Chinese-English DictionariesInformation about and links to a variety of Chinese-English dictionaries in different formats
For free, convenient online reference, here are a few sites to consult:
- ArchChinese Chinese-English Dictionary: Bidirectional dictionary with a wealth of information
- Chinese-Tools.com: Bidirectional Chinese-English dictionary
- Zhongwen.com: Chinese dictionary presented in a visual format based on characters' structure and etymology
- Google Translate: Limited but dynamic, with helpful suggestions for translating individual words or expressions as well as longer phrases
Mobile App Dictionaries
There are a number of very useful Chinese/English bidirectional dictionaries available for smartphones and tablets:
- Probably the best of these dictionaries is Pleco Chinese Dictionary, a comprehensive, free multifunction dictionary with a variety of very useful paid add-ons such as a flashcard study system. Available for iPhone/iPad and Android.
- Qingwen Chinese Dictionary ($4.99), by Karan Misra, is a popular dictionary with an audio pronunciation feature included in the base price.
- HippoDICT Lite, by RoboHippo LLC, is another useful free dictionary with a limited flashcard function; HippoDICT Plus ($9.99) is a paid version with more features.
- Hanping Chinese Classic is a popular and free dictionary for Android that is rich in features, with a number of paid add-ons.
For old-school students who want a traditional dictionary in physical format, here are a few recommendations:
- The Oxford Beginner's Chinese Dictionary is a highly rated dictionary designed specifically for beginning students; it is not as comprehensive as the other dictionaries on this list.
- The Far East Chinese-English Dictionary is probably the most comprehensive Chinese-English dictionary available. Unfortunately, the English-Chinese version of this dictionary is difficult to purchase in the United States, though it is for sale on the Taiwan-based company's website here.
- The ABC English-Chinese, Chinese-English Dictionary is a thorough, highly regarded dictionary.
- Chinese Characters: A Genealogy and Dictionary, by Rick Harbaugh, is a very useful reference and study tool. Though it does not adhere strictly to traditional character genealogies, its unique format highlights the structural connections among various characters. The text of this dictionary is also freely available on Zhongwen.com.