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Translation Dictionaries

This section of the site is for accessing and developing translating dictionaries that relate to Tetun. Translating dictionaries usually provide simple "mappings" between words from one language to another.

There are a number of dictionary formats in general use. Here things are organised by language groups. Initially we are concentrating on "dictd" format translating dictionaries.

If you would like to develop any Tetum dictionaries in an Open Source/ Free Software Format please contact us via the mailing lists. There is greatest need for Tetum to/from English, Tetum to/from Portuguese, Tetum to/from Bahasa Indonesian. Mappings for the other regional languages and dialects used in Timor would also be of immediate use. Portuguese mappings are probably most critical. As an interim measure installing a portuguese < > english dictionary is probably the only simple option. (See the FreeDict links below.)

So far we have a working "dictd format" version of a Tetum < > English dictionary. Hopefully this will also be found on the freedict servers soon.(as a package )

http://www.dict.org/bin/Dict Takes you to the Dict server site

http://www.freedict.de/ Leads you to the Freedict servers.

http://luetzschena-stahmeln.de/dictd/index.php links to list of dictd servers.

The Tetum < > English dictd format files (and install instructions) are here.

Software Requirements

Before you can sensibly use these you need to have a dictionary server running. Dictd (the Dictionary Daemon) is the default but there are others that support the applicable protocols. e.g. Serpento also works well and provides full UTF-8/16 support. (these have been tested on both). All Linux and FreeBSD systems should have prebuilt binaries for easy install.

e.g. Debian GNU/Linux : apt-get install serpento (or dictd) (or use your favorite GUI package manager).

Installing The Translating Dictionary

Eventually we will release binaries and src packages (RPM and DEBS) for this but it is practical to install directly (and it doesn't hurt your package management system).

There are two phases to the process:

  1. Download the packages and unpack any compressed sets. (.zip .bzip2 or .tar.gzip) files.
  2. Read any README file it will contain more up to date information than given here.
  3. Copy the .dict AND the .index files to the common "dictionary store". Adminstrator permissions required. (or write access at least)
This is usually /usr/share/dictd/ or /usr/local/share/dictd/ on Linux type systems. End phase one.

Next we need to tell the dictd server (or serpento) that some new dictionaries are about.
So from a command line within the "dictd store" and with admin permissions:

  1. dictdconfig -l
  2. Check your new dictionaries are listed in the report... OK ? Then:
  3. dictdconfig -w
  4. Next you need to reload the config file that dictdconfig just wrote...
  5. /etc/init.d/serpento stop
  6. /etc/init.d/serpento start

You will need to restart/ reload the server in a way that's appropriate to your system... (and there are more things to tweak if you like or require :)

So now we just need to test it. Exit the administrator level terminal and as a normal user type
dict uma
All being well you should see something like this:

Fri Jan 09 pete@petesbox ~ $ dict uma

From tet-eng-dictionary [tet-eng-dictionary]:


From freedict-por-eng [freedict-por-eng]:


The second entry is a match from the portuguese dictionary. (Actually there were many more I cheated and edited them out. (apt-cache search dict))

There are graphical interfaces for all the popular desktop environments. Gnome GTK+ etc.

Finally I should note that you really should read the manual files for the server you are installing and the system documentation for running services on your machine.

Someday soon the Tetum dictionaries will also be available online where you can access them with your browser.

If somebody asks I will write install scripts to automate most of this.. meantime Happy Hacking .. Pete.

Need Help ? [ Mail Us :Tetum-translatorsIHAnongnuDOTorg ] [ Last modified: Sun May 30 21:49:34 CST 2004 ]