Opinions on two E-C Dictionaries


Staff member
We're looking at some new licensing possibilities for PlecoDict, and I wanted to know if anyone had any thoughts / opinions / complaints regarding either of these two English-to-Chinese dictionaries:

"A New English-Chinese Dictionary, Century Edition" (新英汉词典,世纪版), ISBN 7532725421, originally published by Shanghai Translation Publishing House (上海译文出版社) in 2000.

"21st Century Unabridged English-Chinese Dictionary" (21世纪大英汉词典), ISBN 7300043879, originally published by People's University Press (人民大学出版社) in 2003.

Both of these are mentioned in Greg Bosco's increasingly-famous Amazon.com guide to Chinese dictionaries, the latter as his top pick among all E-C titles. The former has about 80,000 entries, the latter a whopping 400,000 (I think they may even have one for "Pleco"), so either way it would be a huge expansion over our current E-C offerings, and the 21st Century one would likely inspire complaints about the ABC Comprehensive being "too small" and renew calls for us to go out and license Cihai or a similarly Brobdingnagian C-C or C-E title.

Hello Mike,

I haven't looked at either of these titles yet, so I cannot comment on the content of them. However, I highly support the addition of as many dictionaries, grammar guides, phrase books, etc., as possible to PlecoDict as I strongly believe that they give us more options and information at our disposal. So if you do end up managing to license them, you can definitely count me in for a purchase.

By the way, I just picked up: A New Chinese-English Dictionary of Function Words 新编汉英虚词词典 by Sinolingua.

It seems to be pretty similar to what I was mentioning in the “a better dictionary” forum in the “China” category. I just look up the beginning characters of a sentence pattern in the dictionary and then I can find that pattern and other patterns that start with the same character. I cannot begin to explain how useful this book is going to be for my Chinese classes at Beijing University where I usually end up trying unsuccessfully to use PlecoDict to look up the grammar and sentence patterns at the end of each chapter in my books.

Wish I could do it much faster using PlecoDict and without having to carry around a thick, heavy book!



Staff member
estudiando - I'd certainly agree that bigger tends to be better, but this isn't necessary a question of which one to license. We may not be able to license both, we may not even be able to license either; these are two dictionaries which it is at least theoretically possible for us to license (i.e., they're new enough to be available in electronic format, they're not tied up in exclusive deals with another software company and they're owned by publishers that we can do business with) but we don't have a contract negotiated for either just yet.

hairyleprechaun - for the most part I agree with you, though too much redundancy can be a bad thing - we want the list of available dictionaries to be short enough that each one has a well-defined niche. A large English-to-Chinese dictionary is something we don't currently offer, though, and something that slots into our product line nicely; with 2.0 we could potentially be offering two "Advanced" dictionaries in the form of this and the Guifan Chinese-to-Chinese, two "Intermediate" dictionaries in the ABC and NWP, and a "Beginner's" dictionary in the Oxford.

The 新编汉英虚词词典 sounds like an interesting idea, though I still have to wonder how we integrate something like this into a dictionary interface - it would really be better-suited to something like our old phrasebook product, where you can quickly navigate to the sort of sentence pattern you're looking for. Anyway, this is still beyond the scope of what we're doing in 2.0; 2.0 is aiming to be pretty much the be all and end all of Chinese vocabulary lookup/study tools, but we won't really be looking to make it do a whole lot of other things until 3.0 or beyond.
I've changed my mind, now I think this is a really important addition.

I hardly use the English to Chinese lookup very much at all, but when I do I usually can't find what I'm looking for, words like

koala heddle purl neuron sonata

so I guess it's necessary to have a huge dictionary even (or especially?) if it's not very often used.
Aunty, you can try the free LDC English-Chinese wordlist in the meantime. It doesn't provide detailed explanation but it is fairly comprehensive. I'm sure it has words like "neuron" and "sonata."

LDC English-Chinese Wordlist - Free English-Chinese (but no Pinyin) dictionary developed by the Linguistic Data Consortium at the University of Pennsylvania. Short entries, but lots of obscure scientific/medical terms. 110,578 entries. Last updated May 17, 2005
Whatever dictionary includes muti-word and multi-character phrases and chengyu gets my vote. Occasionally, ABC or ADSO fill the bill, but most of the time, I would have to create an entry in my user dict, if I used my user dict.



Staff member
gato / Aunty - Yes, the LDC is a good choice for that. The entries aren't as detailed as they might be in a commercial E-C dictionary, but they will give you a translation for most of those words, which you can then easily cross-reference in the ABC.

sfrrr - you really can't find a lot of chengyu in the ABC dictionary? It's got something like 40,000 of them, I think... unless we licensed a truly colossal chengyu dictionary I don't know that it would be likely to expand the vocabulary much. Anyway, this particular license only affects the English-to-Chinese feature, so I'm afraid it wouldn't help much on the phrase/chengyu front - that's more of the sort of thing we'd want to explore for Pleco 3.0.
Hey thanks for the LDC tip. I can get most of those words that way.

Heddle only comes up in the adsotrans dictionary, but that's fine.

Purl is typical of the problem of doing it that way. It has a few meanings, so I tried reverse lookup on all of them in turn and couldn't find the one that is the companion of knit.

But for most everyday purposes, yes that solves my problem and opens up the language a lot!