24 Jun 2014

How to enable spell-checking in different languages in Pidgin in Linux

If you are a person who speaks different languages, you are very likely to end up having friends in different parts of the world that you need to communicate with. The modern technological world gives you a good way of doing so using various instant messaging protocols.

Pidgin is a free open source application that allows you to communicate through different protocols. I believe it covers most of the protocols currently known in the world. Some of these protocols are available out of the box, others are available through additional plugins.

I have previously written a guest post on Linuxaria's blog that shows the power of plugins for Pidgin. Today I’m going to dive into a similar topic once again, looking through a different prism.

Obviously it is very nice if you can write to your friends in well-formed language. Very few people like misspellings. Pidgin has a built-in functionality that can do spellchecking for you. It highlights words you type with errors.
Spellchecker highlights errors

By default, Pidgin installs necessary spellcheckers that cover your system language. But what if you need to use several languages or your main language is different from your system language?

You need to install additional spellcheckers. Navigate to your system's package management tool and search for the package hunspell-<language code>, for example hunspell-ru for Russian. If it does not exist, search for myspell-<language code>. Both hunspell- and myspell- dictionaries are supported by Mozilla and OpenOffice, so you have a good chance of finding these dictionaries for your distribution. The difference between hunspell and myspell is that the latter one is deprecated for many languages, and the former one replaces the outdated version. Once you install the necessary package for your system, the additional language will appear in the drop-down list on the Pidgin message entry window.
New language appears in selection for spellchecker

You now can select the language for the message spellchecking. Is it enough? Maybe yes, if you only type in one language. But that's not enough if you write in different languages to different people. You need an ability to select a separate language for each particular conversation. To do so, navigate to your package manager once again, and select the package pidgin-plugin-pack. Once installed, go to Pidgin and select menu Tools – Plug-ins. Activate the Switch Spell plugin there. This plugin will place an additional menu section on the Pidgin messaging window that allows you to select language for each particular conversation.
Additional menu to switch spellchecker

How many different languages do you use to write to your friends?


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