Oxford Dictionaries is pleased to announce the launch of the Oxford Dictionaries API which, for the first time, will enable developers to access and utilize Oxford’s leading lexical content and provide a gateway to our innovative Lexical Engine and Platform (LEAP), where our multilingual dictionary data is optimized and semantically linked.
Although APIs for languages such as English are fully realized, the Oxford Dictionaries API places additional emphasis on the availability of digitally underrepresented languages, such as Indonesian, Swahili, and Hindi. This allows developers the ability to localize products and services in many languages for the first time. The Oxford Dictionaries API makes quality lexical data accessible for both commercial projects and research initiatives. It will allow commercial developers of every size and budget to enhance their app or website with Oxford’s dictionary data. For many applications which are just starting out, the data is available for free. For research, the API is always free and will allow linguists and language researchers around the world to integrate our language data.
Dave Zack, Technology Director for Dictionaries at OUP commented: “We are delighted to make our high quality language data available to developers all over the world. It will be exciting to see local software developers leverage their native language to create new applications and services based on this data. For many developers, this is the first time they will have access to native language data in a robust and consistent format. We will be adding more languages, features and data all the time and look forward to feedback on how we can assist the broad developer community in their efforts."
Using a range of simple endpoints developers can access the breadth of Oxford Dictionaries data including definitions, translations, synonyms, example sentences, and pronunciations from datasets covering an ever growing list of languages. Users can also retrieve lemmas of inflected forms, create bespoke wordlists, and make use of the same powerful search functionality that powers Oxford Dictionaries websites. This allows the data to be used in new ways beyond simple dictionary display.
The content behind the API is powered by a new Lexical Engine and Platform (LEAP), which puts language content through a series of transformations, links the data, and houses multiple languages in a single platform. LEAP makes the data flexible and reusable, offering high-quality inter-language sense disambiguation and translation. For example, if you’re looking for the Spanish equivalent of the English noun ‘bat’, you will want to make sure you use the right word, whether it’s the implement used in sports or the nocturnal mammal. LEAP makes this, and much more, possible.
More than 500 companies already use data licensed from Oxford Dictionaries, including most of Silicon Valley’s big tech players. The API opens up wider possibilities for use from games and learning tools to research and business apps.