A Guide to Online Mandarin Tools

Thanks to the popularity of Mandarin there are plenty of learning resources available. Mandarin students can use online tools for translating, converting traditional characters to simplified characters (and vice-versa), adding phonetics-Pinyin, and making Hanzi flash cards. Here below are some software tools for Mandarin learning.

  1. Translating Tools:

There are many online Chinese – English dictionaries, and there are also tools for converting or annotating Chinese web pages into English or Pinyin (or both):

  • Google Language Tools: When you use the Google search engine, you have the option of viewing translated versions of foreign-language pages. Google also has a page of language tools for translating texts or websites from one language to another.
  • Pinyin Annotator - This tool will add Pinyin and an English translation to Chinese characters. Supports Bopomofo. You can build your own set of flashcards by clicking on any character.
  1. Youdao Online dictionary:

It is comprehensive and seldom (close to never) comes up blank, has good English definitions and, most importantly, has lots of bilingual example sentences. If you input only Pinyin, it will still try to guess the word in Chinese.

The reason you use Youdao.com more than any other dictionary is that it combines all features in one place. You  don't need to search in one dictionary for the English definition, in another for the Chinese definition and in a third for example sentences, it's just there, all completely free of charge!

  1. HanziCraft:

HanziCraft is a tool that allows you to look up single Chinese characters and then gives you a breakdown (in several steps). It allows you to zoom out to common characters that contain a certain component or words that contain a certain character. It is a great tool that gives you what you need quickly and efficiently. The loading times for the site are minimal and the look-up is quick. Also, you don't need to click and load several pages to get to the information. If you want just one click, you can just enter the URL plus the character you want to look up, like so:http://www.hanzicraft.com/character/想

  1. Character Conversions:
  • ConvertZ: This is the Swiss Army knife of Chinese character conversions. Outputs simplified, traditional, GBK, Big5, unicode notation, HTML notation, and even does MP3 tags.
  • Chinese Character Conversion: An online tool to convert from Traditional to Simplified and vice versa.

Besides all the above online tools, you may also look for online Mandarin courses, in case you want to learn the language systematically and efficiently. Video lessons, Skype lessons are quite popular searching terms these days, so type in,  and find out what suits you the best.

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