HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >

Any way to translate Chinese characters on iphone

o
opqpop Apr 6, 2013 01:20 PM

I'd like to be able to read the Chinese characters posted on white boards in Chinese restaurants. I'm Chinese but can't read the characters so as long as I can figure out the pinyin I would know the dishes. Anyone know of any mobile apps that say lets me draw the character and look it up?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. g
    gnomatic RE: opqpop Apr 6, 2013 01:58 PM

    Google translate. The android version has an option to input character by writing it, or by a picture of the text, not sure about the iOS version.

    1. h
      hyperbowler RE: opqpop Apr 6, 2013 01:58 PM

      Are you talking about printed sheets or handwritten? I've been using Pleco for iPhone, and it's been great both for on the spot translation and as a learning tool. Basic model requires you to type things in, one $15 ad on gives you recognition of printed characters, a different $15 add on gives you analysis if handwriting. You can also type in the characters based on the radicals for free.

      They're geared more towards non-native speakers like me, but for this purpose I'm enjoying two books on the topic, Swallowing Clouds and The Eaters Guide to Chinese Characters

      1. t
        Thomas Nash RE: opqpop Apr 6, 2013 03:05 PM

        Pleco's OCR is great for printed or extremely well formed characters but generally handwritten is hopeless. The two books that hyperbowler suggests are excellent, but you will have to do a lot of homework. I have been at it for 30 years and have big troubles with white/black boards. Google translate is excellent if you can cut and paste or you use the iOS character entry capability to try to get a character entered, but you have to learn the correct sequence for entering strokes, something every 7 yr old Chinese kid knows...

        1 Reply
        1. re: Thomas Nash
          h
          hyperbowler RE: Thomas Nash Apr 6, 2013 04:23 PM

          Eek. That's a bummer about the handwriting recognition. I was about to spend the $15 for that add-on for an upcoming trip.

        Show Hidden Posts