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ABCinChina

Favorite Popup Translator - Lingoes, Powerword, Wakan, Stardict, NJStar, Wenlin et al

What's your favorite popup translator software for Chinese and why?  

8 members have voted

  1. 1. What's your favorite popup translator software for Chinese and why?

    • Stardict
      1
    • Powerword
      10
    • Lingoes
      8
    • Wakan
      1
    • NJStar
      6
    • Wenlin
      25
    • Other...(please explain)
      13
    • Dr Eye
      0
    • Babylon
      0


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roddy

Only in the sense of 'if you start up the application, copy the text you want, paste it into the application, and point your mouse at the word you don't know' you'll get a pop-up translation at the bottom. While that's not a massive hassle, it's not uncommon to need a translation of something you can't copy and paste so easily - a menu item, some setting deep in Control Panel, etc. 'Always on' translators like Powerword run in the background and pop up a translation for any Chinese text (ok, there will be limitations, but generally speaking) you hover your pointer over.

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Shadowdh

Thats what I thought Roddy... in that sense then Wenlin is still not as good as Pleco or Powerword then... at least imho... not as good as Pleco because you cant use it on a handheld, not as good as Powerword as its more cumbersome... (but still very useful)...

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roddy

Pleco is, for my money, an entirely different beast to the pop-up providers, and I don't think there's any value in comparing it with the other tools listed.

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md1101

big wenlin fan here.. particularly of the chinese to english translations. the definitions are usually very good with several synonyms and sometimes an example of its usage. plus because of the stroke order tool i now have no trouble writing characters in the correct order.

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self-taught-mba

Yep. Have to agree. Because Wenlin will have example sentences in pinyin:mrgreen:

Computer terms are rarely rendered understandable by any program if you don't have a clue at all. But the always on function of PW is good for error messages etc. But I couldn't take it. Because it was always on.

Pleco is different and requires tapping. (and can't really intelligently group bigrams) Plus a tiny screen. Different animal. Different purpose.

There are also a few more programs out there we have used. Gonna do a blog write up. The short answer: each tool has diff. strengths and just one won't suffice

--typed

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ABCinChina

With PW, all you have to do is set the "Cursor Translator toggle key" to something like F1 to turn it off/on.

Edit: You can also set it to "Ctrl + click", or "Middle mouse button" click to get the word you don't know translated.

Edited by ABCinChina

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self-taught-mba

Oh? :oops:

Always moused clicked. But that was 2 yrs ago. Haven't had it since.

Forgot to say: when we consider Wenlin's age, yet many still claim it is the best, it is really not bad even considering the UI. Ctrl A, ctrl C, atl-tab, ctrl v never seemed that bad, can also drag/drop into it.

--typed

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ABCinChina

Seems like Wenlin is not what I previously thought it was in that you have to copy and paste to get a translation. But the functions seem to be there though when looking at the website, the interface seems a bit outdated.

Self-taught-mba, look forward to that write-up! :mrgreen:

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singlung

wenlin is my weapon of choice.

thanks to md1101 i discovered the stroke order tool. makes it even better :wink:

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ABCinChina

One question to all the Wenlin users...Does Wenlin have character animations for traditional characters? I'm thinking about getting it just so I'll be able to get stroke animations without being connected to the internet.

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Luobot

ABCinChina,

ZDT is another option for getting character stroke animations offline, and ZDT lets you toggle between simplified and traditional characters. ZDT also does in-program popup character translation within its Annotator tab. Since both Wenlin and ZDT only translate (annotate) characters that are copied and pasted into the program itself, I'm not sure if either ZDT or Wenlin should be classified as a popup translator in the general sense that Powerword is. (And if so, then what about all the websites that do translation/annotation after you've copied and pasted characters into its browser window?) Although both Wenlin and ZDT have other strengths, for the purpose of getting character animations and annotations, the difference in price between Wenlin and ZDT is not insubstantial.

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ABCinChina

I didn't know that you have to cut and paste to get a translation in Wenlin before I made the first post. But I think since Wenlin got 12 votes with it being the favorite, then people would probably kill me if it wasn't listed. Thanks for the extra ZDT option.

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ABCinChina

Ok guys, don't hate me for saying this, but I think Wenlin has a really bad interface and is not easy at all to use for first timers. I just got my hands on Wenlin 3.0 but I'll still be using Powerword for translations because it's quicker and more accurate IMO. But now, I'll be using Wenlin for looking up characters I don't know when I don't have the pinyin as well as when I need a stroke order. It sure beats looking up the characters by its radical from the non-electronic paper dictionary that I have. Here's my short review of Wenlin...

1. The voice pronunciations are very good and are all in wav files which means that you can use them for personal and not commercial use. All the possible pinyin pronunciations are there with both male and female voices.

2. I like the examples sentences that it gives for some words looked up, but almost every pop-up translator does this function when you look up a word in the dictionary so Wenlin doesn't stand out in this aspect.

3. The interface and fonts used seem a bit outdated but doesn't really matter if the functions are there. (I need to mess around with it some more to find out what other functions stand out)

4. I don't like the tool bar at all. There's a text grabber tool, mouth tool for pronunciation, etc. This all could have been done much more seamlessly and the way some of these tools are used do not make any sense to me.

5. One cool thing is that you can draw a character with a mouse and it will get the dictionary definition. I think ZDT doesn't have this function nor do the other popup translators.

6. I don't like how it creates a bunch of windows within the program as things can get cluttered really fast. You have to manually close the windows you're done looking at.

7. Edit: I finally found the stroke order animations. You have to click the triangle button next to stroke. What's pretty funny is that it's called the "Wenlin Stroking Box".

Edited by ABCinChina

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querido
Wenlin is one of the 2 programs I refuse to use due to an absolutely horrible UI, the other one being SuperMemo :mrgreen:

I think that is an unreasonable juxtaposition; SuperMemo should not be considered marketable in my opinion, having owned and used it. Don't make me unleash what I really think about it...

What's wrong with Wenlin's UI? I find it remarkably simple, fast and easy to use

I agree.

Try the free demo. The demo is up to version 3.4.1 now.

I don't like how it creates a bunch of windows within the program as things can get cluttered really fast. You have to manually close the windows you're done looking at.

Yes.

But, consider that every programmer has decisions to make about how popups or child-windows should be handled, and most in the MS world are bound by consistency-of-appearance, sometimes beyond reason, because their customers have become accustomed to that. Wenlin's structure is different, courageously so given this microsoftification of the masses, and offers an unexpected functionality: the child-windows are kept in a column. Instead of the usual dragging, resizing, etc., they are stacked like the stones on a abacus let's say, to be slid open wherever desired, the other stones (title-bars), sliding out of the way automatically. Once I noticed this, I thought it was pretty neat, and smart. It can be compared to an auto-tiling window manager- a very interesting subject.

Being a GNU/Linux user, I'm accustomed to this initial effort of exploring whether or not some non-standard feature of a use interface might be worth learning. Wenlin is intelligent design that you might or might not agree with, but SuperMemo is in an entirely different category: UI chaos in my opinion.

*****

I will probably try the hitherto mythical Plecodict desktop version, if those poor souls slaving away down there in the crack of Mordor finish it in this epoch of man's long journey... Don't worry, when its done you'll hear about it- their internet connectivity is legendary...

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tooironic

querido: you took the words right outta my mouth. Long live Wenlin!

  • Like 1

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ABCinChina

Wow, thanks for that informative write-up! But you're right that the default Powerword Chinese to English dictionaries are sometimes lacking. That's why I formatted the CEDICT dictionary for it in the first place. What I like is the functionality of the pop-up in Powerword and the fact that you can change the colors of the window if you get bored of default. But sometimes the default Powerword dictionaries have important words that CEDICT doesn't have so I wouldn't recommend removing them from the "Lookup-Dictionaries" when you type in a word to get a definition. Regarding the font issue, I'm not sure what's going on but if I find out something new, I'll let you know. (I can see the words very clearly on my work and home computers)

Side Note: Wenlin should be disqualified because it's not a true pop-up translator! j/k :mrgreen: Also, I'd like to be able to add "Dr.eye" and "Babylon" to the poll options if at all possible to get a better idea of what people are using...

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roddy

Added them both.

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