Now I don't know about you, but Internet research plays a vital part in any translation I do. Google operators really come in handy when researching on the Internet; I use them all the time. One of my favourites is the Google wildcard operator. This can save you a great deal of time and if you don't already use it, you should start!
The wildcard operator serves as a placeholder for one or more words in a search. In Google, the wildcard operator is the asterisk (*). But what does this mean exactly? Let me explain. Have you ever had a hard time remembering the exact words of a set phrase or idiom? Or even remembering the complete title of a book, for example? This is where the wildcard operator comes in handy. Simply search for your phrase but use the asterisk in place of the word(s) you cannot remember. Here's a very basic example so you can see what I mean:
You can't quite remember the exact title of a book, but know that it begins "Gone with the...", for example. Enter "Gone with the *" and hit 'search'. Ta-dah! Hundreds of links to the title you were looking for, "Gone with the Wind".
You can use the wildcard operator to search for any number of variables you don't know. Let's just say you need to find out the official language spoken in Mali. Enter the phrase "the official language of Mali is *", hit 'search' and you will get your answer. Try it!
So there you have it, the Google wildcard operator. I guarantee you will find this an extremely useful tool!