Online Folk Dictionary ‘Narodny Sloŭnik’

Launched December 18, 2017

‘Narodny sloŭnik’ (the folk dictionary) is a Belarusian-Russian and Belarusian-English online translator.

Why is it ‘folk’? It is based on the folk word. As the dictionary creators say: ‘It is made up by the people, who didn’t waste their entire life on academic studies.’ The dictionary is unique and of high value as it provides a Belarusian (‘more Belarusian’) equivalent of the borrowed words while translating them into Belarusian.

Our aim was to create a web application that would assist users to carry out translations as convenient as possible.


The first thing any user comes across while opening an online translator is the entry line. We designed it as a bookshelf.

Next to the line, the user can choose a target language: Belarusian, Russian or English. The service provides a two-way translation. For example, if the user selects the option ‘Bel⇄Rus’, the service will translate the word both from Russian into Belarusian and from Belarusian into Russian.
Under the entry line, we placed a slider with links to the projects of one of the ‘Narodny sloŭnik’ creators.

The users who have not set up Belarusian on their computers can employ an on-screen keyboard. On smartphones and tablets, instead of the on-screen keyboard, we simply added the symbols that cannot be found in the Russian layout.

While entering a word for translation, the user can take advantage of the prompts popping up in the line.

The translation results come out under the entry line. Here, the user can find translation options sectioned by parts of speech and areas of application. If the translated word is identically spelt in both languages, the service provides a two-way translation.

To help users find a better translation option, we introduced a block allowing them to view dictionary-adjacent words.

If the user knows an alternative translation variant, one can suggest it by filling in a special form.

Users can introduce words with typos or misspellings in the entry line. To simplify the search for translations of these words, we added the 'Maybe you searched' block, which displays the words that are almost similar in sound. To carry out this type of search, we used the fuzzy string search algorithms: the Metaphone algorithm, the Levenshtein distance calculation and the Oliver algorithm. First, similar words are searched for in Belarusian. If no similar words are found, the search continues in Russian or English.

The words the translation of which was not found are stored in the database.

The ‘Narodny sloŭnik’ creators are interested in improving constantly the quality of translation. To enable the customer to understand whether the users are satisfied with the translation results, we introduced a block of translation rating.

The customer can view the statistics of the ratings for each word in absolute and relative numbers.

The web application is responsive. That is why it is equally convenient and enjoyable to use the app both on computers and on mobile devices.

‘Narodny sloŭnik’ is a service created by people who do care about the Belarusian language and culture. We are so glad to have taken part in the project. Working on the web application turned out to be an exciting and pleasant experience.