January 31, 2016 — January 24, 2019


Especially: translation dictionaries.

Weirdly hard to get decent translation dictionaries that integrate into your device/OS of choice. Most electronic dictionary companies prefer to sell you an overblown, overpriced piece of custom software with an inferior user experience and that doesn’t run on your smartphone, rather than just selling you a dictionary data file for one of the dictionary applications that comes built in to your OS.

I don’t want more dictionary software, I want a dictionary data file for my existing software.

NB, the rate at which dictionary sites appear and disappear is suggestive of some nasty intellectual property disputes going on here. Check with the laws of your local jurisdiction before downloading and/or converting fiels whose origina you don’t know. And beware of the risks of software of unknown pedigree.

1 Translation dictionary sources

2 Conversion

  • xdxf I think is now the anointed white hat dictionary conversion format.
  • Stardict, the original dictionary format conversion tool, has been shut down a few times now in aforementioned intellectual property disputes about companies who would rather sell you unsatisfactory software than an actual dictionary
  • goldendict is a successor to the beleaguered stardict (Linux, Windows, especially Russian-friendly)
  • lingaea converts some dictionary formats too. (especially Czech-friendly)
  • makedict is trying to unify all the standards.
  • pyglossary is the no-fuss python converter. Seems to work well, so long as you avoid the GUI, which is a nightmare horrorvoid, so turn it off using --ui=cmd. This is the one I ended up using.

2.1 Apple

~/Software/pyglossary/pyglossary.pyw --ui=cmd \
  --read-options=resPath=OtherResources \
  --write-format=AppleDict \
  Duden_Synonym.BGL Duden_Synonym.xml
make install

2.2 Kindle

3 Spelling dictionaries

You don’t need definitions? Try this free spelling dictionary list.