Using PanLem


PanLem is not deliberately designed to be difficult to use, but it is a difficult interface. First, it is an expert interface, so the actions it can perform are sometimes complex. Second, it is limited to lemmatic descriptions of the available actions, in order to make it possible, in principle, to use the interface in any language variety with PanLex acting as the translator of the interface into that language variety.

Browser requirements

PanLem requires a browser that complies with certain Internet standards. Some older browsers don’t comply or are extremely inefficient in processing certain elements. These include Safari 5.1.0–5.1.3 and Internet Explorer 1–7.

To make use of all features of PanLem, your browser must support JavaScript and cookies, and these features must be turned on. If cookies are disabled, you will not be able to log in or create a new account.

Basic routine

  • On the PanLem home page, choose the language variety you want to interact with PanLem in.
  • After that, do your editing work.
  • For any editing that modifies the database, you must be an approved user of PanLem. To request approval, click the “new” button under “person” and complete the new-user form.
  • If you make a mistake, there is no “undo” feature in PanLem, but any changes you make to the database are recorded, so it is possible for the PanLex staff to undo changes at your request.
  • Ask for help if you don’t understand some of the messages and labels in PanLem.


Here is one example that you can perform step by step, to get some familiarity with PanLem. In this example, you don’t change anything in the database; you only get information from it.

  • On the home page, choose “eng-000 English”. You are asking PanLem to interact with you in English.
  • Click “begin”.
  • Choose “translation: one — see”. You are asking to see translations of one expression.
  • Choose “every”. You will enter an expression, and you are asking PanLex to look for it among its expressions in all language varieties.
  • Type the word “duvar” after “expression—text”. That’s the expression you’re asking PanLex to translate.
  • Check “exact”. You’re asking PanLex to limit itself to “duvar”, not “dúvar”, “väljasõiduvärav”, “Saint-Laurent-du-Var”, etc.
  • Choose “whole”. You’re asking PanLex to limit itself to “duvar”, not “panduvari”, “ara duvarı”, etc. You find that “duvar” is an expression in at least 2 language varieties.
  • Choose “tur-000 Türkçe” (Turkish).
  • Choose “translation—translation”. You are telling PanLex to get ready to give you not only direct translations of “duvar”, but also indirect ones (translations of translations). You now see a list of all the language varieties in PanLex.
  • Choose “bel-000 беларуская” (Belarusian). You are asking PanLex to give you translations of Turkish “duvar” into Belarusian, whose ISO 693-3 code is “bel”, and in particular into its main variety, to which PanLex has assigned the variety code 0 (formatted as “000”). If you see “nothing” under “translation—into—expression”, PanLex contains no translation of “duvar” into Belarusian. If you see any expressions, they are the direct translations of “duvar” into Belarusian known to PanLex.
  • Under “translation—translation”, enter the number “10” and click “see”. You are asking PanLem to get the best 10 indirect translations. You see that PanLem has found indirect translations and has given the top 10 of them scores (under the heading “good”), with the highest score assigned to the translation with the highest estimated validity.
  • Choose “сьцяна” to see how PanLex found it. You see that PanLex found translations of “duvar” into numerous other expressions in at least 9 language varieties, and found translations of all these into the Belarusian expression “сьцяна”.
  • Click on the intermediary translation “rus-000 русский: стена” (in Russian). You see that PanLex found several paths through it.
  • Choose any of the paths under “see” to see details about it. You see a page that starts by identifying the origin expression (“duvar”), the destination expression (“сьцяна”), and the intermediate expression (“стена”). After that it displays records of 2 meanings. The first meaning joins the origin and intermediate expressions (in other words, the specified PanLex source assigns that meaning to both of those expressions). The second meaning joins the intermediate and destination expressions. Any other expressions sharing either meaning are also shown.
  • Under either of the “translation—source” headings, choose “source—fact” to see some facts about that source. This gives you information about the authors, title, publisher, etc. One of those facts is the estimated quality of the source (labeled “person—good”). That estimate is considered in the computation of the indirect translations’ scores.
  • When you want to stop using PanLem, you may choose “stop” in the upper left corner, or just close your browser window.

As PanLex grows, some of what you see in this tutorial example may change. Feel free to let the PanLex staff know of needed corrections.