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Eight Brains Chinese Dictionary (Flexible)

iPhone / iPad
  • Reference
  • Education
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This is a flexible-pricing version of Eight Brains Chinese Dictionary, for tourists and others who only need to use it for a limited time. Comes with free 3-day subscription.

This app helps expats in China and students of Chinese
- find the right words with frequency usage charts
- take pictures of books and menus, then tap on the characters for pronunciation and meaning
- learn with flashcards
- list of everyday phrases (hear it spoken!)
- copy/paste Chinese SMS messages and tap on the characters for pronunciation and meaning
- summary of Chinese grammar

Eight Brains has over 2400 definitions customized for beginning Chinese learners, with many cross-references for related words and antonyms and grammar usage. There are also 100,000 basic definitions from CC-CEDICT covering almost word you might need. Frequency usage charts help you choose the commonly used word.

Character recognition is the coolest feature: take a picture of a menu, a page of a book, or a notice on your apartment. Then select the smallest rectangle that includes the text you want and hit “Scan.” Eight Brains will find simplified characters in that region, and you can tap on them to get the pronunciation and meaning. There is an option to do the same thing with SMS, WeChat, or other text, which is handy when people send you a message you cannot read.

Includes flashcards for China's HSK 1, 2, and 3 tests.

I recommend enabling the Chinese handwriting recognition included with every version of iOS, so you can draw characters you do not know to look them up. This is very handy and I use it daily.