No translation can perhaps ever be satisfactory, nor is an authorized or standard version possible. You may use any of the following. Those by Yusuf Ali and Muhammad Asad provide short explanatory notes too, some of which are quite valuable.
The Meaning of the Glorious Koran: An Explanatory Translation, by Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall.
The Holy Qur'an: Text, Translation and Commentary, by Abdullah Yusuf Ali.
The Message of the Qur'an, translated and explained by Muhammad Asad.
The Koran Interpreted, by Arthur J. Arberry.
No really good commentary of the full Qur'an is available in the English language which can be unhesitatingly recommended to a beginner. The following may be found useful, in addition to some partial commentaries like those by Syed Qutb, Abul Kalam Azad, which are not listed here but may provide some insights.
The Meaning of the Qur'an by Sayyid Abul A'la Mawdudi.
Tafsirul Qur'an: Translation and Commentary, Vols. I-III (complete), by Abdul Majid Daryabadi.
Arabic-English Lexicon, by E. W. Lane, based on by far the best Arabic dictionary, Lisan al-'Arab, should be of great help.
Al-Mu'jam al-Mufahras li Alfaz al-Qur'an al-Karim, by Muhammad Fu'ad al-Baqi.
You can locate any part of the Qur'an if you remember just one word, but you should have the ability to find the root of that word.
A good introductory book is:
'Ulum al-Qur'an: An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'an by Ahmad von Denffer.