Most translators these days work with Spanish and, especially if it is not their native language (or even if it is), they come across sentences and constructions that they don’t understand. That’s why I would like to take some time to talk about an essential tool for anyone doing work in the Spanish language: http://www.rae.es/rae.html, which is the Internet resource for the Real Academia Española.
To begin it is essential to make the distinction between the two tools available on the site: the RAE’s dictionary itself and the Pan-Hispanic dictionary of doubts, both available for searching on the home page.
The dictionary itself offers us all of the options that the printed version offers us: looking up, definition, and grammatical context of any term. For translators, it is important to remember that every term that is not in the dictionary is NOT accepted and, therefore, its use is not valid. In addition to multiple ways to filter the search of a word, we can also access a form to make queries and suggestions on this page.
The second option available on the site is what translators often refer to as “the pan-hispanic”, which provides us with a a plethora of possibilities for investigation. This dictionary is useful for looking up terms that generate doubts that go beyond their definition. For example, they could be doubts on use of the term, preposition usage, anglicisms, punctuation, etc. As one who works with the Spanish language regularly, I think this is one of the finest tools in my job, since it is common for us to have doubts about words that are not resolved just by reading a definition. Likewise, I recommend related articles, which are grouped in different aspects of the Spanish language that regularly present difficulties as we perform our job.
In summary, I would recommend that you become friends with the RAE’s web page, since it offers knowledge, clears away doubts, saves us time, and helps us to avoid mistakes in our work.