Apertium on Ubuntu or Debian

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Installation instructions for Ubuntu/Debian and similar.

Installing the not-quite-recent package (simple)

If you just want to use Apertium for translation, and don't want to develop anything, you can probably just search for, tick off and install Apertium and your favorite language pairs in Synaptic. There's a friendly Synaptic HOWTO here. This should install the required dependencies too.

If you want to contribute to Apertium or change how it runs in any way, you'll want to install from SVN. Read on below.

Installing the newest version from SVN (more complicated)

Step 1: install the prerequisites. Open a terminal window and type

sudo apt-get install subversion build-essential g++ pkg-config gawk libxml2 \
libxml2-dev libxml2-utils xsltproc flex automake autoconf libtool libpcre3-dev  

enter your password and Wait till the packages are downloaded and installed.

Step 2: Download apertium, lttoolbox and language pairs from SVN.

svn co http://apertium.svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/apertium/trunk apertium

Note: The above checkout will download lots of files with all the released language pairs. If you have limited bandwidth or disk space (or time), please follow the Minimal installation from SVN instead.

Step 3: Compile and install lttoolbox.

cd apertium
cd lttoolbox/
PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig ./autogen.sh
sudo make install
sudo ldconfig

Step 4: Compile and install apertium.

cd ..
cd apertium/
PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig ./autogen.sh
sudo make install
sudo ldconfig

Step 5: You can now compile the language pairs that you want to use. It's the same procedure for every pair.

Note: we give an example with apertium-fr-es

cd ..
cd apertium-fr-es/
PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig ./autogen.sh
sudo make install

Step 6: Try it out

echo "J'ai deux frères" | apertium fr-es


If you edit the linguistic data, do not forget to type "make" to update, and "sudo make install" to install the updated data.

Compiling all the linguistic data

To compile all the pairs without typing each directory once you can use the following script:

list=`ls -d apertium-??-??` # list of folders with a name like apertium-xx-xx
for folder in $list 
 cd $folder >> ../compile.txt
 PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig ./autogen.sh >> ../compile.txt
 make >> ../compile.txt
 sudo make install >> ../compile.txt
 cd ..

Run the script, and go and make a cup of coffee… this could take a while.

Inside compile.txt you can see some of the results of the compilation.


‘rpl_malloc’ was not declared in this scope

If you get:

make check output
apertium_destxt.o apertium_destxt.cc
apertium_destxt.cc: In function ‘void* yyalloc(yy_size_t)’:
apertium_destxt.cc:2017: error: ‘rpl_malloc’ was not declared in this scope
apertium_destxt.cc: In function ‘void* yyrealloc(void*, yy_size_t)’:
apertium_destxt.cc:2029: error: ‘rpl_realloc’ was not declared in this scope
make[1]: *** [apertium_destxt.o] Error 1
make[1]: Leaving directory `/home/surge/Resources/apertium/apertium-3.1.0/apertium'

Then the best thing to do is comment out the lines:


From the configure.ac and then re-run autogen.sh.


If you get

Warning: unsupported locale, fallback to "C""

when running a command, it means that your installation doesn't have the required locale enabled. Here is a solution for Ubuntu Try something like

locale-gen es_EN.UTF-8

//replace es_EN.UTF-8 with whichever locale is relevant to your problem.

For example, if

LANG=es_ES.utf8 /usr/local/bin/apertium-deshtml /tmp/URLMH0f38

gave you the error : 'Warning: unsupported locale, fallback to "C"'. Then you could try

locale-gen es_EN.UTF-8

also see this link for an alternate method : http://tlug.dnho.net/node/237