dict.cc - an great open translation alternative to slow Leo
Wednesday October 18th 2006, 13:14h
Filed under: ETH Zürich, FLOSS

Using Leo for a couple of years already I’ve probably looked up a thousand words for English-German translation and synomyn consulting. Recently however, the service is getting slower due to its huge traffic. Also I’ve found words not very well explained at Leo. So I looked for a better alternative of this service and, happily, found one: dict.cc - It’s really a fascinating project, organized following the open content paradigm already successfully running Wikipedia. Originally financed through donations, the translation service is now completely self-sustaining through Google web ads. And in its context it’s a huge project: dict.cc already comprises almost half a million translated words and expressions, adding over 8000 monthly - at an increasing growing rate! Also the lookup rate of now over 700′000 a day is growing steadily, except during summer vacations ;) So for the following reasons I believe it’s even better than Leo:

    1. As I said, I experienced dict.cc doing faster lookups than Leo (at least at certain times a day)
    2. Often more synonyms, e.g. “impediment” in dict.cc and in Leo leads to diverging results, which is also supported by the number of translated words: currently 467′145 in dict.cc vs. 425′808 in Leo
    3. Wikipedia style open content paradigm including community voting and credit mechanism
    4. Offline Java version of the dictionary with downloadable text file (although somehow only about half of the words are included) and open source application elcombri (found at netzwelt.de) - unfortunately no offline PDA version is available yet
    5. Offering alternative lookups of words in Leo, Wikipedia, Google etc.
    6. Web Ads can be turned off

    So far, initiator Paul Hemetsberger hasn’t started yet French and Spanish translations such as in Leo, however, he’s planning it as soon he’s confident of the working English-German translation part. Looking at the numbers at least I’m convinced he can do it.

      2 Comments so far
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      a random check with a slightly obscure English word revealed no quality difference: both leo and dict.cc don’t feature the verb for providing incentives: to incent … well, we use it :-)

      Comment by stefan 10.20.06 @ 8:12h

      However, in dict.cc you’ve the possibility to contribute “to incent” to the database and have it reviewed by others. That’s the power of open content!

      Comment by matthias 10.20.06 @ 9:58h

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