XiaoCiDian By English

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008 | News

A few people have downloaded 小词典 Desktop now, and I’ve received some very nice feedback.

(小词典 Desktop, by the way, is a plug in for Mac OS X dictionary that lets you use your Mac to look up simplified Chinese characters anywhere on the system).

The number one requested feature has been to add the ability to look up English words and get the Simplified / Mandarin equivalent.

The way the CC-CEDICT dictionary is put together, however, isn’t likely to work well going from English to Chinese. The main reason for this is an entry in the CC-CEDICT doesn’t have all the iterations for words (do, doing, did, etc).

On top of the dictionary limitations, often times a single Chinese word doesn’t equal a single English word. For example, 思 means “to think” but it’s more of a deep thought whereas 觉得 means “to think” but more of a “I feel like” kind of think. When you hover over “think” to get a definition the application would have to understand the whole sentence to know which word to show – it’s an interesting problem, and one I am not going to be tackling on Sunday, and surely not free.

Anyway, I decided to brute force the CC-CEDICT into an English to Chinese dictionary that you can use on your Mac. It works somewhat well, but be very weary of the words it suggests as translations.

Here is a movie of it in use:

You can download it from the 小词典 web site. It is based on the latest CC-CEDICT.

P.S. If you find it is not working after you install, launch the Dictionary applicatoin in your applications folder, go to preferences, and move 小词典 up the list (and turn it on if needed). Like so:

Picture 1-4

P.S.*2 For those of you who have asked, no, Apple has still not approved the iPhone application.

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