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Bispell - bilingual spell checker

Jakson Aquino
Write to Jakson Aquino



Bispell is a simple editor capable of spell checking a bilingual text. If you have a text written in two languages, and the two languages are not two big blocks, it might be desirable to have a tool to detect in what language each piece of the text was written and spell check accordingly. Currently, as far as I know, the most capable free software text processors can spell check multilingual texts, but they can't guess in what language the text was written. Bispell is useful, for example, if your text is written in one language but with many quotations in another language.

Note, however, that bispell isn't a text processor. It's simply an editor of plain text (no bold font, no italics, etc). Hence, if you need to spell check a bilingual text richly formatted, you must either use another tool or be happy with a plain text in need of being formatted again.

Bispell uses GNU aspell to spell check the text, and its graphical interface was built with the GTK+ libraries. See below a screenshot of bispell running:

bispell running


Compile and install

Bispell is distributed under the GNU/GPL license and is available as source code:


To compile and install it under GNU/Linux, open a terminal and: (1) go to the directory where you saved the .tar.gz; (2) unpack the file; (3) go to "bispell-0.1"; and (4) compile and install the program:

   cd directory
   tar -xvzf bispell-0.1.tar.gz
   cd bispell-0.1
   make install
Please, read the file README in the bispell-0.1 directory to know how to install icons and menu entry. If your GNU/Linux distribution uses Debian packages, you can create your own package for bispell. Please follow the instructions of the Debian New Maintainers' Guide. If you don't want to read all that documentation, you can copy my version of "debian" subdirectory to bispell-0.1 directory: debian.tar.gz. To create this package (1) save the file "debian.tar.gz" in the directory "bispell-0.1"; (2) unpack the file; (3) delete the file "debian.tar.gz" and (4) create the package:
   cd bispell-0.1
   tar -xvzf debian.tar.gz
   rm debian.tar.gz
   dpkg-buildpackage -rfakeroot -us -uc



To my knowledge, the best alternative to bispell is Vim, a text editor capable of distinguishing between some kinds of misspelling errors. It highlights, for example, words that are wrong in a region but that are OK in another. In the example below, I've made a dictionary for a language that I called "pe" (Portuguese-English), and I've set the idiom to "pe_en":


In fact, currently I'm using this feature of Vim, and I no longer think that it's worthwhile to maintain the development of bispell.


$Date: 2006/06/15 14:04:39 $