Microsoft will launch a free online version of its Encarta World Language Dictionary on April 17.

The announcement comes just days after Oxford University Press announced the launch of its own Oxford English Dictionary (OED) online. The OED however, will be a fee-based model, charging an annual fee of £350 (excluding VAT) for access.

The Encarta dictionary will include audio pronunciations of words, as well as standard dictionary definitions. Encarta was initially created with help from the Internet, Microsoft said.

The dictionary will be available on the Web at encarta.com.