Automotive App of the Week: Pocket Dictionary of Automotive Technology

A Smartphone App That Translates German Automotive Terms


  • Pocket Dictionary of Automotive Technology iPhone app Picture

    Pocket Dictionary of Automotive Technology iPhone app Picture

    The Pocket Dictionary of Automotive Technology app for the iPhone features English-to-German and German-to-English translations of terms. | November 23, 2011

4 Photos

If you own a German import and encounter indecipherable warnings and phrases when you open a panel or tinker under the hood, this is the app for you. With just a few taps, the Pocket Dictionary of Automotive Technology will demystify terms such as Abblendhebel (dimmer switch) and elektronische Binzineinspritzung (electronically controlled fuel injection).

More Translator Than Dictionary
This app would more aptly be called a translator than a dictionary. You won't find definitions of the terms or learn what the parts and systems actually are. But what you will find is a massive database that includes more than 43,000 entries and 55,000 translations of almost any Teutonic automotive terminology you can imagine.

For instance, a search of the term "engine" will turn up nearly 40 variations of everything from engine block (Zylinderblock) to engine-displacement enlargement (Hubraumerweiterung). And as with other German automotive technologies, you'll find all this efficiency comes at a premium price, especially for an app: This one will cost you $29.99.

Model of German Simplicity
Fittingly, the app is a model of German simplicity and functionality. You first tap national flag icons to get to either German/English or English/German translations. The main screen features several ways to search the database. You can initiate a search by entering a term, tapping on a letter of the displayed alphabet to get terms beginning with that letter or simply tapping on one of the alphabetized terms you'll see in descending order on the screen.

In addition to the thoroughness of the database, other elements worth noting include filtering functions to help you drill down on keywords and related topics and terms. This includes an automated search for all occurrences of the term you are searching. For example, a search for "auxiliary fuel pump" will also yield "auxiliary fuel tank," "auxiliary fuse" and "auxiliary gearbox." Once you tap on a term to get its translation, results will include similar terms with their translations. You can easily navigate that list via up or down arrows. A back button will return you to previous searches. After you complete a search, tapping on the Search button takes you back to the main screen.

Thumbs-Up for Up to Date
A thumbs-up also is in order for the currency of the app's database. The Pocket Dictionary of Automotive Technology goes beyond such basic terms as brakes, conventional electric systems, transmission and exhaust and makes a point of being up to date on the latest technologies, such as autonomous cruise control, a.k.a. Geschwindigkeitsregelungssystem. Knowing you're just a few taps from translations like that definitely gives you the right to say you speak automotive German.

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