Classical chinese and chinese medical dictionaries?

gato

状元
mikelove said:
We've written them but haven't heard back yet - they're a much better prospect than 商务印书馆 who seem to be surprisingly disinterested in international licensing deals for such a large publisher.
They probably make too much money already. The annual sales of their dictionaries in China is probably in the tens of millions. Since almost all publishers are government-owned, it's not like that the employees can receive much of the extra profits, except through perks like big expense account and such.
 

gato

状元
I browsed through the 中华书局 Wang Li dictionary in a bookstore yesterday. It actually doesn't seem that good for Pleco's purposes. The definitions are very terse and doesn't have too many examples. It seems to be a pioneer project that was a breakthrough for when it was published, and its coverage might be great, but doesn't seem to be a good choice for a learner.

I also flipped through 古汉语大词典 published by 上海辞书出版社, which seems to be perfect candidate for Pleco, an ideal balance between comprehensiveness and user-friendliness. It has over 2600 pages. For an electronic dictionary, size is not a problem. The more comprehensive the better, right? 上海辞书出版社 is the publisher of 辞海, and I read somewhere that 古汉语大词典 is related to the 辞海 project.

Here is the contact info for 上海辞书出版社. I actually walked by it a few weeks ago. Their office is in a beautiful villa near 静安寺 in Shanghai. I wonder how they were able to swing that. ;-)

Here is their contact info:
http://www.cishu.com.cn/html_1/index_5.php
联系我们 上海世纪出版股份有限公司辞书出版社

http://www.cishu.com.cn/book.php?id=1457
古汉语大词典
* 【丛书名】:
* 【作者】:王剑引等
* 【ISBN】:753260571X
* 【版次】:第1版第1次
* 【开本】:32
* 【装帧】:精装
* 【页数】:2613
* 【字数】:5327000千字
* 【出版日期】:2001-07-01


More recently they have also published a character dictionary based on the 古汉语大词典, which has about 1100 pages.
http://www.cishu.com.cn/book.php?id=2858
古汉语字典(新一版)
* 【丛书名】:
* 【作者】:本社语文辞书编纂中心编著
* 【ISBN】:978-7-5326-2342-6/H.324
* 【版次】:第一版、第一印
* 【开本】:32
* 【装帧】:精
* 【页数】:1092
* 【字数】:1693千字
* 【出版日期】:2009-06-01
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Thanks, hadn't seen that one - I'll send them an email. Though given the fancy facilities I'm a bit worried they might be expecting more money than we can afford to pay for something as specialized as this...
 

gato

状元
Hehe. I don't think they have to pay rent. It's probably a property they inherited from the planned economy days. They are a government-run publisher, like most other publishers, and probably has some clout as the publisher of 辞海 (which is kind of like the Chinese equivalent of the Oxford). And dictionaries is probably a fairly profitable business, as far as book publishing goes, with the high volume and comparatively low cost base.
 

libowei

Member
Hi Mike & co.,

Taiwan MOE's online 古語辭典 is a useful resource and you might be able to get them to cooperate on a non-commercial educational project, i.e. they give you the data. These Taiwanese gov't organizations are excited about "e-learning" and international cooperation. Their dictionary is not very good for finance and computer terms etc.; it's designed primarily for educational use in the humanities, but because of that it's quite useful for looking up individual characters and academic/literary words/chengyu. Also, they give it away for free, so presumably they are not overly worried about piracy issues connected to digitization. Zdic.com has the kangxi and shuowen digitized and available online, as well as a good 詞典. Would they be willing to cooperate?

Also, another suggestion for a classical 字典:
《文言文字典》,張雙棣、陳濤 編 http://www.huayuworld.org/?p=5610
I've used it and it's pretty good, major deficiency is no phonetic index, but I assume that probably doesn't matter if it goes electronic. Looks like it's either held by Beida or a smaller Taiwanese publishing house-- maybe more luck there? It's similar to Wang Li's dict (I think the author is his student).

BTW, in favor of terseness: I wouldn't send learners of English to the OED for new vocabulary. (that said, if you could get the HYDCD I'll buy it)

Another BTW, as far as I can tell, there is a scarcity of electronic dictionaries for 文言 for native Chinese speakers. Is there a market potential for college students in China/Taiwan/HK/Singapore for something like this? Obviously flash cards and stroke order would not be big sellers. Maybe it's way beyond the scope of your business model, but just an idea.

Anyway, thanks for all you do. If you can get any of these publishers to cooperate it would be awesome.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
gato - makes sense, yeah - I've seen some other publishers in similarly posh settings.

libowei - thanks for the suggestion. We've had terrible luck with for-profit Taiwanese publishers, but we actually haven't approached the MOE before so that might be a useful source for some things - too bad they don't offer a free C-E dictionary too.

HYDCD and Cihai are both in the "if only" category - we'd be better equipped to deal with them than just about anyone else on iPhone owing to our extremely fast / compact database format, but the rights to dictionaries like that tend to be tied up in exclusive deals with other Chinese companies.

And in theory there might be a potential market for a 文言 product for native Chinese speakers, but I have a hard time believing there aren't a few already out there - we'd have no hope of competing with a Chinese-made dictionary on price, sadly.
 

david_t

Member
There is a Chinese-English Chinese medicine dictionary freely available online here http://memo.cgu.edu.tw/wise-man/ in pdf format. It is a glossary, and well suited to the portable format. Pending the author's consent, would it be possible to have this rendered into Pleco?
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
We already have the author's consent, actually (at least I think we do), and even a license for his Practical Dictionary of Chinese Medicine, but we've been terribly preoccupied with iPhone-related stuff and haven't gotten around to converting it yet; the Practical Dictionary is a very tricky title to convert because its entries are extremely long, in a funky format, and use some very fiddly tagging systems for references to other books and such. I'm actually kind of ashamed about it, we're normally a much better licensing partner than this and we've been putting them off for a really long time.

Though there's also a little bit of a business issue with a TCM dictionary, actually, and it concerns the "Complete" bundle. When Pleco 2.0 first launched, it actually didn't have a "Complete" bundle due to some licensing restrictions; sales improved considerably after we invested a lot of time and money in removing those restrictions, getting all of our 2.0 dictionary licenses to play nicely with each other and getting all of them integrated in the same "Complete" bundle. People really seem to like to be able to buy one thing and know that they have every available Pleco add-on at that time.

With a TCM dictionary, though, we end up in a bit of a quandary - do we include it in our Complete bundle, raising the price of that bundle and shelling out a lot of per-copy royalties for a dictionary that most Pleco users aren't likely to get much use out of (and some may even be slightly offended by, judging by a few of the emails I've gotten on the subject) for the sake of still being able to say that the bundle is "Complete," do we leave it out of the bundle, generating complaints from people who discover that it's not "complete," or do we get rid of the very successful "complete bundle" name / concept altogether?

For dictionaries that aren't quite so subject-specific - and I think Classical qualifies, as would a Chengyu or a character etymology dictionary - I think the first option of adding it to the bundle would be fine. We already include a modern Chinese-Chinese dictionary in the Complete bundle, after all, and even people who aren't learning Classical are probably going to encounter it at some point - e.g. when traveling with a non-Chinese-speaking friend / relative / etc, encountering a stone tablet / scroll / Ming vase with Classical Chinese written on it and being asked the inevitable "can you translate that?"

But TCM is a different case - if we offered a dozen different subject-specific dictionaries it might be easier, we could have a bundle that was "complete" for general-purpose use and a whole other "ultimate" or "super complete" bundle that included all of those subject-specific dictionaries - but with just one or two it's a lot harder to justify. We already have this situation with the C&T business dictionary, and to be honest I'm not sure we even made the right decision in that case putting it in the Complete bundle - business vocabulary may be a bit more general-purpose than TCM vocabulary but it's still something a lot of people aren't that interested in.
 

gato

状元
I think it would be better to change the name of the "complete bundle" to something to give yourself room to charge for new dictionaries outside the bundle. TCM is really too specialized to include in a package.
 

david_t

Member
I can see how the Practical Dictionary of Chinese Medicine would be tricky to convert, and I would agree that it shouldn't be sold as part of the complete bundle--but I am sure there are considerable numbers of tech-savvy Chinese medicine students and physicians for whom this tool would become indispensable. In the field of Chinese medicine, there is nothing else like the PD, though I think it would be especially popular in a portable/digital format.

But in the meantime, could this, as a stopgap, be converted into Pleco?:
http://memo.cgu.edu.tw/wise-man/CDDIC.pdf
(It's a glossary; it's not the Practical Dictionary of Chinese Medicine :wink:).
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
gato said:
I think it would be better to change the name of the "complete bundle" to something to give yourself room to charge for new dictionaries outside the bundle. TCM is really too specialized to include in a package.
In general I'd tend to agree, I just hate abandoning the "Complete" name since it's done so well for us. (still represents something like half of our income on iPhone)

david_t said:
But in the meantime, could this, as a stopgap, be converted into Pleco?:
http://memo.cgu.edu.tw/wise-man/CDDIC.pdf
(It's a glossary; it's not the Practical Dictionary of Chinese Medicine ).
Hadn't thought of releasing that without the PD, but I suppose it makes sense - have to check if they're OK with our putting that out for free.
 

bokane

举人
Re the 漢語大詞典 -- do they have a deal with any mobile dictionary makers? A friend of mine has a pirated scan of the HYDCD set up as a dictionary in Dictionary.app on Mac OS X, and I'm^H^H^H he's loving it even in cruddy incomplete form.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
bokane said:
Re the 漢語大詞典 -- do they have a deal with any mobile dictionary makers?
Haven't seen one, but since we already have a relationship with the publisher of 辞海 I'd be more inclined to try that first. Either dictionary might present some significant font-related problems, though - we'd pretty much need a license for a gonzo Unicode Extension B font to give us a way to render rare characters in it.
 

bokane

举人
Yeah -- this has been a problem with all of the digital versions of massive dictionaries I've seen. I remember seeing some talk about seal script fonts in another thread, but by the time you're including those you're basically aiming at a demographic of one or two people. (I mean, at least one.) Guifan's a great dictionary, but it would be wonderful to have something like the HYDCD or the Cihai available as an add-on too. Just think of all the shelf space people could save!
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Could just use Kickstarter, I suppose - back when I was steadfastly refusing to commit to Android development I imagine a lot of people might have found PlecoDroid something that might be worth putting up some money for. But I don't know which other potential Pleco projects would be good candidates for it - HYDCD/Cihai to be honest are very expensive titles to license but primarily cater to people in the not-particularly-well-paying academic world :)
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
whitebigsanitation said:
I guess that this probably doesn't matter anymore as Pleco's already decided not to go with the Hanyudacidian, but there actually is a digitized version. It's a really useful tool, although (obviously) you have to be at your computer and have the CD in the drive in order to use it: http://www.books.com.tw/exep/prod/books ... 0010391283
Oh we'd still like to license a research-grade C-C dictionary like HYDCD or Cihai at some point - the 古汉语大词典 we just licensed for Classical is from the same publisher as Cihai and supposedly incorporates Cihai data - but even if we could get the data in electronic format it would still likely be a very expensive license.
 
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