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The Nijmegen Arabic/Dutch Dictionary Project

1.4.2 OMBI

For the compilation of the dictionary database we had at our disposal the computer program OMBI (Omkeerbaar Bilinguaal Bestand = Reversible Bilingual Database) that was devised for this purpose.

The main characteristics of the program are:

bullet import of data in several formats
bullet export of data in several formats (SGML, HTML, RTF)
bullet easy switching between source and target language

A short project description can be read through the following link.
A publication on the program can be accessed through the following link.

Version 4 of the program, which became available in February 1997 contained some special features to handle Arabic:

bullet a root field
bullet Arabic alphabetic ordering
bullet ordering of entries within a root
bullet all functionalities for using vowels, sukun and shadda in Arabic

As for the technical details:

bullet it was programmed in Delphi
bullet the underlying database is Borland Interbase

Below I will show some screenshots of the program:


1 The main screen

Arabic form = the entry (ßöÊÇÈ)

root = the root of the Arabic entry

Lexical Units, Examples and Idiom = Definitions of the various Lexical Units (clicking the plus signs will show the Examples which belong to a certain LU, see below)

Nederlands-RBN translations of ... = the translation(s) of the selected source language unit (LU or Example or Idiom]


2 The main screen, showing Examples

Lexical Units, Examples and Idiom = This field now shows a number of examples belonging to the LU ..., on the right we see the translation in Dutch of the selected Example.


3 Form list

This list shows all entries belonging to a certain root, according to the order of presentation in the dictionary.

The ordering is according to the following rules:

bullet verbs in ascending degree of derivation (I to X)
bullet words consisting of the three radicals only (no prefixes, infixes, suffixes)
bullet words starting with the first radical (containing infixes, suffixes)
bullet words starting with a prefix


4 Edit Form - Morphology

The screen below shows morphological information for a verb:

bullet Verb.subst. = masdar for stem I
bullet imperfect. kl. = vowel in imperfect for stem I


The screen below shows morphological information for a noun:

bullet Flections = plural form(s)


Working with OMBI

We have been using OMBI in the various stages as follows:

Stage 1: Translation Dutch-Arabic

bullet import of the RBN Dutch files
bullet addition of Arabic translations to the Dutch units (Lexical Units and Examples, some Idiomatic Expressions, Descriptions).
bullet checking new Arabic entries by switching to Arabic as source language. Not all Arabic translations were checked during this stage, but new entries were. In the early stage almost all Arabic words entered of course were new, but obviously the percentage of new entries was diminishing afterwards

Stage 2: Preparing Arabic-Dutch

bullet expansion of the Arabic macro: addition of entries, including Dutch translations
bullet expansion of the Arabic micro: addition of examples, including Dutch translations

Final Stage: Checking and rechecking.

Ombi has some very useful options for making selections from the database. By queries almost all levels of units can be marked and exported from the database.

In this way it was possible to make prints of separate categories like morphological information, descriptions etc.

And finally all data to be printed in the dictionaries would be exported and printed for proof reading.

The extraction of data for the final production process was done in a different way, since Teus de Jong compiled an Extractor to directly extract the data from the tables of the database, without using OMBI's export options.

Publications about OMBI:

Euralex '96 article:
title: OMBI: An editor for constructing reversible lexical databases
by: Willy Martin and Anne Tamm

This article was published in the Euralex '96 Proceedings (Göteborg, editors Martin Gellerstam, Jerker Järborg, Sven-Göran Malmgren, Kerstin Norén, Lena Rogström, Catarina Rödjer Papmehl).
The following links lead to pdf-scans of the pages of the article.


page 1


page 2


page 3


page 4


page 5


page 6


page 7


page 8


page 9


page 10


page 11


page 12 (conclusion and further prospects)


page 13 (references)

Report on OMBI and the CLVV by the Dutch Language Union
title: Constructing Reversible Lexical Databases
by: Lisanne Teunissen

bullet pdf-version of the report, available on this website
bullet link to the website of the Dutch Language Union
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last updated 26/10/2003 15:16 +0100
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