Sunday, January 17, 2010

A free and open Spanish to English Kindle dictionary

The Kindle's default The New Oxford American Dictionary can be changed or swapped in and out at anytime with another one via Menu/Settings options.  But they have to be set up to use the Amazon's status line for definitions and with the special Kindle formatting for an inline dictionary.

A really good example of what can be done and what is available to us at no added cost is the Spanish to English Kindle-formatted Dictionary created by Dave Slusher AKA "The Evil Genius"

Slusher describes how he got this to work and offers it for download free at his webpage, and although I could just give that link direct here I'd rather people go there and read about his work on this.  He adds:
' In order to use it, place it on your Kindle via USB or emailling it to your device. Go to “Home->Menu->Settings”, then “Menu->Change Primary Dictionary.” From that point, moving the cursor over a word will work like the dictionary used to with definitions, but with English translations of Spanish words. '
He cautions that these are machine-generated translations and that he did find and scrubbed "some bogus racist translations" inserted online and that there may be other "erroneous or malicious terms" that wind up in this dictionary.
' Over time I might try to find ways to improve this file, continue to fill out the dictionary word list and maybe even improve the translations that are already there. Keep watching this blog for future revisions. '
So bookmark his webpage if you use his dictionary and want updates on it.
  He also offers to do this for the Nook but needs directions on how to do that and some Nook volunteers.  He also has a very thorough review of his experience with the Nook, which he wants to like more.  It is almost exactly my own experience, and I hope B&N improves it later on as I'd get one for ePub files (instead of converting the files to Kindle format) if they do.

Anyway, his Spanish-to-English article also highlights how easy it is to swap another dictionary, when wanted, that has been pre-formatted for the Kindle. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle

(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!


  1. Hi,

    I'm looking for a good English to French dictionary for my Kindle. I know that there is one into the Kindle Store, but it has bad evalution.



  2. I am a new Kindle owner and just discovered your blog so if you have addressed this before I apologize. Do you know if there is a similar dictionary for English to German translations? And when might we get downloads for German language books?

  3. Anonymous,
    Questions are welcome.

    I hadn't addressed it and don't know but it's probably not been done yet. With his description of the process needed, it's more likely to happen now but it's a lot of work.

    As for German language books, I imagine it's a matter of the publishers contacting Amazon and readying Kindle-versions of their books for sale at Amazon. Publishers do the conversion work with help by Amazon staff, from what I read.

    Hope you're enjoying your new Kindle!

  4. Great! I love this! I'll have to download this. Could be very helpful in my job. I work with a lot of temp employees that Spanish is their first language with them knowing almost no English. Every now and then I get stuck on a word.

    Also thanks for the link for the Nook/Kindle comparison. Still really happy with my Kindle and so far it looks like I make the right choice. :)

  5. Igotnothing,
    Yes, you could use it as your inline dictionary (which would translate words on a page) or you could just open it up, search on a word and get the English equivalent. Not sure if it works in reverse though.

    Glad you're enjoying the Kindle. I still am, though always interested in looking at what else is out there...

  6. Hi, this is a incredible useful blog! Thank you, Andrys!

    Maybe someone could help me here. I followed the instructions but it didn't work!

    1.Download the dictionary, named EGC_Spanish_English_Dictionary_V0.1.prc and put it on my kindle.
    2.Home > Menu > clicked on Settings > and then Menu again but change Primary dictionary does not appears anywhere!!! Maybe I've missed something? Please, help cause I need it so badly! thanks!

  7. Anonymous,
    Re the dictionary:

    Are you by chance using a Kindle 1 ?

    If so, it's under Menu/Settings on that model.

    It's labeled "Primary Dictionary"

    You'd have to have the alternate dictionary on your Kindle and it would need to be formatted to work with the Kindle dictionary process. The Spanish one mentioned is.

    You click on 'Change' and it should be listed on that submenu.

    Now, if you have Kindle 2 or DX, then it really should be under Menu Button, Settings, Menu button. It's on my K2 and DX.

    Hope you figure it out. Let me know.

  8. Thank you for your kind answer, Andrys. I'm using a brand new Kindle 2. Should I convert the .prc format? I don't think so. Should the dictionary be placed where specifically? First I've put it inside documents, then I've try just inside kindle drive. none of this worked. It's pretty weird, that's the very first thing I could not managed to work on my kindle. I have to admit that I've noticed a weird behavior sometimes, for example, kindle has one time just restarted out of the blue. Maybe I should Reset to Factory? In this case, I will lost my files? thank you a lot.

  9. Anonymous,
    I'd go to Menu button /Settings and look at "Restart" (NOT 'reset' though).

    The "Restart" is normally 2 lines below "Change Primary Dictionary" -- Is yours gray'd out ?

    Anyway, click on Restart. Maybe it'll wake up the Kindle as far as the change-dictionary status is concerned.

    From what I remember, it goes inside the 'documents' folder, yes.

    When the Kindle's memory is a little short due to a lot of activity and caching, it will tend to reboot itself now and then.

    Oooh... NEVER 'reset to factory' unless you have Customer Support on the phone. You'd have to put all your books back.

    Just press Restart.

    If after it's back to life and you go back to that sub-menu, IF the "Change Primary Dictionary" option is not there, dark font and all, then it would be good to call Kindle customer support:

    Normally, I'd ask you to ask the author of the dictionary -- I've given links to his page and he supports that feature.

    But the option should be on your menu, so do the RESTART first. (Not reset)

    Good luck!

  10. It worked! Although I'm not sure how. First I restarted my kindle and then downloaded again the dic and put it into document. But maybe, somehow, I've put a corrupted file the first time. Anyway, you helped me solve this! thaks you a lot!

  11. Anonymous,
    It might have been a corrupted file, except that you couldn't see the Change Primary Dictionary option. So it might have been a temporarily confused Kindle :-)

    Congratulations on sticking with it. Glad it's working for you now !

  12. Is there a way to use it as an English to Spanish dictionary ?

  13. This is great! Keep up the good work!

  14. The Spanish English Dictionary from "The Evil Genius" is pretty simple and limited.
    I prefer the "New Dictionary Hispano Spanish English v2.0" it's a great help for reading spanish texts...

  15. For those of you with a Kindle 4 or higher I have updated the dictionary of the "Evil Genius".
    You can find it here:

  16. Hi Andrys, I am new to my kindle so my question may be simple. I want to use it as I travel Mexico as a spanish translater with out having to be online. Is there a product for my kindle? Thanks...Kim

    1. Kim, this particular dictionary works offline after you get it. But, it's just a dictionary...

      There are gadgets that are dedicated to only doing translations between various languages and I used one when I travelled to Peru. The one I used (in 1997) was replaced by something else. Amazon has several if you search on "translators" in Electronics and the one which receives highest average rating is the - a Spanish-English device, and it seems reasonably priced.

      Hope that might help.


NOTE: TO AVOID SPAM being posted instantly, this blog uses the "DELAY" feature.

Am often away much of the day, and postings won't show up right away. Posts done to use referrer-links may never show up.

Usually, am online enough to release comments within a day though, so the hard-to-read match-text tests for commenting won't be needed this way.

Feedback and questions are welcome. Thanks for participating.

Technical Problems?
If you're having problems leaving a Comment, Google's blogger-help asks that you clear the '' cookies on your browser's Tools or Options menu bar and that will fix the Comment-box problems (until they have a permanent fix).

IF that doesn't work either, then UNcheck the "keep me signed in" box -- Google-help says that should allow your comment to post (it's a workaround to a current bug).
Apologies for the problems.

TIP: There's a size limit. If longer than 3500 characters or so, in a text editor, make two posts out of it.

[Valid RSS]