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.

Perceptus’ Free English to Chinese Dictionary Version 2

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  It is obsolete, but still useful for some people because it does not require a Chinese font.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.

CEDICT English-Chinese lookup in Mobipocket Reader format

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


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,, 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.

4 Responses to “Windows Mobile – English to Mandarin Chinese Dictionary”

  1. Jason Says:

    You should try It’s java based and will use CEDICT so it should work on your windows mobile 6 device. It appears to be working on mine.

  2. MrScience101 Says:

    Thank you so much. I just wasted an hour looking for a free one myself, but with not luck.

  3. MrScience101 Says:

    That did not sound right. I meant to say thank you for posting those files because you just saved me a ton of time because I did not want to do it myself. The above comment sounds like I am being sarcastic, which was not my intent, I do appreciate the files.

  4. Gravity404 Says:

    After reading your troubles and woes it inspired me to do the same thing. Thank you for your guidance. I have since created a Windows Mobile 6 Based English to Chinese to English Dictionary. It uses Mobipocket reader which is a nice freeware reader. At any rate, I hope you find it useful.

    The dictionaries can be downloaded here:

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