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TranslateIt! - Multilingual Dictionary for Mac OS X

Short TranslateIt! FAQ

Q: What is TranslateIt!?
A: TranslateIt! is the Dictionary engine with teaching features.

Q: Can I use TranslateIt! to translate words?
A: Yes.

Q: Can I use StarDict dictionaries in TranslateIt!?
A: Yes. TranslateIt! uses the same dictionary format as StarDict.

Q: Can I increase font size in the floating popup window?
A: Yes. Run the following command in the Terminal:
defaults write ru.DeepIT.TIDaemon WebKitMinimumFontSize -int 14

Q: Where can I download StarDict dictionaries from?
A: Here:, and, and

Q: Can I build my own dictionary?
A: Yes. You can create your own dictionaries using the integrated DictBuilder utility.

Q: What dictionary types are supported by TranslateIt!?

Q: What is .DICT?
A: .DICT is a StarDict dictionary, it comes with an .IDX and an optional .IFO file.

Q: Can I use .DICT files without .IDX?
A: No. An .IDX file contains entries index for a corresponding .DICT file. A .DICT file can not be used without a corresponding .IDX file.

Q: What is .MDICT?
A: .MDICT is a TranslateIt! bundle that contains .MDICT's (recursive, like super bundle), .DICT's and .IDX's files with an optional mdict.plist file.

Q: What is TranslateIt! bundle?
A: It is just a Mac OS X folder with the .mdict extension.
It looks like a single file, because the .MDICT file extension is associated with TranslateIt!.

Q: What is mdict.plist file?
A: mdict.plist files are standard PList files (XML) associated with PList Editor. mdict.plist files can be optionally placed inside a .MDICT bundle.

Q: What do mdict.plist files contain?
A: They contain information on dictionary names (aliases), dictionary group descriptions,
dictionary options (like RTL writing), format descriptions, and other information about dictionaries.

Q: Where can I find examples of .MDICT dictionaries?
A: On TranslateIt! 'Dictionaries' page (see BSE, XMLittre, English-Persian, English-Arabic).

Q: What is TranslateIt! MM-dictionary?
A: MM-dictionaries contain an additional .EXT-folder with multimedia content (sounds, images, movies, documents, etc.)

Q: I have .DICT.DZ or .IDX.DZ files, can I use them in TranslateIt!?
A: No. You have to first unpack them: Change the file extension from .DZ to .GZ, and then unpack it using the Mac OS X built-in BOMArchive helper.

Q: I have downloaded a new TranslateIt! dictionary. How do I install it?
A: You can assign .MDICT and .DICT file associations to TranslateIt! and then just double-click a dictionary file in Finder,
drag & drop a dictionary onto TranslateIt! Dock icon, TranslateIt! main window, or the Active Area Zone, or, in TranslateIt! Preferences window, select the Dictionaries tab, and then the Add Dictionary button ([+]).

Q: How can I translate a desired word?
A: Here are some ways:
  • Select a word and drag & drop it onto TranslateIt! main window or Active Zone.
  • Copy a word to the clipboard, then switch to TranslateIt! and, from the Edit menu, choose Translate Clipboard, or just use this feature's keyboard shortcut - Shift+Commad+C.
  • Select a word, then use the Services/TranslateIt! menu. You can even use the global translation hotkey within Cocoa applications.
  • When a word's meanings is displayed, double-click another word you want to be translated.

Q: What is DSL?
A: DSL is the dictionary development format developed by ABBYY.

Q: Can I use DSL dictionaries in TranslateIt!?
A: Yes. You can use DictBuilder to make native dictionary files from DSL sources. The DictBuilder utility is the integral part of TranslateIt!.

Q: What are Plain, HTML, Plain/HT?
A: These are dictionary formats descriptions used in TranslateIt! Preferences. They are needed for proper word searches and entry rendering.

Q: When is the Plain format used?
A: Plain is used for plain text dictionaries - most of StarDict dictionaries.

Q: When is the HTML format used?
A: HTML is used for dictionaries with HTML tags inside.

Q: When is the Plain/HT format used?
A: Plain/HT is used for dictionaries with HTML tags, but when line breaks inside entries have to be interpreted as <br> tags.

Q: What are Dec/PL, Dec/HT, Dec/PHT?
A: These are advanced dictionary formats corersponding to Plain, HTML, and Plain/HT formats, but for dictionaries built in DictBuilder.
Dec/* types are used, because DictBuilder produces dictionaries with decomposed words.

Q: Why does TranslateIt! use decomposition and Dec/* formats?
A: Decomposition is used for some UTF-8 characters to make dictionaries less sensitive to UTF-8 encoding variations.
TranslateIt! uses decomposition provided by the HFS+ file system.

Q: Does TranslateIt! support Arabic-like (RTL writing) languages?
A: Partially.

Q: What is the XDXF format?
A: This is the XML-based dictionary format. See for details.

Q: How can I use an XDXF dictionary in TranslateIt!?
A: The XDXF format is not supported natively.
Use DictBuilder (distributed as part of TranslateIt! Deluxe) to convert XDXF dictionaries to the supported format.

You can prepare XDXF dictionary for TI! using the following steps:

1. Run DictBuilder and select a downloaded XDXF file as the source
2. Unpack XDXF file using DictBuilder to the TI! structure (to the destination/output folder)
Take a coffee break...
3. Pack TI! structure (resulting from the step 2) to TI! native dictionary (just select the folder from the step 2 as the source and select a destination folder)
Take a coffee break...
TI! Dictionary will be produced...
4. Install the resulting TranslateIt! dictionary
(Don't forget to select Dec/PHT format for all dictionaries converted from XDXF format in TranslateIt! preferences dialog.)

Q: How can I use a StarDict dictionary that contains resources ('res' folder) in TranslateIt!?
A: See this help page for details.

Q: How can I assign flags and sounds to dictionaries?
A: See this help page for details.

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