I'm looking for some open data dictionary with translations between languages, more concretely I would like english <-> japanese, but others would also be valuable.

Searching I looked into wiktionary, which looks great but as far as I know lacks translation capabilities.

The use might be commercial so a CC license allowing commercial use would be ideal.

This question is quite similar and I liked the idea of wiktionary but no real way for matching meaning between languages is given.

Any suggestions?

  • 1
    How complete of a dictionary are you looking for? 1000 words? 10000 words? Just translation or also meanings and example sentences?
    – philshem
    Feb 25, 2014 at 7:49
  • At the moment a basic dictionary is sufficient.
    – Javier Mr
    Mar 28, 2014 at 19:17

2 Answers 2


For free Japanese to English datasets, I think this stackoverflow question may have some answers for you: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/2716792/freely-available-dictionary-data-for-chinese-japanese-cjk-characters

The referenced JMDict project may be what you are looking for.


OK I have a unique solution that may work for any langauge pair. The fact that you ask for Japanese makes it tough because it requires unicode support for the characters (so many .txt dictionary files are out of the question and I'm not sure how useful OCR would be).

  1. We search the wonderful flashcard program anki for Japanese: results.
  2. Then, we find a large and popular deck of flashcards: one example. (Maybe it's simpler to find a deck without audio and images.)
  3. Then, we have to open the deck with Anki, so you'll need to install the program or perhaps use the web client.
  4. Finally, we have to export the deck using Anki directly or one of the plug-ins, in this case to comma-separated-values (CSV) format.

disclaimer: I haven't tested this process but I'm happy to iterate and update if you decide to go with this path.

  • Thanks for the info I will definitely look deeper into it. What I haven't see is the license of the deck. Searching more I came across of this page (actually from the About of an Android App called Obenkyo), and the deck you mention also references it, so it might be a great source of data. One fact that I liked about the deck where the audio files, so definitely I will look deeper into it.
    – Javier Mr
    Feb 25, 2014 at 22:25
  • @JavierMr can you give us an update of your project?
    – philshem
    Mar 28, 2014 at 8:24
  • Sure. It's going slowly it is just for fun. However I have been looking into JMDict and KanjiDic2. The later has some vague license definition (or contradiction), it is said to be distributed as CC-BY-SA but with items under the CC-BY-NC-SA, I guess that makes it a combined work thus applying the most restrictive license. Regarding Anki, definitely a good resource, but I haven't see license information. I downloaded a couple and haven't see any file describing the license of the decks. For now I'll start with JMDict, but audio would be great.
    – Javier Mr
    Mar 28, 2014 at 19:31

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.