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:
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.