Sunday, 3 January 2010

Translation Tools Review - Wakan Dictionary

Just another quick review of a translation tool I sometimes use. This is another electronic dictionary which is available in both Chinese and Japanese. It's called Wakan and is widely available online if you do a search.

It's hard to talk about pluses and minuses of this dictionary. The main good points are that the system has slightly different definitions to my other dictionaries, so if I'm concerned about a particular term, I can always check it here and see what this has to say. In terms of features, there's nothing here I use that isn't available in any of the other dictionaries I've discussed, but then you don't really need anything other than the ability to enter a term and see the definitions. Certainly things like the stroke count and radical lookups in Wenlin are occasionally useful but really not essential.

The main problem with the dictionary is that it seems to require you to enter terms in pinyin rather than cutting and pasting Chinese characters into it. One of the reasons I might use a dictionary is if there is a term I have never seen before, and in those cases I can seldom guess the pronunciation. It just means I use another dictionary first.

All in all, it is nice to have more than just one dictionary, and although basic, these definitions seem to be OK, and can be helpful. In terms of features, it isn't strong enough to overtake any of the other commercial dictionaries as first choice, but is a nice addition. For some users, the Japanese functionality may also be useful.

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