to streamline your documentation process</p>

Some Google search operators to streamline your documentation process

en Ayuda /

As translators, we often need to sift through humongous amounts of online information to find the term or expression that most accurately fits our target text.

Discerning pertinent credible information amid the overwhelming volume of online content is therefore crucial to produce quality translations.

Infoxication (information overload) poses a real challenge. However, at least for medical translators, identifying reputable sources for biomedical translation is nowadays a breeze: we just need to conduct a quick search on Árbol de Cos, a database containing multilingual Internet resources whose quality and suitability have been thoroughly vetted by a team of authoritative medical translators.

But once we have identified reliable and suitable information sources, how do we actually single out the exact paragraph, line, phrase or term we are after?

Search operators are special commands used to refine search queries: reduce noise (filter out irrelevant results), search within specific domains, locate exact words or phrases, and much more. If used correctly, they represent an invaluable tool to increase our productivity and the accuracy of our translations. Mastering search operators will also come in handy when it comes to justifying translation decisions, as we will be able to quote accredited sources.

Do you already use search operators in your documentation process? Here are a few you can us in your Google searches.

AND or the plus sign (+)

Usage: It narrows down the search by including only those documents containing all the specified terms.

Example: If we search for tuberculosis AND consumption, Google will only return documents that include both terms.

Note: Although AND, or the plus sign (+), is one of the most basic and popular commands in search engines and databases, it is not explicitly needed in Google search, because it is implied by default. This means that when you enter multiple search terms, Google automatically interprets them as if you were using the AND operator, returning only the results that include all the specified terms. If you do use it, Google will ignore it to avoid the potential confusion caused by the duplication of AND.

OR (or the pipe sign ‘|’)

Usage: It broadens the search to include results that contain any of the specified terms.

Example: Searching for tuberculosis OR consumption will retrieve documents containing either the term tuberculosis, the term consumption, or both, but not necessarily both together.

Note: The pipe sign ‘|’ operates similarly to OR.

NOT or the minus sign (-)

Usage: The minus sign (-) before a word (with no space) will exclude results containing the specified word

Example: when looking up tuberculosis -consumption, Google will return results that include the term tuberculosis but exclude the term consumption.

Note: Google does not currently support the NOT operator, only the minus sign (-).