What is Sketch Engine?

Sketch Engine is the ultimate tool to explore how language works. Its algorithms analyze authentic texts of billions of words (text corpora) to identify instantly what is typical in language and what is rare, unusual or emerging usage.

Sketch Engine is used by linguists, lexicographers, translators, students and teachers. It is a first choice solution for publishers, universities, translation agencies and national language institutes throughout the world.

Sketch Engine contains 400 ready-to-use corpora in 90+ languages, each having a size of up to 20 billion words to provide a truly representative sample of language.


Language corpora, multi-billion word collections of texts, provide source data for all features of Sketch Engine. Our corpora are tagged and annotated to be ready for complex searches of phrases and language structures. Parallel and multilingual corpora are also available.


Word Sketch ∎ Word Sketch difference ∎ Bilingual Word Sketch ∎ Word lists ∎ Thesaurus ∎ Term extraction ∎ Concordancer ∎ Trends ∎ Corpus Architect ∎ n-grams ∎ CQL ∎ WebBootCaT ∎ CAT integration ∎ Tick Box Lexicography

Languages and scripts

Sketch Engine currently works with more than 85 languages and over 20 writing systems (Latin, Cyrillic, Chinese, Thai…) including RTL scripts such as Arabic.

Patrick Hanks

If you have a professional interest in words and meaning — as a teacher, a student, a language engineer, or a linguistic theorist — you need Sketch Engine. This is because words in isolation are hopelessly ambiguous. Only in context do words have a clear meaning. The genius of Sketch Engine is that it shows how prototypical collocations affect meaning. For example, “blowing up a bridge” has a quite different meaning from “blowing up a balloon”.

Even more different are “blowing your nose” and “blowing a whistle”. Similar examples could be cited in many other languages. In my work on verb patterns and lexical semantics, meanings are arranged in patterns around prototypical collocations. I could not do this work without Sketch Engine.

Patrick HanksProfessor in Lexicography, University of Wolverhampton, UK
Ana Frankenberg-Garcia

Why should translators bother with corpora, when there are so many other resources and technologies available? Well, corpora can help us address questions that are not covered in dictionaries, termbases, translation memories, the Wikipedia, Google, Linguee, translators’ forums, and so on. The beauty of Sketch Engine is that with one single tool you can look up answers to all sorts of questions in many different languages. In the same way as CAT tools are like an enhanced text editor that has been adapted to the needs of translators, think of Sketch Engine as a kind of tweaked search engine that has been customized for linguistic analysis, helping you get unprecedented access to how language is really used.

Ana Frankenberg-GarciaSenior Lecturer in Translation Studies, Programme Director of the MA in Translation, University of Surrey, UK
Ramesh Krishnamurthy

When I speak to other people about Sketch Engine, they are impressed by how easy Sketch Engine is to use. Much easier than they had feared. One presentation, a demo and a supervised exercise is all I have ever done and yet the participants rarely needed my support after the session.

Ramesh KrishnamurthyAston University
Michael Rundell
Sketch Engine has established itself, deservedly, as the industry-standard corpus-querying package for dictionary-making. I have been using it – as a lexicographer, corpus linguist, and language learner –  ever since its launch in 2004. What is so impressive about Sketch Engine is the way it has developed and expanded from day one —and it goes on improving.
Michael RundellDirector, Lexicography Masterclass Ltd, UK

Sketch Engine is used to write dictionaries by