The Gaijin Must Have Tool

WWWJDIC is the defacto goto tool for all my Japanese reading and writing needs. As long as you have decent speaking ability, and understand hiragana and katakana WWWJDIC will empower you. Oh, one small caveat is you must be online. Here’s the URL to one of the translation forms:
http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/cgi-bin/cgiwrap/jwb/wwwjdic?9T
Just copy some Japanese text, paste it into the textarea, hit submit, and you’re good to go.

The tool is not a mere translation engine, but a system that allows us gaijins to read kanjis with the meaning of the character or character combination. Most web based systems out there will translate the text, but the quality is terrible and doesn’t show the yomigana (phonetic readin, basically allows us to pronounce the kanji using hiragana/katakana). I would rather manually try to figure out what the Japanese text translates to. Personally, i think it’s due to grammatical issues.

It’s such a goto tool for me that I’ve got it as a startup tab in my browser, and have mirrors setup. If it’s down and all mirrors down, my Japanese abilities are kaput.

6 Comments so far

  1. ElMateo (unregistered) on September 14th, 2004 @ 9:58 am

    I have studied Japanese for 2 years now and much of that time was spent looking for the perfect software to learn Japanese. There is so much junk out there that it’s very difficult to find quality software without all the ‘bells and whistles’ for the serious Japanese language student. Of course you are definately in the write place if you’ve found Mr. Breen’s software page since he is the MASTER of Japanese and computers. However, he offers so much content that I still haven’t finished exploring it all. The software I used most for my studies was “Jquicktrans” from http://www.coolest.com for translation and “NJ star” communicator to write the langauge on a Japanese system.

    However, I recently found an excellent piece of software that I really wish I had known about before so I could practice reading the newspaper online. The program is “jbrowse” http://www.jbrowse.com which adds a translation bar directly into the browser under the address box. It’s free to use and you can choose to either place furigana on top of the kanji, or my favorite option which translates the word in English along with the pronunciation written in Hiragana in a little area in the top of the browser when you place the cursor over the kanji. That way I have to try to remember the meaning and pronunciation of the kanji first and if I cannot, simply place my cursor over it for the answer which I find helps me so much in studying Kanji.

    Finally, here is another site similar to yours that I’ve found offers excellent translation although I haven’t compared it with Mr. Breen’s yet. Give it a shot and see how it compares. http://www-cl.tufs.ac.jp/dlmt/standard.html


  2. Matt (unregistered) on September 14th, 2004 @ 12:02 pm

    Another great online translation tool is Alc’s “Eijiro on the Web,” which is available at http://www.alc.co.jp

    The thing I love about Eijiro is that it gives you a whole series of sample sentences in a variety of contexts. Great stuff!

    -M


  3. Patrick (unregistered) on September 16th, 2004 @ 7:52 pm

    I made bookmarklets which use the same dictionaries as WWWJDIC. They allow highlighting any English or Japanese word or kanji in a page (restrictions with framed pages where you have to cut & paste) and simply clicking the button to look it up in a popup window.

    http://www.chipple.net/pk/?go=bookmarklets


  4. Christopher Kobayashi (unregistered) on September 17th, 2004 @ 3:48 am

    Very kewl,
    New translation tools to play with!

    An idea that popped up one day:
    Integrate a way to add alternative translations or sample sentences to the results you searched for. For example there are situations where the dictionary doesn’t have the correct translation or reading, so you’re stuck. Sometimes with a yomigana that totally confuses you. Maybe edit the result in a Wiki-like way or have a simple form next to each result. As more people use and add, the better the dictionary becomes.


  5. The Crimson King (unregistered) on November 17th, 2005 @ 2:50 am

    Gaijin! I used to be the webmaster at vsplanet.com. I’m almost like a moderator there now (in terms of importance). Come on over and discuss this kind of stuff. We love this type of conversation. I’m originally from Canada, but I’m in Germany now since I found an on-line wife who does almost everything for me (including I get to have sex)! We always have lively discussions about crazy foreigners!


  6. Memphis Monroe (unregistered) on November 17th, 2005 @ 5:41 am

    Greetings, fellow gaijins! The Crimson King hepped me to this site. Very cool. I just wanted to say that I’m a marshal artiste, and somewhat of a strange bird when I visit foreign lands (and for that matter, here at home, too, lol).

    Do you love me?



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