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This is a quickstart guide to setting up your very own Apertium API server on Debian-based systems (including Ubuntu).


Running your own API server means

  • you get to decide what kinds of crazy half-finished language pairs to serve (or you can just serve a few of the high-quality ones that you like)
  • you can run Apertium within your super-fortified network without your highly confidential translations touching anyone else's computer
  • you don't have to worry about anyone else's API server going down right when you need it the most
  • you have control over how many concurrent apertium processes you run (if your site or program calls plain `apertium` on each request, you can easily overload your server)


Unless you're running Debian sid, you'll need the apt-repo:

wget http://apertium.projectjj.com/apt/install-nightly.sh
sudo bash install-nightly.sh

Now install APY and the language pairs you want:

sudo apt-get install apertium-apy
sudo apt-get install apertium-eng-kaz apertium-sme-nob apertium-hbs-mkd apertium-eo-en apertium-tat-rus # etc.

(Here we're assuming you only want packaged pairs, see Installation on how to install pairs that are only in SVN.)

You can now start APY like this:

sudo systemctl start apertium-apy

and enable it for starting after a reboot like this:

sudo systemctl enable apertium-apy

Test that it works

You can do

sudo systemctl status apertium-apy

and it should show something like

● apertium-apy.service - Apertium APY service
   Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/apertium-apy.service; disabled; vendor preset: enabled)
   Active: active (running) since må. 2016-06-13 11:38:10 CEST; 3s ago
     Docs: http://wiki.apertium.org/wiki/Apertium-apy
 Main PID: 14813 (python3)
   CGroup: /system.slice/apertium-apy.service
           └─14813 /usr/bin/python3 servlet.py /usr/share/apertium/modes

juni 13 11:38:10 gamlepadda systemd[1]: Started Apertium APY service.
juni 13 11:38:11 gamlepadda python3[14813]: [W 160613 11:38:11 servlet:865] Unable to import CLD2, continuing using naive method of lang
juni 13 11:38:11 gamlepadda python3[14813]: [I 160613 11:38:11 servlet:792] 7 pair modes found
juni 13 11:38:11 gamlepadda python3[14813]: [I 160613 11:38:11 servlet:792] 0 analyzer modes found
juni 13 11:38:11 gamlepadda python3[14813]: [I 160613 11:38:11 servlet:792] 0 generator modes found
juni 13 11:38:11 gamlepadda python3[14813]: [I 160613 11:38:11 servlet:792] 0 tagger modes found
juni 13 11:38:11 gamlepadda python3[14813]: [I 160613 11:38:11 servlet:898] Serving at http://localhost:2737

if it's started. (Press q to get your terminal back if it put you in less-mode.)

Try checking what language data it found:

curl http://localhost:2737/listPairs

It should contain a list of pairs.

Say the list contains {"sourceLanguage": "sme", "targetLanguage": "nob"}, then we can try translating the sentence "in leat doppe" from sme to nob:

curl 'http://localhost:2737/translate?langpair=sme|nob&q=in+leat+doppe'

That should give something like {"responseData": {"translatedText": "jeg er ikke der borte"}, "responseDetails": null, "responseStatus": 200} .

If everything worked, congrats, you have your own Apertium API server running!

Now open port 2737 in your firewall and point your website or app at it :-)

If you ran into trouble, please ask for help on IRC or the mailing list.

If you don't have/want root

See Apertium-apy#Running_as_a_--user_unit.


servlet.py: error: APY needs a UTF-8 locale, please set LANG or LC_ALL

You need to have at least one UTF-8 locale installed. Do

locale -a

to see which ones you have installed. At minimum, Debian/Ubuntu derivatives will have the C.UTF-8 locale available, which will do. But you can use any UTF-8 locale you want, such as en_US.utf8 or pt_BR.utf8. To edit daemon locale, run

sudo systemctl edit apertium-apy

which will open an empty file for you; enter


there and verify what it all looks like with

systemctl cat apertium-apy

then try starting again with

sudo systemctl start apertium-apy

More info

See Apertium-apy for other things you can do with Apy and more documentation.