Windows Mobile – English to Mandarin Chinese Dictionary
In early 2008, I decided to find an English to Chinese dictionary for Windows Mobile PDA. I’m using WM6, but that doesn’t matter too much.I couldn’t find one. :(
So, I jerry-rigged one.
This first file, is the current version of our free Chinese dictionary. It requires that a Chinese font, such as SimHei be installed on the PDA in your \Windows\Fonts folder — you might be able to copy this file from your desktop.
This file below is our original version. It is obsolete, but still useful for some people because it does not require a Chinese font. It provides pinyin only, i.e. pronounciation, not the glyphs.
Both links above are to .prc files. This is the custom ebook format used by Mobipocket Reader.
Transfer these files to your PDA, either using a flash chip, your PDA’s USB cable, or whatever.
Install Mobipocket Reader, it’s freely available from mobipocket.com.
Open the mobireader and this ebook. Use the built in search (“find”) function for the English word that you want in pinyin or chinese characters. Decipher the tone notation and pronounce the word(s) well enough that a Mandarin speaker will understand you. :)
I admit, it’s not very fancy, but as of version 2, I’m quite happy with it.
No, I never expected that I’d spend too long looking for a free Chinese dictionary for Windows Mobile. The homepage of CEDICT, http://www.mandarintools.com/cedict.html, lists many clients for many platforms: cell phones (via some variant of Java), Palm, Windows, Linux, Apple OSX, a few web based ones… just about everything except Windows Mobile PDAs.
In theory, with the proper Java Virtual Machine and other bits I should be able to run the cellphone Java client. I tried, got stuck, and gave up.
All that was done was to open the CEDICT dictionary file in a good text editor. Then run a series of search and replaces to mangle the document. Then take the whole file into Excel to rearrange columns. Then some more clean up in the text editor. And then finally, running the file through the free Mobipocket Reader book compiler to make the ebook that can be opened in Mobipocket Reader on Windows Mobile (and other PDAs) – as an aside, Mobipocket is a great free ebook reader.
CEDICT includes the full Chinese written characters. In the original version of our dictionary, I cut them from my “ebook” since Windows Mobile does not have Unicode fonts installed by default… and I just didn’t need them at the time. After a month of use, I decided it would be quite useful for reading chinese menus and guessing at signs, so version 2 of PSI’s free Chinese dictionary does include the Chinese glyphs.
That’s it. File links are above.
Upon reflection, this dictionary should be compatible with all versions of MobiPocket, including those for RIM Blackberry, SmartPhones, Palm, and more. Let me know if you do use this file on something other than Windows Mobile.
Please post a comment if you find this useful or have questions.