SerbDict - Serbian-English Dictionary

I've highlighted a few language programs in this column, but so far they've been for Japanese, Chinese and German—all languages spoken by large populations. So a dictionary program for a language like Serbian jumped right out at me. According to the SourceForge page: "Serbian Dictionary is a bidirectional Serbian-English dictionary. It currently contains only a command-line interface. It supports only *nix-based operating systems at this moment. Tested on Linux, *BSD and Cygwin."

SerbDict lets you translate words from English to Serbian and vice versa.

Here's a search involving Serbian to English and a search involving both languages simultaneously.


I found only a source tarball at the Web site at the time of this writing, although the installation still is quite easy. Also, the home page is in Serbian, and I had to use a translator (Chrome's translator handled this well). The download page at least is called "Download", so that was easy. The download page takes you to a basic SourceForge file list, which should be localized into your own language.

Grab the latest tarball, extract it, and open a terminal in the new folder. Compiling this program is easy, just enter:

$ make

If your distro uses sudo, enter:

$ sudo make install

And, if your distro uses root, enter:

$ su # make install


Using SerbDict also is very easy (at least, once I'd translated the documentation). If you want to translate something from English into Serbian, enter:

$ serbdict -e word

If you want to translate a Serbian word into English, enter:

$ serbdict -s word

SerbDict appears to query a database of words and terms, and it outputs everything, including extensions of your queried word. For instance, querying the word "entire" gave me not only translations for entire, but also for entirely and entirety.

If you speak Serbian (and I don't), there's a man page with instructions on how to extend the program, available with the command:

$ man serbdict

One thing I managed to pick up from the man page is that if you skip the -s and -e extensions, any query you make will output any matches in both English and Serbian at the same time.

Below your outputted text will be a message saying, "Ukupno: x prevoda". After querying those words, it turns out Ukupno means altogether. And although "prevoda" didn't return any matches, prevod means rendering, translation or version, so I'm guessing prevoda would be some kind of plural form of these words.

Well, that covers Serbian, but if anyone has written a program for a really rare or dying language, send me an e-mail. I'd love to cover it.

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