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Tatoeba Project Main Page.png
Web address http://tatoeba.org/
Commercial? No
Type of site
Open collaborative multilingual "sentence dictionary"
Registration Optional
Available in 20 languages of the interface; content in 130 languages (November 2014)
Content license
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0
Owner Trang Ho, Allan Simon
Created by Trang Ho, Allan Simon
Launched 2006
Current status Online; beta

Tatoeba.org is a free collaborative online database of example sentences geared towards foreign language learners. Its name comes from the Japanese term "tatoeba" (例えば tatoeba), meaning "for example". Unlike other online dictionaries, which focus on words, Tatoeba focuses on translation of complete sentences. In addition, the structure of the database and interface emphasize one-to-many relationships. Not only can a sentence have multiple translations within a single language, but its translations into all languages are readily visible, as are indirect translations that involve a chain of stepwise links from one language to another.

The aim of the project[edit]

The aim of the Tatoeba Project is to create a database of sentences and translations that can be used by anyone developing a language learning application The idea is that the project creates the data, so programmers can just focus on coding the application.

The data collected by the project is freely available under a Creative Commons Attribution license.


As of May 2015, Tatoeba's corpus has over 4,000,000 sentences in 182 languages. The number of sentences in each language can be found on Tatoeba's language statistics page. The interface is available in 20 different languages. There are procedures by which one can help to add new interface and content languages.

Tatoeba is also the current home of the Tanaka Corpus, a public-domain series of about 150,000 English-Japanese sentence pairs compiled by Hyogo University professor Yasuhito Tanaka first released in 2001, and where it is undergoing its latest revisions.[1][2]


Tatoeba was founded by Trang Ho in 2006. She originally hosted the project on Sourceforge under the project name "multilangdict".[3] She now administers the project with Allan Simon, who joined in 2009.[4] Tatoeba is hosted and supported by the Free Software Foundation France.[5]


Users, even non-registered ones, can search for a word in any language to retrieve a list of sentences using that word. Each sentence in the Tatoeba database is displayed next to its translations in other languages; direct and indirect translations are differentiated. Sentences are tagged for content such as subject matter, dialect, or vulgarity; they also each have individual comment threads to facilitate feedback and corrections from other users and cultural notes. As of the beginning of 2012, almost 26,000 sentences in 9 languages had audio readings. Sentences can also be browsed by language, tag, or audio.

Registered users can add new sentences or translate or proofread existing ones, even if their target language is not their native tongue. Translations are linked to the original sentence automatically. Users can freely edit their own sentences, "adopt" and correct sentences without an owner, and comment on others' sentences. Advanced contributors, a rank above ordinary contributors, can tag, link, and unlink sentences. Corpus maintainers, a rank above advanced contributors, can untag and delete sentences. They can also modify owned sentences, though they typically do so only if the owner fails to respond to a request to make the change.

Database structure[edit]

A simplified diagram of Tatoeba's underlying data structure.

Tatoeba's basic data structure is a series of nodes and links. Each sentence is a node; each link bridges two sentences with the same meaning.[6]


The entire Tatoeba database is published under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license,[7] freeing it for academic and other use.


Tatoeba received a grant from Mozilla Drumbeat in December 2010.[8][9]

Some work on the Tatoeba infrastructure is sponsored by Google Summer of Code.[10]


Parallel text corpora such as Tatoeba are used for a variety of natural language processing tasks such as machine translation. The Tatoeba data has been used as data for treebanking Japanese[11] and statistical machine translation,[12] as well as the WWWJDIC Japanese-English dictionary and the Bilingual Sentence Pairs and Japanese Reading and Translation Practice on www.ManyThings.org.

Offline edition[edit]

Selected content from Tatoeba – 83,932 phrases in Esperanto along with all their translations into other languages – has appeared in the third edition of the multilingual DVD Esperanto Elektronike ("Electronic Esperanto") published in 6,000 copies by E@I in July 2011.

Tab-delimited data ready for import into Anki and similar software can be downloaded from http://www.manythings.org/anki/

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Tanaka Corpus". EDRDG Wiki. Electronic Dictionary Research and Development Group. 3 February 2011. Retrieved 20 March 2011. 
  2. ^ Breen, Jim (2 March 2011). "WWWJDIC – Information". WWWJDIC. Monash University. Retrieved 20 March 2011. 
  3. ^ "Trang's dictionary project". sourceforge.net. 
  4. ^ "Tatoeba.org, base de données de phrases d'exemple". linuxfr.org (in French). 17 July 2010. Retrieved 20 March 2011. 
  5. ^ "Tatoeba, un dictionnaire de langues pour phrases d'exemples" [Tatoeba, a dictionary of example sentences in several languages]. fsffrance.org (in French). Paris: FSF France. 24 February 2011. Retrieved 20 March 2011. 
  6. ^ Ho, Trang (23 February 2010). "How to be a good contributor in Tatoeba". Tatoeba Project Blog. Retrieved 20 March 2011. 
  7. ^ "Terms of use". Tatoeba.org. Retrieved 20 March 2011. 
  8. ^ Ho, Trang (17 January 2011). "Grant from Mozilla Drumbeat". Tatoeba Project Blog. Retrieved 20 March 2011. 
  9. ^ Moltke, Henrik (30 December 2010). "Best Drumbeat Projects: Tatoeba – a free and open database of sentences". Yoyodyne.cc. Retrieved 20 March 2011. ...the Mozilla Foundation wants to encourage and help the Tatoeba project by giving it a USD 2.5K Mozilla Drumbeat Grant. 
  10. ^ https://www.google-melange.com/gsoc/org2/google/gsoc2014/tatoeba
  11. ^ Francis Bond, 栗林 孝行 [Takayuki Kuribayashi], 橋本 力 [Hashimoto Chikara] (2008) HPSGに基づくフリーな日本語ツリー バンクの構築 [A free Japanese Treebank based on HPSG]. In 14th Annual Meeting of The Association for Natural Language Processing, Tokyo.
  12. ^ Eric Nichols, Francis Bond, Darren Scott Appling and Yuji Matsumoto (2010) Paraphrasing Training Data for Statistical Machine Translation. Journal of Natural Language Processing, 17(3), pages 101–122.

External links[edit]