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Useful English-Japanese Handheld Dictionaries? 88

srothroc asks: "I've been interested in finding one of these, but I'm not too sure where to start looking. I've been around the block talking to students and my professor - most people either don't need one for some reason or the other or only use paper dictionaries. Online searches have been fruitless as well, so I turn to you, Slashdot. The ideal dictionary would be able to take hiragana/katakana input and give output in English, hiragana, katakana, and/or kanji. A lot of the ones that I've seen take English (romaji) input and spit out the same - not something I'd need. I would prefer options that wouldn't bust my wallet, as Christmas season is coming around. Any ideas, folks?"
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Useful English-Japanese Handheld Dictionaries?

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  • Just about any electronics store or office supply store has these electronic dictionaires lined up out in front.
    • Yes, but the poster specified why those won't work: they only do romaji input and output (romaji is one of several Japanese character sets; it's a way to roughly express Japanese words in the Roman alphabet). Needless to say, the input systems for hirigana and katakana (the alphabets you probably associate with "Japanese") are much more complex and require more than a simple modification of a translator designed for two languages that use what is more or less the same alphabet (English, Spanish, German, Fr
      • Thanks for the help - this does look like quite a useful alternative to buying a dedicated dictionary when a zire would cost less and still be fully dedicated. It hadn't occurred to me to try this.
    • "Just about any electronics store or office supply store has these electronic dictionaires lined up out in front. "

      Thank you for living up to your name.
  • Get a Zaurus SL-C760 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Michael Spencer Jr. ( 39538 ) * <(spam) (at) (> on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @12:30AM (#7742357) Homepage
    Get a Zaurus SL-C760.

    (Or if you're technical, you can hack the dictionary software onto a Zaurus SL-C700, as I have.)

    The built-in "denki jisho" (electronic dictionary) has four dictionaries: Japanese-to-Japanese (completely useless to me); Japanese-to-English (which takes input in hiragana, katakana, or kanji -- but not romaji); English-to-Japanese (almost completely useless to me, except I can copy the definition into a HancomWord doc or something and paste each individual kanji back into the dictionary going the other way); and Katakana to whatever (so you can tell that 'depaato' means department store, etc.)

    Zauruses have excellent kanji handwriting recognition too, so you can just sketch out the character combination you're asking about and it reads it. Even if you make mistakes -- which is pretty impressive.

    I hear the SL-C8-something (860?) is the same hardware as the C760 but with extra full-sentence-translation software. That software will probably soon be working on the C700 also.

    A Japanese friend at the university has one of the higher-end standalone dictionaries. I don't know who makes hers, but on any search hers seems to have nearly double the definitions and meanings that mine does, or has many obscure words that mine doesn't have.

    Expensive, but recommended.
    • by sakusha ( 441986 ) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @01:29AM (#7742633)
      Ahem.. these devices are called "denshi jiten" and not "denki jisho." Denki means electricity, not electronic, and jisho is archaic usage, so you've described an electric dictionarium, not an electronic dictionary.
      But quibbling aside, your description of the Zaurus handwriting input is innacurate. You can make SOME errors in input, but you must be able to draw the kanji in correct stroke order, and the strokes must cross each other in the correct pattern. This makes them suitable only for advanced students that can accurately copy any kanji in the correct stroke order. This is usually a skill that only develops somewhere around the 4th year of university level courses. That's when I bought a Zaurus. And the first thing the Zaurus taught me was that I'd been writing hiragana "na" incorrectly for years, it couldn't recognize my handwriting. I was, however, rather astonished to see the Zaurus could accurately read some cursive kanji. These devices are really designed for native Japanese users, so they are designed to accomodate errors or cursive simplifications typical to native Japanese users.
      • Bzzt, both wrong, they're denshi jisho, at least in the osaka area. Trust me, btoh the foreigners and the japanese people called them this. Also, jisho is the word I've always been taught and heard for any kind of dictionary. I never heard jiten in 9 months of being in Japan.

        Any proper education methods should have ingrained in you the radicals and proper concepts of stroke order such that you should be able to copy any kanji by halfway through second year of uni. I know most people were doing it prope
        • Osakaben uses a lot of archaic forms, but I notice you said "denshi" not "denki." I assure you that tokyoben (the national standard) is denshijiten, and that's the word used in the manuals of both my Zaurus and Wordtank (it's even written on the boxes). Some daijiten still call themselves jisho but that is a deliberate attempt to sound archaic and thus sound like an old authority.
          Sure you start learning stroke order around 2nd year, but I'm talking about an INFALLIBLE, unerring, ingrained ability to reprodu
          • Some daijiten still call themselves jisho but that is a deliberate attempt to sound archaic and thus sound like an old authority.

            Er... no, it's not. Jiten and jisho are essentially interchangeable, although jiten is slightly more formal, so people tend to use jisho in conversation.
            • I suggest you take this up with my language instructor. She's from Hokkaido and has a PhD in linguistics. She made us scratch out every incidence of "jiten" in our textbooks and replace it with "jisho," explaining it was archaic usage. I'll take her word over yours.
              • oops, I got that backwards, dammit. She made us scratch out the archaic "jisho" and replace it with "jiten."

                Dammit, now you've even got me doing it wrong. I always say it takes hours of listening to native speakers to undo the damage from one minute of listening to bad Japanese students. Go peddle your incorrect usage elsewhere, I have more important things to do than repair the damage you're doing.
                • I love these people who take a couple of courses and think they know everything.

                  I have a dgree in linguistics from a Japanese university, I worked as an editor at a Japanese publishing company (among other things, editing J-E/E-J dictionaries), and I've lived in Japan for fourteen years.

                  Come back when you've got some real experience with the language, OK?
                  • Yep, I have a Japanese linguistics degree, lived and worked in Japan, blah blah blah. Let me know which jiten you worked on so I can avoid it.
                    • Jesus, you just don't know when to give up, do you?

                      I do translation on the side: the Amazon Japan listing for one of the books I've translated [] (E->J; check the translator's name against my nick).

                      If you still don't believe me (and don't come up with some lame excuse like "You just searched for somebody whose name matches your nick"), come onto #slashdot on; my nick there is the same as my /. nick.

                      Why don't you just accept that (a) you were wrong and (b) other people knowing more than y
                    • Grr... make that
                    • ROTFL!!! You translated a picture book about beer! I bet that was a whole lot of work.

                      Face it, you're an old Japan burnout that sneers at everyone who arrived in Japan one day after you and calls them "fresh off the boat." You've "gone native" and try to out-Japanese the Japanese, declaring yourself an authority over the judgement of native Japanese PhD linguists I cited. I've seen a hundred old burnouts like you. I used to pity them, now I just avoid them.
                    • Oh for fuck's sake. IHBT.

          • By the way, since you don't seem to be the type who'll accept anybody's word but your own, let's look at Google.

            Denshijiten: 300,000 links []
            Denshijisho: 544,000 links []

            Now, shut up about things you don't really know about, hmmm?
          • In my college courses, which are by no means accelerated, we started on stroke order from our first kanji on. The explanation as to why kakijun was hammered into us was because of its benefit in using dictionaries. I've not yet completed my second year and we've learned a decent number ofkanji with 12 strokes or more and most high stroke kanji are comprised of smaller kanji/radicals that you learn early on.

            Furthermore, every kanji writing recognition system I've used has been somewhat forgiving about com
          • Well, I won't call myself authoritative, but having spent a month in Japan with people who needed their denshijisho rather often in order to communicate with me, I didn't hear "denshijiten" a single time... (though this was indeed in the Kansai area) I suspect that jisho is in fact more common usage in spoken language, jiten being more formal and the "correct" term for the product.
            As for stroke order, don't go around scaring prospective japanophiles please. :-) It's very logical really - I've studied Japa
      • I taught myself Japanese in the navy, on a ship homeported there, and learned stroke order from a couple of cheap books. Once you get the general idea, the rest follow. If it took you until 4th year of university, you must be relying on memory alone, and not doing a very good job of it. It's just a matter of learning some basic tricks they use, like why guchi is three strokes instead of four, the general flow. That will get you 99% of the stroke order within a few days.
      • seems you're mostly right. No place better than slashdot to get a correction I suppose :)

        In support of what you said: it turns out Jisho is correct [], but that denshi [] jiten [] is also right. No wonder Japanese exchange students were looking at me funny, but not correcting me, when I said "denki jisho". It's a shame nobody said anything to me before you did, but thanks for the correction. *memorizes denshi jiten* :)

        Strange, though, but the default menu option for the dictionary calls it Jisho [].

        • ha.. you will find that native Japanese speakers are extremely hesitant to correct your spoken errors, even if you ask them to. They won't do it even if you DEMAND it. It's frustrating sometimes, but it's one of those cultural things.
          BTW, I used to use my Zaurus when chatting with exchange students, every single one of them had electronic dicts with keyboards (cheap Seikos usually) and once they saw the Zaurus, they all said they wanted one.
      • Dude what are you thining.. it:s a denshi jishyo bro.. jiten is the japanese reading of the chinese word for dictionary.. jishyo is japanese.. jiten is used only on old dictionaries and not in the modern japanese language. my seiko is a denshi jishyo. all of my teachers here in japan call them denshi jishyo... and i would reccomend seiko .. good brand.. pretty much everyone here at my school (be them chinese, japanese, american, ) they will have a seiko or a sony.. seiko becuase it:s good.. sony becu
      • Stroke order (or "kaikijun" - as we're so damn correct in this thread) is in fact pretty easy.

        But for a very few characters that are particularly tricky (like "kanarazu": it's not "kokoro" with a slash through it), just about all others are easy to guess after about a year of study I'd say. This is because the majority of kanji are comprised of repetitive components that follow simple rules (like "kuchi", "yama", "ito" and the like).

        Mind you, my university course contained one shuji class a week, which he
    • You can run other dictionary programs on the 760 as well. So if you are used to looking things up in edict on wwwjdic you can easily keep doing edict lookups on the 760 with babbletower (which also supports flash cards). There are other programs like zbedic and qtjiten and other dictionaries like ejiro you can get working as well. I also had one of the JavaDict's working which supports skip lookups among other things (in case you don't know stroke order ;p).

      A 760 is expensive, but of course there are ot
  • Make your own! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kaeru the Frog ( 152611 ) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @12:35AM (#7742385)
    Here's [] a pretty popular web based dictionary. I used it for a while but became dissatisfied with the interface. The dictionaries [] it uses are avaible and pretty much free to use as you wish. I wrote my own front end for the dictionaries in a weekend and I am very happy with how much more useful it is.
    • Jeffrey's [] is a really good online dictionary that I believe uses the same dictionaries. I have quick searches set up in firebird to make it even easier, for single word translations e->j and j->e, as well as skip code lookups.

      Just type j-e oyasumi in to my location bar and up comes a translation.. meccha benri na.. ;)
  • PDA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ( 629916 ) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @12:46AM (#7742440) Homepage
    Just buy a cheap PDA, either Palm or Pocket PC, and install dictionary software on it. For Palm you can get the shareware KDIC. It gives you more flexibility and choices than a dedicated dictionary.
    • I've been very impressed with PAdict [] which is free, and RoadLingua [] which is not and requires a hack such as CJKOS [].

      When I looked at the hardware denki-jisho (and to some extent the dead-tree variety) I found the ones using kana/kanji were aimed heavily at Japanese (usage examples, etc.) and the foreigner targeted ones, without exception, used romanji. I failed to find a dedicated device that would fit your (or my) needs. Sorry.

      Looks like there's a gap in the market!

  • by GuyMannDude ( 574364 ) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @12:47AM (#7742448) Journal

    ... is to forget about the gizmos and just take a crash course in learning the language. But taking a class can be expensive and boring. That's why you want to spend time watching hentai instead. Most of them have handy subtitles on the screen so you can match the words with what's being said. You'll learn all sorts of handy Japanese phrases that will help you in everyday life such as:

    • "I want to have sex!"
    • "So good! So good!"
    • "Hey, get that tentacle out of there!"

    and so on. Trust me, a few hours spent boning-up, I mean, studying-up on the Japanese language using these video materials and you'll impress everyone you meet!

    Hope this helps,

    • can be obtained here. [] They have multiple advantages, they're more pleasurable to hold in your hands than electronic devices, they know ALL the words, and the batteries never run out. On the down side, the batteries never run out, even when you wish they WOULD, maintenance costs are extremely high, and after a few years of use, you'll lose interest in speaking Japanese ever again.
    • Ah, yeah. I do take Japanese - was looking for a nice dictionary to supplement the vocabulary I'm lacking in - especially as I may possibly be studying abroad with the Associated Kyoto Program and if accepted would definitely run into words that I didn't know.
      • Honestly just go to a store when you get there.. The good ones are unfortunately san-man en ijou.. I didn't have 30,000 yen available for spending, so I had to make do without. Most of the japanese people I knew went to the same uni (kansai gaikoku go daigaku) and were studying english, so they had varying qualities of denshi jishou on them at most times. They laughed when I pulled out my paper dictionaries, but sometimes I beat them at finding the proper definitions, jsut because they had a hard time s
  • by Rastor ( 8752 ) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @12:50AM (#7742459)
    To get a really good Japanese dictionary, you're probably going to have to go to Japan. Fortunately, there are importers such as J-List which will happily provide you with such things [].
    • I've got a Canon IDX-9600 which is suitable as a Japanese-English dictionary (for Japanese people), but it can be switched to have an english menu and it can translate English in Japanese too (as all those dictionaries can), but it also shows you the Hiragana reading of japanese Kanji (which most electonic dictionaries don't do, as Japanese can read the Kanjis).

      This makes it perfect for using as a non-Japanese speaker. The only drawback of that IDX-9600 is the slow speed (turn it, on, wait 1 second, push

    • > To get a really good Japanese dictionary, you're probably going to have to go to Japan.

      Nope. Sorry. I'm in Japan and have been looking for a good one for 4 months. There are a lot to choose from, but all of them are in Japanese. Unless you can read the language to start off with, it's not much use. Asking for the definition of any Japanese word will return the definition in Japanese. Nearly all of the devices here are for Japanese native speakers.
  • It isn't exactly what you are looking for but you might find this [] interesting. Ectaco [] have lots of useful traslation programs. Hope that helps.
  • I never have owned such a devices, but I'm a native English speaker and spent 4 years in Japan.

    Of the handful of E-Japanese/English dictionaries that I've seen friends using and/or in stores, the Canon Wordtank seemed to rise above the rest in my rusty recollection.

    Fanatic's site: []

    Ebay - Canon Wordtank []

    Ganbatte ne!!
    • Canon's Wordtank is the coolest little thing you can get for the money, just about. Before offering advice I searched the thread for Canon and discovered that I'm not the only one who realizes this. Canon's offering ought to be cheap enough for a Christmas expenditure without breaking all but the flimsier (read: my) holiday budget. I knew a friend who had one when we were in Japan together and it was a great tool for exploring new vocabulary and solving existing problems.
    • I had one of those in my days in Japan. A lifesaver. Sadly mine has long since died.
  • Get realistic here (Score:5, Informative)

    by sakusha ( 441986 ) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @01:17AM (#7742583)
    Either you haven't given sufficient information on your needs here, or you haven't given sufficient THOUGHT to your needs here. You give vague guidelines for what you're seeking, like for example, you want to input kana and have it output kanji. You must be a beginner, because you don't seem to realize there is no one-to-one correspondence between words written in kana and kanji. For example, when I write the kana "seikou," do I want the kanji meaning sex, a political platform, success, or any of a dozen other homonyms? A dictionary is not a mindreader, it doesn't know what you want, you can only get out of it what you know how to get out of it.
    So what I'm getting at is, dictionary needs are different for beginners than for advanced students. A beginner who isn't skilled at writing kanji will not get along with a Zaurus, an advanced student will be frustrated with a WordTank model that would satisfy a beginner.
    I usually tell beginners to buy a Wordtank, and advanced students to get a Zaurus. But no electronic dictionary is a substitute for a paper dictionary. I use my Zaurus mostly when writing, to doublecheck the kanji when I know the reading. I use my Zaurus mostly when reading, to quickly look up an unknown kanji for the reading & definition. But I usually end up using the electronic lookup as the entry point for the huge 2100 page Kenkyusha New JE Dictionary, on paper. If I want more specialized data like etymology, I pop in my Kojien CD. If I want classical Japanese lookups, I use a paper kogojiten (haven't found a good electronic kogojiten yet).
    But I have found that I use my portable dictionaries less and less. Free online dicts like WWWJDIC and the dictionary have made portable devices less useful to me.
    Ultimately, portable dictionaries are a crutch. I often think of a news story I saw with someone demonstrating an electronic "speaking translator" in Spanish. It could say basic phrases like "Can you direct me to a nearby taxi stand?" They used this device, and that exact phrase, on a Spanish-speaker, who immediately understood the tinny little voice, and shot back a rapid fire answer, in Spanish of course. Which was completely incomprehensible to the person with the device. The answer would have to be given back through the device, the person giving the answer would have needed to learn how to input his answer and spit it back out through the device.
    So what I'm basically trying to tell you is that electronic dictionaries are not going to do much good for beginners, they're more useful for advanced students who really don't have that much need for dictionaries generally. Even some of the basic skills needed to effectively search for words are beyond most beginners, I know I wasn't taught how to use a paper dictionary until I was in 2nd year classes. So save your money for good TEXTBOOKS, you'll learn to speak Japanese without having to consult a dictionary every two words.
    • Thanks for the input - as you have guessed, I am a beginner and was simply looking for something portable that would help me when I ran across an unfamiliar word simply written in hiragana or a strange loanword that I couldn't decipher, or in some cases, a kanji I couldn't figure out. From what you (and others!) have said, the Wordtank would definitely seem to be what I'm looking for. I appreciate the time you took to clarify things for me.
      • by sakusha ( 441986 )
        Unfortunately the Wordtank is going to be a big pain in the butt for kanji lookups, it's barely better than a paper dictionary, since you need to use the same index system as a paper dict. That is, you need to know the stroke count and the radical, or the reading, just to locate the kanji. Once you're there, you can then use "jumping search" to find jukugo using that kanji. A Wordtank is barely faster than a paper dict when looking up kanji. But it does the job, and it's lighter than most paper dicts. The W
        • The other thing I'm starting to seriously consider is the zire solution. I'm not looking for anything complicated here - simply a solution to help me patch up my admittedly small vocabulary for the time being. The zire also seems to have the advantage of being dynamic - I could apparently upgrade to a more advanced dictionary as time goes by and I find that I need one instead of buying a whole new unit. I realize that dictionaries are not meant to be used as crutches and truly don't intend to use it as suc
          • I've never seen the zire, but I wouldn't worry too much about upgradeability. Consider that electronics are always getting cheaper, by the time you outgrow the zire, you could probably buy a new machine cheaper than upgrading. And if you get to advanced levels, you will probably own at least one advanced paper dictionary like the massive Kenkyusha New JE. No portable electronic dict can come close to a comprehensive paper dict. Many of the electronic devices use the same dictionary database (usually the Gak
        • I've taken three years of Japanese lessons at my (public) high school in Fort Worth, Texas. As you might expect from a Texas school, the class was very barebones. Our teacher had lived in Japan for four years as part of a military family, but her immersion classes hardly brought her close to fluency. But it was filled with eager students, so we've done alright. What I have done to learn Kanji, aside from my textbook and trusty pocket dictionary, is to find native Japanese speakers to help me out. I'm active
    • oops, correction: I meant to say I mostly use my *Wordtank* when writing to check kanji, and the Zaurus when reading. What I wrote made no sense. Sorry. But it should point out that even a WT, the "beginner's dict" will have good long-term value. At least it did for me.
    • I usually tell beginners to buy a Wordtank, and advanced students to get a Zaurus.

      In what ways is the Zaurus better for advanced students than the WordTank? (I've never used a Japanese Zaurus, so I'm not arguing, I'm asking.)

      I rarely have trouble with stroke order, BTW, but I still frequently need to look up Japanese words and kanji or find a good translation for an English word. The easier and faster, and the more info, hypertexting between dictionaries, examples, jukugo, furigana, etc., the better.
      • The zaurus is better for advanced students just because of the handwriting input of kanji, it is much faster to use than a keyboard, IF you're capable of using it accurately and can write kanji well. The kanji dict allows you to search by inputting radicals and components, it's pretty amazing. Yes, once you locate one kanji or word, you can hypertext to other dicts or entries with just a couple clicks.
        It also has furigana only in the kokugojiten (gives definitions in Japanese). Since there are no furigana i
    • I'm starting to think I shouldn't have even replied to this user's other post.

      : : You give vague guidelines for what you're seeking, like for example, you want to input kana and have it output kanji. You must be a beginner, because you don't seem to realize there is no one-to-one correspondence between words written in kana and kanji.

      That's completely normal. That's how Japanese people do it. You press keys on your keyboard that indicate kana, hit the space bar, and it suggests a kanji. If it suggest
    • you want to input kana and have it output kanji. You must be a beginner, because you don't seem to realize there is no one-to-one correspondence between words written in kana and kanji.

      Ever used a Japanese cell phone? That's exactly what they do.

  • Dokusha (Score:2, Informative)

    i went looking around on PalmGear [] and eventually found copies of Hanabi (a great non-free flash-card kanji/kana learning system for Palms) and Dokusha (a quite comprehensive free(?) dictionary and word processor also for Palms) that turned out to be exactly what i personally needed. only problem with Dokusha is that it takes up over 6MB for the main dictionary and Kanji dictionaries, and IIRC, occupies about 12MB when you include the name dictionaries.
  • The phrase "We need a raise in Valkurm Dunes. J-6"
  • You can find them at your local burusera.

  • I have a Japanese Palm m505 which I picked up used in Tokyo. As a dictionary, it rules. One of the things on the CD that came with it was a nice, handy Japanese-English dictionary--it does J->E and E->J lookup, and lets you look up a kanji by a clever dictionary-switching interface.

    The Palm lets you write Japanese in romaji (which is way more confusing than you'd think), or, alternately, it has a program called, "Rakuhira []", which lets you write in hiragana in the Graffiti area, the way Kami-sama in

  • Japanese-English dictionaries are all designed for Japanese people, as they massively outnumber English speakers trying to learn Japanese. As such, the dictionaries assume that you know kanji. This is problem number 1.

    So, you type in an English word, and you mostly get kanji in return. Some of the Canon wordtank models give you a list of search "hits" in hiragana/katakana, but then once you choose your hit, it takes you to the word definition page, and you're all in kanji again.

    But, most models have

    • Interesting to note is my host family had a pretty low end electronic dictionary when I was in Japan. My host mother and father knew next to nothing about computers and barely were able to work this thing.. they used hiragana input similar to cellphones: find the 'ra' and hit it again for 'ri'.

      I was so much quicker at the romaji that I always switched modes on them. My host sister when she used it also used the romaji input (it was a qwerty-style keyboard too).. *shrug*
  • Sounds like you want one that is aimed at japanese speakers.. or, well, people that can read hiragana and katakana.. so, you want one aimed at a Japanese market.

    Seiko makes a number of models, which rage from around $170 (USD) to $285. Check out the Seiko JP-Dict [] website for more info.

    As for places to purchase in the US, I found an ad in "US Frontline []" (a US magazine for Japanese expats) about "Bargain Japan []", which appears to be a reseller of Japanese products in the US, and is a subsidiary of Frontline
  • I have a similar problem - Trying to get an English to Pinyin electronic dictionary. All my Chinese students have electronic dictionaries, but none that I have seen can translate directly from English to Pinyin, enabling me to say something useful in China. If I could read chinese characters I wouldn't need the dictionary!

    Has anybody seen a suitable one?
  • If (by some strange coincidence) you're running a windows CE-based palm, you could give JWPce [] a shot - it is written more as a word processor, but it has kanji lookups and a pretty decent dictionary. It's GPL and will also run on regular windows if you want to give it a quick run-by.
    • Hear hear!

      I have JWPce running on my Jornada 420 (don't laugh) and on my XP box at work.

      I use it a lot when trying to read one of the many Japanese magazines or books I have. It accepts kana or Kanji input when looking for the meanings of Japanese words. I've never used romaji, and normal English searches for English in the definitions. And almost all the definitions are accompanied by Kanji, kana and English. Very handy!

      Input using the stylus is easy if you have kana - you type the romaji for the ka

  • Not really on topic, but Linux (and other free Unix-like systems) users learning Japanese I recommend
    gjiten [] + kanjipad [] + im-ja [] for a good dictionary system (you just have to convert Jim's dictionary files [] to UTF-8, iconv(1) is your friend).

    What other Japanese-related software slashdotters like?
  • Kana or Romaji input, and on sale [] for US$150.

    Canon has more than a decade of history providing Denki Jisho to the Japanese market.

  • Simple question, simple answer. Get a Canon Wordtank.

    The Wordtank models are single purpose (unlike a PDA) and do the job they were built for well. Look up Japanese (kana and kanji) from English, English/Kanji from kana. Menus are available in English. I used a Wordtank constantly for the first 3-4 years of Japanese study. The Wordtank dictionaries have probably improved, but I never trusted the definitions in the Wordtank as being more than a best estimate. You will end up using a paper dictionary i
  • Catch me up here!

    With so many people talking about learning Japanese here, can we get some pointers where to start? Mostly, I'd want to be able to read techinical documents [servicing imported machines for work..oh and add german too. ha, ha], websites, and of course [and most importantly] to understand enough japanese so I can watch the unedited import anime!


    • 1) Memorize the kana symbols (both hiragana and katakana, there are roughly 100 of each but they're paired, hiragana is used for Japenese words, katakana used for borrowed words). Look around the bookstores for elementary level books (Jimi's book of Japanese, etc.). If you know your kana and their pronunciations, you've got a shot at getting started.

      2) After that you're going to have to start learning grammer and memorizing kanji. This is where the hobby starts to get expensive... dictionaries can be $
  • My Japanese textbook, Nakama 1, has a companion site [] provided by the publisher and authors, with some small additions made by Japanese lecturers at American universities. One of the resources that I initially thought would be useless was the spreadsheet-based dictionaries (first year [], second year []). These have proven quite valuable, especially since you can use Excel with the Office Japanese IME (offered for free from MS) to search the text in English or Japanese.
  • by Chacham ( 981 ) *
    I've been interested in finding one of these,

    One of what?
  • by TheAB ( 38019 )
    I have been studying japanese for about 5 years. I first bought an old Canon Wordtank(IDX-9600) in Den Den Mura (osaka's version of akihabara), and it served me well for my first year or two of study. Then it simply couldnt keep up. Word and Meaning only dictionaries arent great if you want to really learn a language. Some of the recently new dictionaries ($350+) range have awesome dictionaries, various word lookups methods, and great explanations/examples (in japanese/english), a thesaurus, and more, w

Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!