Feel like you’re sinking in a sea of incomprehension?
Specifically when you try to read books that may be a bit above your level in Spanish?
Let’s say you’ve found a great novel in Spanish you definitely want to read.
You’ve downloaded it to your Kindle and started wading through it.
Why? Because you’re on a mission to master the Spanish language, duh.
You’re reading in Spanish as an essential part of your learning strategy. The benefits of reading in Spanish are numerous, and you’ll enjoy doing it because you’ll be reading something that interests you.
But it can be frustrating to have to leave your book, find a dictionary and look up a new word. So what should you do when a word you don’t know hits you out of nowhere?
You could pick up or run over to a different device to look it up on the internet, but that would require leaving your book. There’s another way, which will save you time as you continue reading Kindle books in Spanish.
Use a Kindle dictionary!
Why Use a Kindle Dictionary?
The best part about a Kindle dictionary is simply that you don’t have to leave your device—or in some cases, even your book—in order to look up an unfamiliar word.
It’s the same general concept as that behind the interactive captions on FluentU videos. FluentU takes real-world videos (like music videos and movie trailers) and turns them into personalized language lessons—if you hear a word you don’t understand, you can stop the video by hovering over the word for an informative and memorable pop-up definition.
This will save you time while you’re reading, but it will also help keep the flow of your reading going smoothly.
Not only is it a hassle to leave your Kindle, look up a word, then go back, find your spot and attempt to remember what just happened in the story—but this can impair your ability to see the language as a whole and can make you too focused on individual words, rather than absorbing how Spanish sentences work.
If you’re using a Kindle dictionary, the hassle can be avoided. It’s easy to just discover what the word means and continue reading without unnecessary interruption, and this is good for your language practice, too.
How to Set Up a Kindle Dictionary
Now that you want a Kindle dictionary, let’s see how to install it. First, you’ll have to download a Spanish-English Kindle dictionary. (A handy list of the best ones can be found below.)
After you’ve downloaded the Kindle dictionary, there are two ways you can use it:
- You can set it up as the default dictionary (some of the earlier Kindle models call it a primary dictionary). This method will allow you to look up words via a popup window without having to leave your book.
- The other option is to access it directly from your home screen, but this will require you to leave the book you’re currently reading.
The best option for easy look-ups is the default dictionary option. You can just select the word you want to look up and an English translation will pop up on your screen. However, depending on what kind of dictionary you need and whether it’s optimized to work with your device, you may feel like it’s okay to settle for the second option in exchange for having access to the reference materials you need.
Directions and options for setting up a default dictionary vary based on what model of Kindle you have, but you can find instructions on how to set one up based on your model here.
6 Spanish-English Kindle Dictionaries to Keep You Afloat
A quick note about buying a Kindle Spanish-English dictionary: Take the time to make sure that it’s compatible with your Kindle as a dictionary and can be set up in the way you want to use it. Otherwise, you might get stuck with a dictionary that doesn’t actually work that well with your specific device or have the features you want.
Here are six great Spanish-English Kindle dictionary options you may want to consider.
This dictionary, which is Spanish-English only, is great for all skill levels, including beginners. It contains 40,000 entries and 50,000 translations. One of the best things about this dictionary is that it includes Spanish pronunciations, so you can be sure you’re saying each new word correctly.
In addition to regular dictionary entries, you get additional sections that offer support for abbreviations, grammar and other Spanish language subjects.
“Vox” is widely used and may in fact be the most extensively used bilingual Spanish and English dictionary in the world.
The Kindle version of this dictionary includes commonly used language extending to scientific, environmental and technical terms. With around 85,000 words, phrases and examples, you get a pretty robust selection in this dictionary. (However, if you’re looking for an even wider variety of words, you may want to consider going for the paperback edition as well because it’s more extensive than the Kindle edition.)
“Vox” also includes an overview of both Spanish and English grammar for help in your translations. A grammar refresher is never a bad thing!
This is a great resource for intermediate and advanced learners with over 255,00 translations.
This Spanish-English dictionary contains not just translations but also great examples of use that will be helpful when learning a new word, along with additional notes.
This more extensive dictionary is a practical resource for a broad range of topics. Whether you happen to be reading a book with a historical bent, or a novel that takes place in the future, most of the words you’ll run into that you don’t know can probably be found in this dictionary.
“501 Verbs” is admittedly not exactly a dictionary, but it’s still an important Spanish language reference to have on your Kindle. It contains a list of the top verbs you’ll need to know while learning (and reading) Spanish. It also includes the proper conjugation of these verbs, which is vital to understanding what you’re reading.
The importance of learning the conjugations of Spanish verbs can’t be understated. In the beginning, conjugating irregular (and even regular verbs) can be a huge challenge for anyone. This is a resource that helps make the process of learning and recognizing these conjugations a little less painful because you can easily look up common verb conjugations all in one spot.
The title of this dictionary says it all. If you’re looking for specialized vocabulary related directly to the medical field, this is the dictionary for you.
The Kindle edition is currently $0.00 with “Kindle Unlimited.” Plus, the dictionary covers English to Spanish and Spanish to English terms.
So if your favorite Spanish-language book has a “Grey’s Anatomy” vibe that includes hospital scenes or doctors running around shouting medical jargon, then this is definitely going to help your reading—and if you’re considering a future in the medical field yourself, even better!
If your novel has more of a “Law and Order” theme, or if you’re going into the legal field, this is another great specialized resource for you. With these 6,000 entries, you’ll be able to keep up with any crime or legal-themed book.
Taking things one step further, if you’re reading a Spanish book with any particular theme (not just legal or medical, but other themes, too), I would recommend finding a specialized dictionary like this to make it easier to find and learn vocabulary in that field, especially if that field is something you’re interested in or trying to learn more about. There are plenty of Spanish dictionaries that cover other specific themes such as technical, country or region-specific, business and more.
Now, pick the Kindle dictionary that best fits your needs.
You’ll be surprised how much this tool helps make your reading experience more enjoyable and productive.
All that’s left to do is pick a book and start reading!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos.