Sunday, March 20, 2011

Free Chinese dictionary apps

The iPod's native support for Chinese character has been a huge boon to me, since I am usually eager to learn to read and write more traditional Chinese characters. Although I have learned some simplified characters in my classes, I focus on traditional ones.

Below are the free Chinese dictionary apps I'm trying out. Each one also gets its own separate blog entry, into which incremental updates will flow over time. If I ever feel those entries are sufficiently mature, I may make a chart comparing all of these apps. Even if somebody already made such a chart, my chart will be tuned to characteristics I personally found useful (including app loading speed, perhaps). I traffic in day-to-day practical uses of Chinese (like learning that 板栗 on a Chinese restaurant menu means "Chinese chestnut"), not academic or literary ones.
  • CED (3/20/11: I cannot find this on the App Store now, maybe it's gone or has changed into something else)
  • iCED
  • KTdict C-E
  • Pleco
One or more (all?) of these apps have more powerful paid versions, but for now I don't have a need for capabilities beyond what I've found in the free versions.

If you have the space, it's worthwhile keeping multiple such apps loaded. In 10/2011, I was surprised to discover that, for about one day overall, iCED (version 3.2 (111)) would crash every time I opened it, although that might have been related to it having difficulties purging itself of the bug I'd recently found. It was particularly odd timing, since I had just been thinking about how iCED has been my favored Chinese dictionary app for some time, and that I had decided that I would make the in-app purchase to get rid of the ads, primarily to support the creators' efforts since the ads didn't meaningfully interfere with my usage. I temporarily used Pleco, generally my second choice, while iCED was unusable.

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