What is Sketch Engine?

Sketch Engine is the ultimate tool for linguists, lexicographers, translators, students and teachers to search for information about more than 80 languages. It is a first choice solution for publishers, universities, translators, translation agencies and national language institutes throughout the world.

Using multi-billion word samples of authentic text, called corpora (sing. corpus), Sketch Engine’s unique algorithms identify instantly what is frequent and typical in language and what is rare, unusual or emerging usage and will present the results in an easy to understand format.

Unlike text search tools, Sketch Engine can determine parts of speech (noun, adjective, verb…) and grammatical categories (singular/plural, present/past, passive…) making it possible to quickly look up specific word combinations or even grammatical structures.

Sketch Engine contains 400 ready-to-use corpora in 80 languages, each having a size of up to 20 billion words to provide a truly representative sample of language. Users can easily create their own corpora by having Sketch Engine find and download relevant texts from the internet or by uploading their own texts.

  • Linguists and Lexicographers

    Finding a representative sample of the word or structure in question is vital for drawing meaningful conclusions whether you are working on a dictionary or doing language research. Use Sketch Engine to process corpora of billions of words within seconds and observe instances of the word, phrase or phenomenon in the form of Word Sketchesconcordances or lists to discover frequent patterns as well as rare and unusual usage.

  • Teachers and Students

    Examples, examples and more examples! From different text types and different contexts. The key to understanding how a word is used. Also an excellent source of test items for teachers. Using concordance in its basic setting is what you need. But feel free to play with the advanced settings for more refined results. And do try the Word Sketch to get the results in a compact format. This is especially useful for high-frequency words where the concordance might return thousands of examples to read through.

  • Terminologists

    Terminology management is vital for any company striving to deliver a consistent and intelligible message in many languages. Sketch Engine’s term extraction feature is designed to help terminologists identify subject-specific words and phrases and display them as a glossary with direct links to examples and Wikipedia definitions. Bilingual term extraction takes the feature to a next level by processing the text in the source and target language simultaneously to produce a bilingual glossary.

  • Translators

    Instead of spending time thinking about the best fitting translation, get inspiration from other translators. Use ready-made parallel corpora to look up how others translated the phrase or even export the translation memory from your CAT software and use it as your own specialised parallel corpus. The Word Sketch Difference feature helps you decide which word is most suitable for your context.

    Keeping up with the most recent terminology is a tall order for anybody dealing with subject-specific language. Use Corpus Architect and have Sketch Engine create a user corpus with the latest subject-specific texts from the internet or upload your own documents. Keywords and Terms will automatically produce lists of lexical items relevant to the subject area. With examples and Wikipedia definitions just a click away!

  • Historians

    Use diachronic corpora in Sketch Engine to identify the moment when a word or expression started to be used, when it went out of use or how the usage or meaning changed over time. Use the Trends feature to visualise the use of the word across time.


Language corpora, multi-billion word collections of texts, provide source data for all features of Sketch Engine. Words in the corpora have been tagged for parts of speech and grammatical categories allowing 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 80 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 Wolwerhampton, 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


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Sketch Engine is used to write dictionaries by