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An elixir module to translate simplified Chinese to traditional Chinese, and vice versa, based on wikipedia data
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This module provides three core functionalities related with chinese translation:

  1. Translate tranditional chinese to simplified chinese, or vise versa. It is based on wikipedia's latest translation data.
  2. Translate Chinese words to pinyin. It is based on the data collected by janx/ruby-pinyin.
  3. Slugify Chinese words (or pinyin).

This module is highly encouraged by Elixir unicode module, to read the translation meta data from file, and generate the desired functions for pattern matching.


First, add ChineseTranslation to your mix.exs dependencies:

def deps do
  [{:chinese_translation, "~> 0.2.0"}]

and run $ mix deps.get to get the dependencies.

Then you could compile the module by mix compile. Note that it will compile over 133, 000 functions by default (compile all the 2-char phrases and 1-char chanracters). The compilation time is around 30 minutes. So be patient! You can set environment variable MAX_WORD_LEN to tune the compilation:

$ MAX_WORD_LEN=1 mix compile   # this will compile around 40, 000 functions

If later you found the translation files has changed, you can run the following mix task to download the latest translation files:

$ mix chinese_translation

The downloaded file will be put into deps/chinese_translation/data and the whole module will be recompiled.


ChineseTranslation is very easy to use, as follows:


iex> ChineseTranslation.translate("我是中国人", :s2t)

iex> ChineseTranslation.translate("我是中國人")

Pinyin (note the polyphone)

iex> ChineseTranslation.pinyin("长工长大以后")
"cháng gōng zhǎng dà yǐ hòu"

iex> ChineseTranslation.pinyin("長工長大以後", :trad)
"cháng gōng zhǎng dà yǐ hòu"

Slugify (also the polyphone)

For slugify you could choose to use

iex> ChineseTranslation.slugify("长工长大以后")

iex> ChineseTranslation.slugify("长工长大以后", [:tone])

iex> ChineseTranslation.slugify("長工長大以後", [:trad, :tone])

iex> ChineseTranslation.slugify(" *& 我是46 848 中 ----- 国人")

You can explore more examples in the test.


If you installed benchfella. You could test the performance of this module in your system. Below is a general benchmark result.

$ mix bench
  duration:      1.0 s
  mem stats:     false
  sys mem stats: false

[20:49:22] 1/8: ChineseTranslationBench.translate a character t->s
[20:49:25] 2/8: ChineseTranslationBench.translate 158-character chinese to pinyin
[20:49:28] 3/8: ChineseTranslationBench.translate a 158-character sentence s->t
[20:49:30] 4/8: ChineseTranslationBench.slugify pinyin with tone
[20:49:32] 5/8: ChineseTranslationBench.slugify pinyin
[20:49:36] 6/8: ChineseTranslationBench.translate a character s->t
[20:49:39] 7/8: ChineseTranslationBench.translate a 158-character sentence t->s
[20:49:41] 8/8: ChineseTranslationBench.slugify a short sentence
Finished in 23.25 seconds

ChineseTranslationBench.translate a character t->s:                  10000000   0.28 µs/op
ChineseTranslationBench.translate a character s->t:                  10000000   0.29 µs/op
ChineseTranslationBench.translate a 158-character sentence t->s:       100000   16.78 µs/op
ChineseTranslationBench.translate a 158-character sentence s->t:       100000   16.87 µs/op
ChineseTranslationBench.slugify pinyin with tone:                       50000   32.59 µs/op
ChineseTranslationBench.translate 158-character chinese to pinyin:      50000   45.07 µs/op
ChineseTranslationBench.slugify pinyin:                                 50000   66.96 µs/op
ChineseTranslationBench.slugify a short sentence:                       50000   69.64 µs/op


Copyright © 2015-2016 Tyr Chen <>

This work is free. You can redistribute it and/or modify it under the
terms of the MIT License. See the LICENSE file for more details.
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