Chinese – English Dictionary for iPhone (Cedict)

One of the benefits of having a smartphone like an iPhone or Google Android based phone, is that you don’t have to carry lots of individual devices with you when you go out – this includes an electronic Chinese dictionary. There are lot of dictionaries available now, just searching for “Chinese dictionary” in the iTunes store brings up a huge page of apps. So which app should you splash out for?

Red 8 Ventures already has three iPhone apps based on the open source CC-Cedict dictionary avaiable in the App Store(if you’re learning Chinese you’ve likely heard of CC-Cedit, if not you should really have a look).

The three versions of the dictionary are Simplified (£2.99/$4.99), Traditional (£2.99/$4.99) and Pro (£5.49/$8.99). The Simplified and Traditional versions are essentially the same with the only difference being they only support searching for Simplified or Traditional characters (pretty obvious eh ;)). While the Pro version supports both Traditional and Simplified.

The basic features of all versions of the dictionary are:

  • Search Suggestions – results appear interactively as you type. Results get more accurate as you input more characters.
  • Bookmark phrases from your searches. Great as a learning or reference tool.
  • EXTREMELY quick search results. Searches take 1/5th of a second on average.
  • Search Pinyin, English, Chinese at the same time.
  • Access to almost 90,000 Chinese words/phrases offline.

Even though the CC-Cedict open source dictionary database (which this app is based on) has really improved over the last few years and has become a viable alternative to commercial options, on occasion you might find the word you want isn’t found, or warrants the ‘second-opinion’ of another dictionary to be sure the translation is correct.

Chinese English Dictionary is really fast, and essentially a no-nonsense lightweight dictionary which makes it convenient to check words while you are out and about without having to pull out your dedicated electronic dictionary – it’s worth it for this convenience alone. All in all, it’s a decent app and definately worth the money if you are looking for a Chinese dictionary for your iPhone.

We will be reviewing more dictionary apps soon, including apps for Android, so make sure to check back! If you have and thoughts on this app, or suggestions for apps to review, then please leave a comment below:

6 responses to “Chinese – English Dictionary for iPhone (Cedict)

  1. I had a look at both of these, Pleco does seem to be the best. Dian Hua doesn’t do search suggestions like Pleco, you have to stop input and then physically hit the search button which is a bit annoying.

  2. For me, the best thing about Pleco is the built-in pleco dictionary. Although you can download bigger dictionaries as well, the standard one covers about 90% of what I search for and it includes example sentences which I always seem to be able to understand and use. Not only that, it will split up the sentence for you and show pinyin/english for each word/phrase. I never even use online dictionaries any more, because to be honest, they all suck. Even NCIKU barely supports traditional characters and the example sentences also seem so overly complicated and long, hence useless.

  3. I mostly use a dictionary on my phone, and If I’m on the computer then I only use dictionary.google.com. I find 90% of the time Google has an acceptable definition, or at least something I can understand based on the word I’m searching for and the sentence it’s in.

    It might be worth drawing up a list of a few 100 or so words of varying complexity/rarity to test all of these dictionaries out.

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