Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Developing students' Web searching skills : Exercise 2

Exercise 2:  Find the Zulu word for 'cyst' and its literal English translation

The aim of the second exercise was to illustrate that rare items of information are actually fairly easy to locate on the internet and that the best tool for this is a search engine.  This would of course rely on the item being recorded  in a search engine database.  In the entirer Web there seems to be only one Websire that gives the Zulu word for Cyst - Jason Wolfe’s English to Zulu medical dictionary (

The optimum strategy was adopted by student 1:

‘Because this search is far less likely to bring up literally millions of results (as ‘yoga’ would) I simply entered ‘Zulu + Cyst’. Incredibly, there is an amateur site that specialises in medical terms in Zulu, and this was right at the top of the list.  Jason Wolfe, I thank you!

See and use ‘Crtl+F’ to find within the page.’

Cyst  (A bag inside the body filled with fluid):

Isikhwama esikhulayo emzimbeni wumuntu siphethe into engamanzi

All found the resource easily as would be expected.  Even bad search strategies were likely to be successful.  As student 14 points out:

‘.. as long one typed in the words suggested on the question sheet, it would be quite difficult not to get the right answers.’

One student observes:

‘I expect this information could equally have been found by using a subject gateway, such as Medicine or Biology.’

and indeed searches for lists of medical or language dictionaries will also throw up this site.

Only one student took the next step and questioned the accuracy of the data:

‘the major problem about this kind of services is that it would not know whether this dictionary is reliable’

Both Zulu and Cyst alone would return large numbers of records.  It is only the rare occurance of these words in the same page that makes this resource easy to find.  

Entered the term ‘Zulu Translation’, which brought up 12,300 site results.‘

Just typed in ‘cyst’, got many puzzling information back.’

When checking through the pages returned by a search it is not always obvious where the search term occurs in the page.  This is particularly the case for long pages.  Learning to use the tools provided by the Web browser can save a lot of time.

‘However, having scrolled down to find the relevant entry, I was advised by the tutor that going to ‘Edit’ and then ‘Find in Page’ could have speeded up the process.’

Search Terms
  • Zulu +Cysts
  • Zulu AND Cyst
  • “What is the Zulu word for cyst?” (Ask Jeeves)
  • “Zulu medical dictionary”
  • Zulu
  • Zulu Translation of Cyst (Google would interpret this as +Zulu +Translation +Cyst)
  • Zulu Cyst (Ask Jeeves)
  • Zulu+Cyst+Translation
  • “Zulu translation”
  • Zulu and dictionary
  • Cyst