A while ago, I came across Refold, which was by far the clearest and most promising path to fluency I had seen, and matches up well with my experience of learning English. I decided to use it for learning Russian partly as an experiment.

As I attempted to immerse in content, I wanted a way to easily create flashcards from sentences I encounter in the wild. However, everything I found seems to had downsides. Common one include:

  • Proprietary (Readlang, LinQ, Migaku), some of which being actually fairly expensive.
  • No Anki integration (Having to use their crappy online flashcard services unless I was willing to export things regularly, which sounded like a hassle)
  • Dependence on Google Translate, which often don’t give full or even remotely detailed definitions suitable for flashcards

For this reason, I created ssmtool, which is a free software based solution to all this. It leverages Wiktionary and other APIs to obtain definitions and uses AnkiConnect to create cards directly, without using exports.

Here are some of its features:

  • It supports both Monolingual (Google dictionary) and Bilingual (Wiktionary or Google translate) definitions 1
  • Cross platform: It supports GNU/Linux, Windows, and macOS

And most importantly of all:

  • It’s truly yours: no EULA, no Terms and Conditions, no tracking

In the future, some more features might be added to ssmtool, and I might create more integrations for it for video players. The final goal is to build a complete set of free software tools for immersion based language learning.

  1. This depends on the target language, the full language support details can be seen from the source code or another blog post here at a later date. ↩︎