How to use a bilingual dictionary?
It’s really not that simple…

1) Do you have a decent dictionary?

What you must have:

                  i.e. CULIN. means the context is food.  If you’re writing about base-ball, look further, SPORT maybe, or even BASE-BALL. One student used the word for batter (“ pancake batter”) while meaning baseball batter.  Also a strike (base-ball) ended up being a strike (workers on strike for higher wages)
                   i.e: the word to translate “suit” in French is different if you are talking about a “wedding suit” or a “diving suit”.  Good dictionary will give you contexts, or type of situations when these words would be used.

2) How to look up a word?

      YOU are the computer deciding which definition to use. 

                  i.e.: Do not put the equivalent of “a squash” when you really want to say “ to squash” , unless you want to entertain the teacher.

                  i.e. “diving suit”: the main word (noun) here is “suit”, try to find the “diving” context into the “ suit” entry.  If this is not successful, go to the other word.                                      Same for verbs, i.e: se rendre compte, the main verb is “ rendre”, “ compte”  is just hanging behind, find “ se rendre compte” under “ rendre”.
                                           i.e.:  “avoir besoin”, look up “ avoir” and find it in combination with “ besoin”.

                                          For a noun: maybe you are looking for an irregular plural = (un cheval/ des chevaux).   Nouns are usually close enough to find.

                  i.e.: in English if you read: “ he gives in” and looked up “ give” and “ in” separately, it would not make any sense.  They work together (= same for “ se rendre compte” )
                  i.e.: if you look up “ frog”, “throat”, and still cannot figure out what “ having a frog in your throat”  means.  This is an idiom, it should be found in your dictionary somewhere in the “ frog”  and/or  “throat entry”

                  i.e.: parler à quelqu’un (= to talk to someone) / parler de quelqu’un (to talk about someone)/ parler pour quelqu’ un (to talk for/ in the name of someone)


3) Other examples of mistranslation (intermediate/advanced level):

 Swim team= (wrong translation :  équipe de nager).  Swim is a verb, you cannot have a verb (nager) as a noun complement in French, find out the noun equivalent of swimming= natation, therefore: équipe de natation

Community pool= (wrong translation: “ étang de communauté” ) beware of shortened words.  A pool in English is a natural pond, which is how this would get translated by electronic dictionary.  What you mean is “ swimming pool” = “ piscine”.
Community pool: try to simplify, rephrase with words you are sure about: town swimming pool= la piscine de la ville.  Set phrases that sound really good and natural in English might sound awkward in French.  What we would say for community pool is “piscine municipale”.  You might not find that in the dictionary and don’t have to, just think about what a community pool simply means.  SIMPLIFY.

 “ I will look after the pool, life-guard and teach classes.”   (wrong translation: je regarderai la piscine, maître-nageur et enseigner des classes.)
            There are three verbs here (to look after, to life-guard, to teach).  These 3 verbs are conjugated in the future (will..), and have the same subject (I).  When you translate you need to find the equivalent of these 3 verbs and conjugate them in the future with the same subject (in the wrong translation, the last verb “enseigner”is left in the infinitive).              “to look after” is a set phrase, you need to find not just the translation of “ to look” (= regarder) , but the translation of “ to look after”(=surveiller). 
            “ to life-guard” is a noun turned into a verb.  It might be difficult to find a direct one-word translation for this verb.  If you only find the noun, maybe make up a sentence (= to be a lifeguard)
(good translation: je surveillerai la piscine, serai le maître nageur et enseignerai des classes)