I have been studying Chinese for quite a while, at first in China and now back at home. I bought quite a good handheld dictionary (Besta) 5 years ago, but now it is broken and I need to replace it. The selection of dictionaries availble here in Melbourne seems quite limited, but I have friends in China who can help me buy one if I know what I want.
So I wondered if anyone could recommend a good dictionary for me? I want the following features:
Multiple input methods for Chinese, including pinyin and writing characters. It would be good to have multiple character pinyin input - for example, type shucai as one word ratehr than first shu, select the character and then cai.
I prefer Oxford to Longmans English dictionary.
Need to find pinyin for characters and preferably words; nice if it could be in the same screen as English translation (my current one only has it in Chinese-Chinese section).
Nice to have a chengyu section.
user33683August 25, 2011, 10:10 PM
Yes, I've seen Pleco in my search on the net, but I don't have a smartphone or other device to run it on. Maybe the best option is to get a smartphone! But can I write characters into it? Most seem to have finger input rather than pen.
No need to buy a smartphone. iPod Touch will run Pleco fine, and you don't need the newest version of the iPod Touch either. If you can buy and old iPod touch and try out the free version of Pleco I think you will be sold on upgrading.
it's well worth buying a used or refurbed ipod touch - and probably cheaper than a digital stand alone dictionary. With Pleco you also get several dictionaries at your disposal. You can use a stylus for character input or your fingers - it's a GREAT tool and so much easier than using the old character dictionaries where you had to look everything up by component or radical.
darkstar94August 25, 2011, 10:45 PM
I got Samsung Galaxy S running on Android and the Hanping dictionary is awesome, you can write the character in, pinyin, English etc, it has lots of words you wouldn't expect it to have. If you buy the full version (which is cheap) you can click on a word and go find example sentences, but you need internet access though.
thanks for the hanping recommendation. I was disappointed to find out that pleco isn't up and running on android yet, so any other recommendations of what's good on Android Chinesewise would be much appreciated. Is the free version of Hanping still good?...is it just the example sentences it lacks?
Yeah, it's fine, you still have all the words and stuff, like I said just means you can't access the example sentences (and I just looked and I don't think you can "favourite" words on the free version, but I don't use that anyway). It was really helpful in China (the free version) cause I'd just look up words on my phone then put them into a sentence, I think the pro version is just better for more intense studying and working out how to use a particular word. To be honest, I think Chinesepod's glossary is best for this, and if Chinesepod doesn't have it I just use my phone.
When you click on a word in this dictionary with the full version you get the links: Yellowbridge (samples), nciku (samples), Jukuu (samples), Skritter, CiBo, MDGB Character Dict, Yellowbridge, Wiktionary, Google Dictionary and Bing Dictionary. So you could just use these websites seperately but it does make it much more convenient and faster having the word searched on these websites with just one click.
user33683August 28, 2011, 04:10 AM
Thankyou all for your advice. I have decided to bite the bullet and get a smartphone - about time I updated to the latest(ish) technology! My old mobile phone by coincidence also died yesterday, and I found a special cheap plan where I get in iPhone free if I sign up for 24 months. So I will check out Pleco and Dianhua. Thanks again!
ok4rmAugust 31, 2011, 04:16 PM
I bought Hanping for my droid machine (Samsung Galaxy Ace) and am very satisfied. I use it daily and it proved very useful.
I am using DimSum on PC. It is free and has few bugs, but it's fine. i use it when I find some text written in 汉字 and need to understand quickly. It works also for written 汉字, although not for me (many characters I cannot draw correctly).