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Programs that will read words on mouseover?

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Currently using the Zhongwen add-on for Google Chrome to read webpages and such, it's proving very useful, but I would like to know if there was a program that could also give you the readings of the word on mouseover. (with voice, that is) 

Have Googled a bit but since the people on this forum seem to have incredible knowledge of Chinese resources, I thought I would take a shortcut and come here instead. :)

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Yes exactly, in this day and age we shouldn't be using pinyin, it was invented when all we had was paper and so if you had no one to read the text out to you, there was no way of knowing how to pronounce the characters. But these days it should all be audio and characters only.

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9 hours ago, hismaimai9999 said:

a program that could also give you the readings of the word on mouseover


A free one, Purple Culture's 'Chinese Tools' extension for Chrome, downloadable from the Chrome Web Store, not from Google Play:

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/search/chinese tools

It comes near, though it needs a couple of clicks. The Tools come on when you're in a web page that contains Chinese and are accessed from the context (right-click) menu. I don't know whether it uses 100% human voices but many are human. It does a few other useful things like saving your characters/words to a list. Sadly, only works with Chrome.


One that does exactly what you want but requires subscription is Chinese Reader 8


It's not cheap though paying yearly rather than monthly makes it a little easier on the pocket. The good thing about it is that it works on all Windows browsers, including Edge, as well as with Ms Office including  Word, and with pdfs. It does have an option to automatically  pronounce hovered words or any highlighted text - it very soon drives you mad.

If only the developers made it cheaper, they'd probably make a lot more profit.

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Not really what the op is asking for but I  just use the tablet and pleco OCR. In this way you're not just limited to chrome web browser Word docs, PDF etc can be looked at.

But fiddled and doesn't help if you want to use a PC but anyway.... something to consider.


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Yes, Pleco has speech options and you can buy add-on human voices for it.


If I remember correctly the Android version allows you to look up anything on the screen (select and 'share' to Pleco) in which case you could then ask it to pronounce, whereas on the iOS version the Web Reader will only do look-up... instead you have to copy-paste it into the Clipboard Reader, select the text and then hit the speaker icon.


I use ZhongWen all the time and speech would be a nice addition.  For what it's worth you can hit alt-5 to lookup the highlighted text in MDBG.net which does have a speech option, but it's not human voices.  It will hook into 6 dictionaries in total, by hitting alt and 1, 2, 3, etc, but MDBG seems to the only one with audio.



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Split my off-topic response about Audio vs Pinyin (and the subsequent replies) in to a new topic here.

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Posts on whether Pleco will make a desktop version split to this topic. It's been a request for some years, it seems 🙂

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thanks @Lu @imron



Ok, back on topic

I started using You Dao (有道)  It has the ability to translate words from most programs and apps on Windows PC (e.g word, excel, PDF,  internet browser etc) I copied a sentence from HSK6 course material.  It seems to do a good job. See below.


Capture A  -  hover over a word and press CTRL

Capture B  -  highlight a word and press CTRL 

Capture C - Expand out to further definitions and dictionaries (by clicking the 更多翻译 (encircled in blue in Capture A or B)

More difficult ones like idioms you need to expand out and check a different dictionary as the default one seems insufficient, (see Capture D and E)

Capture G - plenty of examples to choose from


I have just started using it and some pointers worth mentioning


  • When downloading unclick a lot of options as being a Chinese program the tendency to to ram a lot of unnecessary extra features like advertising in your PC and try take control of default apps.
  • I see no audio for Chinese, well at least I haven't found it yet but has pinyin so useful. 
  • You can download off line dictionaries which is worth doing.  
  • Worth looking at the short cuts keys and amend to suit as it may well interfere with already assigned shortcuts, especially when using word.
  • It has a nice feature that you can highlight a picture or part of a screen and the translate that to English (See Capture H and I). This is actually useful , (if a bit cumbersome and incorrect) to see what all the options actually mean in the APP itself 
  • You have subscribe to a VIP if you want to get rid of the advertising or use some of the better dictionaries, offline dictionaries. I haven't see the need for it yet but will see how much I use it. 
  • It has text translate service but seems no better nor worse that Baidu or Google. Just useful if you don't want to keep opening a browser I suppose.
  • It's not ideal as its an APP written for chinese people learning english not the other way round, but helpful nonetheless. Main obvious drawback is that has audio but for English only



Capture A.JPG

Capture B.JPG

Capture C.JPG

Capture D.JPG

Capture E.JPG

Capture I.png

Capture G.JPG

Capture H.JPG

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