From database to publication: tools for typesetting a three-language dictionary

Statement of Responsibility:
Walters, Dennis

This document describes a process for producing a three-language dictionary using a specific set of software tools. The solutions described herein are things that many linguists will be able to do themselves, although some steps may require help from a software specialist.

The lexical data included roughly 11,000 entries, with English, International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), Chinese characters, romanized Chinese characters, Nuosu Yi characters, and romanized Nuosu Yi characters. The data records were prepared using SIL FieldWorks Language Explorer (FLEx). The FLEx data were exported to a custom standard format (SFM) database, then manipulated with a Python script to produce an intermediate SFM database. The intermediate database served as input to "Shlex," a Perl program that produces a formatted dictionary and reversed finder lists. These documents then became subdocuments in an OpenOffice master document and were combined with title page, cataloging-in-publication data, preface, introduction, character indexes, etc., into a single master document. After adjusting the style details for paragraph, character, page, list, and outline; and generating indexes, the master was exported as a .pdf document which could be used to make photo plates for printing.

This document will be of interest to working linguists and project supervisors who want to have hands-on control of their data throughout the process of publication.

20 pages
Dictionaries and vocabularies
Computer programs
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