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Electronic Chinese Dictionaries

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F_Kal

hello ppl,

I've just come to china for language courses and it seems that I have to buy one electronic dictionary! At the moment I've been using my Pocket PC PDA with some English-Chinese dictionaries in it and some input methods software (CE-Star). However cheap this was, the dictionaries were not satisfying and CEStar crashes all the time, so now and then I have to reboot my machine...

These two things have lead me to think that by buying a electronic dictionary will solve my problems. However there seem to be far too many options on the market.

My needs are:

-Both Way dictionary

-Handwriting recognition

-Pin Yin display on English->Chinese and on Chinese->English

-Examples, examples and examples of chinese words usage.

Especially the last is what my PDA based dictionaries lacked...

I've seen some v650 and v680 color models (I can't remember the brand) that play mp3 and mp4 video files and seem to be *far too fancy*.Not that the extras are not welcome, but having a good dictionary is my first priority. I don't mind about the price either...

Any ideas or recommendations?

Thanks a lot!

Fotis

PS. Anybody knows if I can upload a "german-english" vv custom dictionary in it? That would also come handy

PS2. English is my language of preference and my chinese are almost close to naught. However I'd like to buy something that can accompany me in my studies for years to come...

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holger

Hei,

I feel I need to buy me an electronic dictionary soon, since I've come here to Tianjin some weeks ago, classes started and one after another of my classmates got themselves such a tool. Just I'm still sitting there with my print edition of longmans mini. Each time teacher asks someone, they dare not to speak before they checked the electronic dictionary - so quick, which makes them still slower than me because I don't even begin looking up words in these situations...

anyway, I've been trying to find out which one is the best for my needs (german native tongue - mandarin zhongji middle-level after 4 years) and since I haven't seen a model number in two forum discussions twice, I think these devices are difficult to compare, right? It's like the style of my shower gel or cornflakes box design, industries trying to get us with the flow...

anyway, I hit it (da di) to the Cyberstore and and besta ta-3000+ was what seemed to me most convincing. They offered it for 1500 and I got them down to 1200 after a while, leaving without the besta at first.:roll:

I don't like these fold out mini keyboards, although almost everybody has that type of. What's the real advantage of these Keyboards? Can't I write on the dislay keyboard (not ocr) with my stylus in the same speed?

Before buying I'd wish to have some more questions answered, which is difficult in the store due to my lacking chinese skills, so I'd be glad if you could give me some reply if you happen to own the same model from besta. It looks kind of like an iphone.

1. There are always Characters that can't be recorgnized by OCR, so is it possible to search characters the old fashioned way via radical-strokes index?

2. I need to see the traditional variant and the simplified writing of a character in question at the same time, does one of the dictionaries have this feature? I don't mean to completely switch the whole environment from simplified to traditional but a traditional variant of the character in question behind the simplfied in brackets, like in many good paper dictionaries. And, is there a dictionary for ancient chinese?

3. I've seen a mp3 function, which other standard file formats can be used with the ta 3000+ ? .txt for reading? .jpg for photos? How much storage space does the chipcard have, can it be exchanged? Any Idea what a bigger one costs?

4. The battery. Can I change the battery myself when, after some time the old one is no longer usable?

5. Does anyone have experience with downloading updates or anything from bestas website?

btw.: The talking function 话匣子:lol: is not of importance to me at all. Unless I happen to loose my own voice or need to communicate anonymously on the phone...

Thanks alot for any recommendations!!

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F_Kal

I've been for a long time now hoping to make a small review for chinese dictionaries that suit westerners. Since 1 year before that I started looking for one I've seen many dictionaries some made for chinese, some for Japanese, some for koreans and a few for westerners.

I myself eventually bought PlecoDict which in many aspects proved great but also had some hard to forgive problems: No Chinese to Chinese dictionary, no measure words, no proverb dictionary or grammar guide (like the korean dictionaries have) no speaking functionality, but above all, a trully HORRIBLE English to Chinese Dictionary (NWP)

However in version 2 which hopefully is coming out soon, all these will be fixed!

After buying pleco I found in the market an English-Chinese CASIO dictionary called EW-V2700L that was amazing: The dictionaries inside are very good with only drawback that it doesn't have speech functionality(you said you don't care about it) and that the device is just a dictionary and no game/mp3/radio etc device. It has a black and white screen so consumes less battery and is readable under direct sunlight and also has backlight in case you need it! It doesn't have a touch screen but instead a small pad below the keyboard where you can draw the character. I find it a good thing since you don't have to use both hands to hold the screen while writing on it! The casio is around the same price (1700yuan) and I read that there is a newer model out...

Both Pleco and the CASIO have a very handy feature for us: You know the pinyin for a word eg. "pengyou" but you don't know the ideograms. In these dictionaries you just type in pengyou (using tones or any ideogram if there is any you know) and it gives you all the entries that have this combination. Invaluable indeed.

In the rest dictionaries that are made for chinese as chinese you are supposed to know that peng you is 朋 and 友 so this function doesn't exist. Instead you have to type in "peng" select the ideogram you are supposed to know beforehand and then type "you". Be careful if you buy any of those dictionaries! As far as I've seen, all the Besta suffer from this problem.

If I was to buy again, I'd go for the CASIO, even though I have quite high expectations of Pleco 2.0...

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F_Kal

as for the advantage of keyboards is that you don't need to hands to use the dictionary. You place it on a surface and with one hand tap in the characters while with the other you hold the pencil, or whatever you are doing at the moment!

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Wufnu

I did a search for EW-V2700L and all of the websites were in Chinese. I went to Casio's USA website and the only translators they had listed were Japanese to English translators (and all of the spec's were in Japanese). What's up with that?

I'm not sure why it's so difficult (and expensive) to find a good dictionary. They have small Java applets that can recognize characters, ABC dictionary that can be sub licensed from Wenlin, etc. Heck, with the right Basic program I have enough computer power in my TI-89.

Am I going to just have to buy a pocket PC and find some way to Wenlin on it? It would be cheaper =/ All I want is to be able to write a character and have it spit out what the pinyin and what it means.

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imron

Sometimes, you get what you pay for :wink:

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F_Kal

Well, the CASIO dictionary may not exist in the market outside china, but for sure does here! Actually, there is a Jap-Chinese version and an Eng-Chinese. but I have the feeling they don't have the same numbering schema!

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F_Kal

Actually not many companies (unlike pleco) care to make EnglishChinese dictionaries for "westerners". Even CASIO is making dictionaries for it's local market, that is to say: Japan. Japanese people study chinese and english, so that's why you find these kinds of options easily. Now the English Chinese model I'm referring to, seems to be a small exception, but don't misunderstand me: Like any of those, is not made for Westerners, but seems to be for the chinese who aspires to study english. For example it pronounciation for French, Spanish, English and whatever else, but not chinese!) I guess the company, had already ready the Jap-Chi/Eng version so decided to modify it a bit and make one for the huge chinese market of people studying english.

Fortunately, unlike most of the other options out there, it may satisfy the needs of "westerners" -to some greater degree....

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F_Kal

EW-V2800H has HW Recognition as well, and since it's older than EV-SP2900 it may also be a bit cheaper....

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Wufnu

Thanks, Imron! Looking at the capabilities of Pleco software, and considering how inexpensive pocket pcs are, why would anyone pay more for something that does less?

It really does sound ideal. Better than ideal, even.

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Wufnu

Man, I can't wait. I picked a Del Axim X3i for $50 on Ebay. As soon as it gets here, I'm gonna buy the professional PD and flashcard my way to greatness. Also, maybe now doing my Chinese homework won't take me five hours a go. It usually goes something like this:

"Oh god, no. No no no. Ok, I don't know that character. Don't panic. We can search it for radicals. Why.. why isn't it working? What radical is this? There is nothing in this character that looks like this list they've given me... deep breaths. We'll just look it up on the web based handwriting recognition app... GASP! The java app has failed me! *cries as he begins to go through the entire textbooks dictionary, one character at time*"

Actually, it's not that bad anymore but sometimes the book will throw something at me that I just can't find.

Looking forward to a better tomorrow!

Also, does anyone know how to input via pinyin (MS IME) character that have that funky u with the umlaut? ü It would be nice to be able to type those without having to look them up and copy/paste.

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imron
Also, does anyone know how to input via pinyin (MS IME) character that have that funky u with the umlaut? ü
Substitute ü with v. E.g. to get 女 you would type nv.

Also consider updating your IME to either the Google or Sogou IMEs (which also use v, but are significantly better than the MS one).

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Wufnu

You're a life saver. Thanks a bunch!

Ijust installed the Google one. I'll give it a whirl.

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Jikolp

Hi!

I was wondering whether anybody has experience with CASIO´s English-Chinese-Japanese dictionary, the one that has the HW-function. To me this language combination (I´m also studying Japanese and need a Japanese e-dic as well), many dictionaries/words and handwriting recognition is what matters. Does it have a chengyu dictionary? For those who have tried: should I rather look for a CH-ENG Casio, isn´t the one with Japanese too Japanese-specific? It seems to there is only one CN-ENG, ENG-CN dictionary and that´s all... And I would not mind a CN-CN, falu dictionary in it. Also, if I can´t order from the net, in BJ where is it possible to buy these Casio models? Are there maybe some Casio-shops somewhere?

Thanks!

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