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Old 04-27-2011, 07:47 PM   #1
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Dictionary FAQ

Apparently there are a lot of problems with the dictionary support on the kindle fire and the k4s. This FAQ is not valid for them.

since there seem to pop up similar questions about dictionaries quite frequently i decided to write a little faq. maybe it contains some errors, but it might be useful to some people

Q: How does the kindle decide which dictionary to use
A: You can change the primary dictionary under menu -> settings -> menu -> change primary dictionary. This dictionary will be used for every book, with one exception:
Each book has a language-metadata entry. If a book is- say german- and you have a german dictionary on your device it will be used regardless of your dictionary.

Q: How can I look at / change the language metadata of a book.
A: Windows users can install mobihandler which will show the metadata file in your file explorer under properties. (note that dictionaries have a different language metadata which for example shows up in the mobipocket reader)
To change the metadata you best use the gui for the mobi2mobi perl script.

Q:Is it possible to use more than one dictionary for instant lookup at a time
A: No. But it is possible to have instant lookup for a dictionary -> press enter -> instantly look up within this dictionary from another dictionary.

Q: What does with / without inflections mean?
Ordinary dictionaries only show the infintive form of most words. Commercial mobi and prc dictionaries usually know inflections. So if you read: forbade, forbidden,... the dictionary will jump right to forbid)...
Self created dictionaries usually don't know inflections (unless someone has invested a lot of work)

Q: Where can I find dictionaries to buy/download for free
Most commercial dictionaries are drm protected and made for the old mobipocket reader (amazon bought mobipocket, used their software for the kindle and stopped developement on mobipocket).
So one of the best sources still is www.mobipocket.com keep in mind that you have to de-drm all books from that page (but still the best german to english/italian/spanish/french and vice-versa dicts- ). And of course the obvious www.amazon.com.

For free dictionaries look at this post:

Additionally:
Webster 1913: (according to arno schmitt it's fundamental to use a dictionary of the same era with the book you're reading- So I yearn to get this german classic on the kindle )
Some people even wrote inflections for their free dictionaries:
Spanish-English
French-romanian / English Romanian


Amazon has a free version of the quite extensive Duden Universalwörterbuch (german-german)- which you can download freely to your PC with kindle for PC. (They are having technical difficulties with the kindles themselves though). The downloaded book in this case is DRM protected and needs to be de-drm before it can be read on your kindle.

This list is not complete at all- just google

Q: Is it possible to create my own dictionary
Yes. If you have a tab deliminated txt file, or a stardict dictionary it's quite easy.
And the mobipocket guide:


Q: Where can I find a chinese/japanese dictionary?
A: While it is possible with the fonthack to display chinese and japanese fonts, it has been reported that dictionaries don't really work. Your best bet is the duokan firmware, which has stardict dictionary support.

Q: Is there dictionary support for pdf
The kindle 3 has dictionary support for pdf, the kindle 2 doesn't, but there's a hack for putting the firmware of the kindle 3 on your kindle 2

Q: Is it possible to use the dictionaries I have purchased for my kindle (or elsewhere) on my Android device / Iphone?
If your dictionaries are DRM-free there is one possibilty I know of (please post if you know any other):
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...1&postcount=10
(I don't know how well this works with dicts purchased in the amazon store, you have to de-drm and probably rename to .prc and then it may work)

Last edited by stehk; 09-21-2012 at 07:53 AM.
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Old 04-27-2011, 08:03 PM   #2
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Some very good info.

Thankyou.
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Old 04-30-2011, 11:42 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stehk View Post
since there seem to pop up similar questions about dictionaries quite frequently i decided to write a little faq. maybe it contains some errors, but it might be useful to some people
Thanks for this excellent FAQ

Quote:
Originally Posted by stehk View Post
Q: How does the kindle decide which dictionary to use
A: You can change the primary dictionary under menu -> settings -> menu -> change primary dictionary. This dictionary will be used for every book, with one exception:
Each book has a language-metadata entry. If a book is- say german- and you have a german dictionary on your device it will be used regardless of your dictionary.
Well, I am still a bit struggling with this, an unable to pinpoint my problem:

- On my Kindle Wi-Fi 3.1 I have loaded several dictionaries and books in different languages.

- My default dictionary is the builtin English American dictionary.

- When I read books in french or english, the expected dictionary is automaticaly invoked. Good.

- When I read books in spanish or german (though I don't realy speak these languages I wanted to test further) only the default english dictionary is invoked. Bad.

I used Mobihandler and Mobi2Mobi to document the language metadata of the books and dictionaries. I think they indeed match:

FRENCH:
Dic:Click image for larger version

Name:	dictionnaire academie francaise Littre 1 - Mobipocket.com.prc Mobihandler (Français France).jpg
Views:	1083
Size:	29.5 KB
ID:	70731 Click image for larger version

Name:	dictionnaire academie francaise Littre 1 - Mobipocket.com.prc Mobi2Mobi (1036-12-1 French).jpg
Views:	924
Size:	117.4 KB
ID:	70730Book: Click image for larger version

Name:	Souvenirs D'enfance Tome 1 _ La Gloire  - Marcel Pagnol.mobi Mobihandler (Français France).jpg
Views:	830
Size:	35.0 KB
ID:	70733Click image for larger version

Name:	Souvenirs D'enfance Tome 1 _ La Gloire  - Marcel Pagnol.mobi Mobi2Mobir (12-12-0 French).jpg
Views:	789
Size:	140.1 KB
ID:	70732

SPANISH:
Dic: Click image for larger version

Name:	Dictionaire EGC_Spanish_English V0.1.prc Mobihandler (Espagnol Espagne).jpg
Views:	845
Size:	30.7 KB
ID:	70735Click image for larger version

Name:	Dictionaire EGC_Spanish_English V0.1.prc Mobi2Mobi (1034-10-1 Spanish).jpg
Views:	838
Size:	139.2 KB
ID:	70734Book: Click image for larger version

Name:	Don Quijote - Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra .mobi Mobihandler (Espagnol Espagne).jpg
Views:	764
Size:	32.0 KB
ID:	70737Click image for larger version

Name:	Don Quijote - Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra .mobi Mobi2Mobi (1034-10-1 Spanish).jpg
Views:	738
Size:	126.1 KB
ID:	70736

GERMAN:
Dic:Click image for larger version

Name:	Dictionaire German-English - Michael Sheldon.mobi Mobihandler (Allemand Allemagne).jpg
Views:	895
Size:	28.8 KB
ID:	70739Click image for larger version

Name:	Dictionaire German-English - Michael Sheldon.mobi Mobi2Mobi (1031-7-1 German).jpg
Views:	837
Size:	113.5 KB
ID:	70738Book:Click image for larger version

Name:	Beobachtungen uber Oesterreichs Aufklaru - Aloys Blumauer.mobi Mobihandler (Allemand Allemagne).jpg
Views:	849
Size:	33.0 KB
ID:	70744 Click image for larger version

Name:	Beobachtungen uber Oesterreichs Aufklaru - Aloys Blumauer.mobi Mobi2Mobi (1031-7-1 German).jpg
Views:	775
Size:	130.8 KB
ID:	70743

ENGLISH:
Dic:Click image for larger version

Name:	The_New_Oxford_American_Dictionary.azw Mobihandler (Anglais États-Unis).jpg
Views:	886
Size:	30.8 KB
ID:	70741Click image for larger version

Name:	The_New_Oxford_American_Dictionary.azw Mobi2Mobi (1033-9-1 English US).jpg
Views:	903
Size:	131.5 KB
ID:	70740

Could that be the definition dictionaries are switched to automatically but not the translation ones? Or additional metadata that I am missing? Or... a bug in the Kindle software?
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Old 04-30-2011, 02:20 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stehk View Post
Q: How does the kindle decide which dictionary to use
A: You can change the primary dictionary under menu -> settings -> menu -> change primary dictionary. This dictionary will be used for every book, with one exception:
Each book has a language-metadata entry. If a book is- say german- and you have a german dictionary on your device it will be used regardless of your dictionary.
So what happens if you have more than one German dictionary? Which one gets used?
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Old 05-01-2011, 09:53 AM   #5
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...Or additional metadata that I am missing?
I solved my own problem.

From http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/MOBI I noticed in that in the MOBI header, at offsets 96 and 100 are the input and output languages for dictionaries.

It seems that Mobi2Mobi is reporting the language locale field at offset 92 and ignores the two next fields.

I then used a Hex editor to patch these fields in my spanish dictionary to 1034 1034 and in my german dictionary to 1031 1031 (replicating the language locale field indicated by Mobi2Mobi from offset 92).

Now all my dictionaries are switched to properly depending on the language locale of the book read.
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Old 05-01-2011, 06:22 PM   #6
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yes, I obviously didn't point that out clear enough in the faq.
There is the metadata entry for a book, and a metadata entry for the dictionary.
Someone even wrote a little program to automate the changing of the dictionary metadata (though only english, romanian and french are supported if i remember right)

A dictionary of course has the normal metadata language of the book as well. You can use this property for instant lookup within a dictionary from another dictionary. see link in faq

- harry
It just picks any of them. I don't have any idea what the criteria are and it's quite annoying.
I had to change all the language data of my german- spanish/english/... dictionaries to romanian- so they don't interfere.

Last edited by stehk; 05-01-2011 at 06:24 PM.
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:12 AM   #7
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I routinely read books in four different languages, and half the time the ebook and dictionary languages are incorrectly matched. So, I might be interested in creating a huge multi-dictionary that will contain headwords for all languages. The question is, how big is too big for a kindle/mobipocket dictionary? Will there be noticeable lag if it's four times as big as the default dictionary?
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:13 AM   #8
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I routinely read books in four different languages, and half the time the ebook and dictionary languages are incorrectly matched. So, I might be interested in creating a huge multi-dictionary that will contain headwords for all languages. The question is, how big is too big for a kindle/mobipocket dictionary? Will there be noticeable lag if it's four times as big as the default dictionary?
When that occurs, the best thing to do is to edit the metadata for the book and set the correct language ID for it. This is very easy to do in Calibre.
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:43 AM   #9
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I Know, but I 'd rather skip the continuous hassle. Plus, what's the point of using timesavers like instapaper or sendtokindle, if you have to go through calibre anyway?
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Old 10-29-2011, 07:07 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by PoP View Post
I solved my own problem.

From http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/MOBI I noticed in that in the MOBI header, at offsets 96 and 100 are the input and output languages for dictionaries.

It seems that Mobi2Mobi is reporting the language locale field at offset 92 and ignores the two next fields.

I then used a Hex editor to patch these fields in my spanish dictionary to 1034 1034 and in my german dictionary to 1031 1031 (replicating the language locale field indicated by Mobi2Mobi from offset 92).

Now all my dictionaries are switched to properly depending on the language locale of the book read.
can you tell me how you find the right offset that determined the language meta data. my is just like this
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Old 10-29-2011, 10:01 AM   #11
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Counting from the "MOBI" character string at offset 16 and adding 76 one finds 3 fields of 4 bytes each in your attached screen capture:
at offset 92 x'0009' this is the language the book is written into (english),
at offset 96 x'0009', for dictionaries this is the language you are translating from (english) and,
at offset 100 x'0009' the language you are translating to (english) meaning, I guess, this is not a translation but a definition dictionary.
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Old 10-29-2011, 02:55 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by PoP View Post
Counting from the "MOBI" character string at offset 16 and adding 76 one finds 3 fields of 4 bytes each in your attached screen capture:
at offset 92 x'0009' this is the language the book is written into (english),
at offset 96 x'0009', for dictionaries this is the language you are translating from (english) and,
at offset 100 x'0009' the language you are translating to (english) meaning, I guess, this is not a translation but a definition dictionary.
thank you very much. I succeed understand this wiki said http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/MOBI#MOBI_Header and I also found why '09' meaning English, because it's Locale IDs Assigned by Microsoft, find more at this
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Old 11-04-2011, 06:46 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by stehk View Post

Q: Where can I find dictionaries to buy/download for free
Most commercial dictionaries are drm protected and made for the old mobipocket reader (amazon bought mobipocket, used their software for the kindle and stopped developement on mobipocket).
So one of the best sources still is www.mobipocket.com keep in mind that you have to de-drm all books from that page (but still the best german to english/italian/spanish/french and vice-versa dicts- ). And of course the obvious www.amazon.com.

I am looking for a german->spanish dictionary for kindle, but Amazon does not have any in the list of "default dictionaries".

From all the comments above, I believe that I can buy the dictionary from mobipocket, perhaps I have to edit some data with Calibre, and then I can do instant lookup in the dictionary when I am reading a german book.

¿Did I understand correctly?
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Old 11-04-2011, 10:59 AM   #14
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From all the comments above, I believe that I can buy the dictionary from mobipocket, perhaps I have to edit some data with Calibre, and then I can do instant lookup in the dictionary when I am reading a german book. ¿Did I understand correctly?
As long as the Mobipocket dictionary uses only Latin characters, it will work as a Kindle lookup dictionary. German definitely works, so does Spanish.
All you have to do is remove the DRM. No further editing with Calibre is required. However, some advanced Mobipocket features such as fuzzy searches are not supported by the Kindle.
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Old 11-05-2011, 10:01 AM   #15
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Doitsu,

thanks a lot.
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