The Only Chinese-English Dictionary app You’ll Ever Need

I suppose this could be considered a sequel to this post on the best ebook reader for Chinese. I must apologize for my particular emphasis on i-devices, but as it’s the only kinds I own, I am most familiar with what is available for them. Without much further ado, I bring you the only Chinese to English and vice versa (and Chinese-Chinese!) dictionary app you’ll ever need!

Originally I introduced Pleco (iTunes link here) back in this entry, but I did not devote nearly as much time to it as I should have. I have found that it is probably one of, if not the strongest Chinese dictionaries available. To quote the developers from their website:

free basic version of Pleco for iPhone / iPod Touch / iPad; you can add on more advanced features / dictionaries from right inside of the app, but the basic version is an excellent little dictionary in its own right (and includes the same wonderful search engine as our more advanced software).

I will also preface this by saying: while the basic dictionary is free, the rest of the add-ons (aside from a few) are paid additions. Some of those are very much worth it, others in my opinion are not. Anyway, let’s take a look at what Pleco has to offer!


[Sigh. Originally this was a MUCH shorter entry but I got overly ambitious.. there’s more after the break]

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The Only Chinese ebook Reader App You’ll Ever Need

Let me preface this by saying everything included in the app, including the app itself, is 100% free. This is important because, once you see all the features I’m about to lay out below, you’ll find out why I am so excited about this.

As I had written about before, Cbook Lite was my Chinese ebook reader of choice, with direct connection to the Haodoo website. Its name does, of course, admit that it is a lite app and it certainly is; no frills, gets the job done. All in all a solid program, no real complaints, and I still recommend trying it out.

Now let’s meet ShuBook(書僕). I had seen it linked on the Haodoo website and decided to take a look. The website describes ShuBook as:

ShuBook — 100,000+ books at your fingertips

ShuBook is an advanced free and open ebook reading platform with rich book sources. It is powerful, flexible and easy to use.

ShuBook is designed for both iPhone and iPad, and provides native support to iPhone 4 Retina display.

And ShuBook delivers 100%. The program is clean and easy to use, it offers conversion from Simplified to Traditional (zh-HK, zh-TW), preset ebook websites to download from (less searching on your part, and it auto downloads into the app), great display options, etc.

Book viewing options are amazing. My personal favorite is this style, and once I saw it it was the reason I downloaded it to begin with:

(Source: ShuBook website)

I feel it is easy to read, organizes the text in nice rows, and gives a nice traditional feel as well.

To be sure, though, the best feature is the preset book sources which give you a handful of websites to start right off the bat with. I already got the entire Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter series, and am on the look out for more. You can add custom ones as well. This means less digging around and running between a few different websites, trying to get it into the app, dealing with different formats (since ShuBook reads most major formats), etc.

So, really, give the website a good read and try it out. I think you’ll love it!

My Top Chinese Learning iPhone Apps

Well, since I sucked in and got an iPhone a few months ago, I’ve been trying my best to turn it into an ultimate tool in assisting with my studies. Since then, I’ve come across a few apps that I feel are the most useful in mobile studies! Also: they’re all FREE!!

I like pictures, hopefully you do too. Enjoy!

Chinese Studying Apps:

Pleco Chinese Dictionary


This app is a fantastic dictionary and I highly recommend it. The interface is appealing and easy to use. There are plenty of free dictionaries to download and use—and that is all that you will need. In addition, there’s plenty of paid add-ons ranging from audio (male/female voices), extended dictionaries, and my favorite, the OCR:


View their website here.

View more great screenshots here.

App Store link.

cBook Lite

A great ebook application that allows you to download books direct from (好讀網站). Side note: Haodoo also allows you to download in a variety of formats (pdf, as well as other ebook formats) that really extends the usefulness of the site.


Links to some kick-starter books:

Harry Potter《哈利波特》

Lord of the Rings 《魔戒之主》

cBook Lite just brings those downloads to your iPhone. Very useful for direct access to Chinese ebooks!


View cBook website here.

App Store link.


This links to news articles directly from China Times, a major newspaper in Taiwan. It’s a great way to keep up with the news on the road/commute and just browse for interesting articles. I always found more on here out of boredom on the way to work, than sitting at home and trying to browse the website. It was easier to navigate away to something else at home, so having this on the road made me focus on reading news articles. Definitely worth trying.


App Store link.

I’ll post more about useful apps for living in Taiwan (and also some specifically for Taipei). While they may not be of direct use, they may be interesting to look at for anyone planning on coming here!

Surusu: A Review

The more I use Surusu, the more I find myself falling in love with it—having officially transferred all of my Mnemosyne decks (except the writing ones, there’s a reason for that). Images and full review below the cut! That being said, there is a LOT of images below. I prefer images because it helps to give a clearer picture, especially if you’re unsure whether or not to use it.

The main interface is what I like: simplicity. Everything you need to do is right there.


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