By Ling-Ling Lisa Shih
Here you will find useful Chinese language tools to assist you with your reading and writing in Chinese. Here are some of the features and functions you can find in these language tools:
- To look up a word with Chinese, Pinyin, or English and find the meaning of a character or vocabulary in English, Pinyin, and Chinese.
- To get animated Chinese character e-Stroke order of a character.
- To get the pronunciation of a character and vocabulary.
- To get sentence examples and their sound recording.
- To annotate text with Pinyin and pop-up English definition.
- To print out character, vocabulary, text worksheets.
- To convert Chinese to Pinyin.
- To convert simplified to traditional Chinese or vice versa.
- To convert sentence/text to sound recording.
- To find out how a Chinese character has evolved over time.
- To look up four-letter Chinese idioms.
Each language tool has its pros and cons. Some perform more functions than the other. Knowing each language tool’s features and functions they can perform will help you determine which one to use for different purposes.
I will start out with a quick list of Chinese language tools that are available here. Following the list you will find snap shots of the best features of each language tool. The visual aids help you quickly determine which dictionary and other language tool to use to suit your particular needs at different times.
Bookmark this page and keep it handy for references!
List of Chinese Language Tools for Reading and Writing
- Free Mobile Chinese Dictionary: Pleco (iOS & Android)
- Tong Wen Tang plugin for Firefox, Chrome or Safari: Traditional and Simplified Chinese Converter
- Chinese-English Popup Dictionaries:
- Mandarin Spot annotation tool
- ArchChinese Chinese-English Dictionary
- Line Dictionary Chinese to English
- MDBG Chinese Dictionary
- Yabla Chinese-English-Pinyin Dictionary
- Chinese Handwriting/Mousewriting Input
- Chinese-English Chengyu Dictionary–An English dictionary of Chinese idioms
- 2500 汉字繁简对照 (A list of 2500 Chinese Characters: Simplified vs. Traditional)
- Word Reference for Chinese English
- Chinese Sentence/Text to Speech Converter
- Chinese to Pinyin Converter
- Traditional/Simplified Chinese Converter
- Practice Sheet Generator
- Vocabulary List Generator
What will you find in these Chinese Language tools?
Free Mobile Chinese Dictionary: Pleco (iOS & Android)
Chinese-English Popup Dictionaries
After adding a pop-up dictionary on your electronic device, it will allow one’s mouse to point at any Chinese word on a web page and immediately get its definition and pinyin.
- Perapera Chinese Pop-Up Dictionary: Find the right one suitable for your browser and device. (The Plugin for Firefox is Pera Pera Kun, and in Google Chrome you can use Zhongwen: A Chinese-English Popup Dictionary.)
Paste some text into the Mandarin Spot annotation tool, and then press ‘annotate’. It will provide in-line pronunciation, pop-up translations when you hover over the words, as well as an English translation.
Get animated stroke order and pronunciation
Search with English, Pinyin, or Chinese characters. This one shows you the stroke orders
This tool allows you to use mouse to look up a character or a vocabulary.
Use this dictionary if you want to look up a character you don’t know how to pronounce.
–An English dictionary of Chinese idioms.
Chinese use a lot of four-letter idioms in their writing, which may not be included in a regular Chinese-English Dictionary. In that case, you may find these two dictionaries helpful to look up the idioms.
- Chinese-English Chinese Idioms Dictionary at Standard Mandarin
汉典：中中字典/中英/成语–A Chinese-Chinese Dictionary, also including English translation as well.