Ideographer is a Taipei-based developer of small but useful Max OS X apps with a heavy focus on the Chinese language. I use their apps a lot during my day-to-day Chinese studies and writing here on ChineseHacks so I’d like to share them with you. Here I’ll be focusing on the three apps that I use the most: Pinyin Dictionary, Chinese Rewriter and the Unihan Variant Dictionary.
This is by far the app that I use the most of the three. Pinyin Dictionary displays the phonetic pronunciation for Chinese characters – Though don’t be fooled by the name, Pinyin Dictionary displays more than just Pinyin and supports the following phonetic alphabets: Hanyu Pinyin, Zhuyin, Wade Giles and Tongyong Pinyin.
I love this app and use it to generate the Pinyin pronunciation for ChineseHacks articles.
Chinese Rewriter helps you convert Traditional Chinese to Simplified and vice-versa. You can also open and convert text files directly in the app and convert the ID3 tags of MP3 files, read more about the features.
Unihan Variant Dictionary
Lastly, and great for research purposes, is the Unihan Variant Dictionary. The dictionary shows all of the variants of a Chinese character together with the pronunciation (in Hanyu Pinyin, Cantonese and Japanese among others) and the English definition.
If you’re in the subset of Mandarin Chinese students that also use a Mac, then I’m sure you’ll find these apps useful for your studies. If you’re using Windows then you can help us out by suggesting some similar or equivalent apps. We’d love to hear any recommendations for useful apps on Windows, or on OS X, that you have. Make use of the comments below and we’ll feature them in an upcoming post.