A good offline dictionary is a tool that any blogger or student should have on their computer. And since I'm not a native English speaker my need for a dictionary is even much greater. I've written an article about Artha, a very awesome dictionary -thesaurus. However, the bad thing about Artha is that it only comes with the wordnet dictionary so if you want some dictionaries in other languages than English, Artha cannot meet your need. After trying and testing many offline dictionary applications, I found 2 offline dictionary applications that have many useful features and very easy to use, they are Qstardict and GoldenDict. Here is my brief review and instruction about how to use these 2 dictionary applications. If you are a Linux user and have a need for an offline dictionary application for Linux, this post can be helpful for you.
Qstardict is named after Stardict (arguably the most popular dictionary application for Linux). Qstardict has all the tools that Stardict offers such as full support of StarDict 2.x dictionaries, working in system tray, scanning mouse selection and showing popup window with translation of selected word ( very useful when you read a very long document in foreign languages), translations reformatting, plugins support ... and Qstardict also features integration with text-to-speach services. Furthermore Qstardict is really better and more intuitive than Stardict in my opinion. The settings of Qstardict is much easier and clearer to configure and it doesnt come with the Chinese dictionary by default like Stardict. If you're using Stardict, you wouldnt face any hassle with Qstardict for sure.
To add dictionaries to use Qstardict offline, you can download the dictionaries here then add them to /usr/share/qstardict/dic. The folder /usr/share/qstardict/dic is not created by default so you have to create it first before adding dictionaries. And if you already have Stardict installed, Qstardict can use the dictionaries of Stardict in /urs/share/stardict/dic. After that go to Settings >> Configure Qstardict to choose the dictionaries to use.
GoldenDict supports a lot of dictionary formats, ie StarDict dictionaries, Babylon .BGL files, Dict dictionary files as well as ABBYY Lingvo source files and audio archives. More than that, you can use Wikipedia and Wiktionary with GoldenDict as well. Another feature that I love in GoldenDict is that it can parse and display data from websites, so you can use GoldenDict to look up words in many popular online references, as long as they support URL-based queries. Goldendict also offers the scan popup feature like Stardict and Qstardict. When this feature is enabled, you will have a pop up of a dictionary article for the word that you select, and you can use this function in any application like office or web browsers.
You can download dictionaries for GoldenDict from either the free dictionary library of Babylon or the Stardict library. After downloading the dictionaries, go to Edit >> Dictionaries, switch to the Files section, and add the path to the directory containing dictionary files. Press OK, and GoldenDict will add the dictionary.
- If you are using Ubuntu, you can search and install Qstardict and GoldenDict in the Ubuntu Software Center.
- If you want to use a dictionary in Babylon format (.BGL) with Qstardict, you have to convert this dictionary to stardict format (.ifo). To do so, install a tool named dictconv (if you use Ubuntu or the like distros, just run sudo apt-get install dictconv ) then run the following command in the terminal
dictconv /path/to/input-file.BGL -o /path/to/output-file.ifo
dictconv will convert the babylon dictionary to stardict format. After that, you move the new 3 filles (.dict, .ifo and .idx) to a dedicated folder in /usr/share/stardict/dic or /usr/share/qstardict/dic to use this new dictionary.