Since I’ve been doing more French-English translations lately, I decided to invest in a CD-ROM dictionary instead of a standard paper dictionary. Wordreference.com is of course a great online resource but I wanted something more.
Le Grand Robert & Collins French/English CD-ROM Dictionary contains 425,000 entries, all with standard IPA pronunciation and plenty of sample phrases and expressions. You can also listen to the pronunciation of about 15,000 French words. It is possible to search for phrases instead of individual words, though you must spell everything correctly because no suggested words or entries appear as you type. You can copy & paste from the entries as well as double click on another word that you would like to look up and it will take you automatically to that entry.
Also included are 15,000 entries of business vocabulary, a guide d’expressions which provides many set phrases for communicating (opinions, preferences, apologies, etc.), cultural notes mostly about France, common proverbs (which are included in regular dictionary entries as well) and some PDF files in the Help section on verb conjugations; numbers, time and dates; and weights, measurements and temperatures.
This CD-ROM is a bit expensive at amazon.com ($190 USD) but slightly less at amazon.ca ($96 CAD / $91 USD) so Americans might want to just pay for the extra shipping from Canada. At amazon.fr the price is 67€ / $86 USD but they only ship within the EU. There are also versions from 2007 and 2003, which I’ve heard are nearly identical to each other, but I don’t know how different they are from this latest edition.