Friday, December 20, 2013

A Japanese Dictionary App: JED Review

A portable electronic Japanese dictionary can be expensive, and hard to get. However, if you have an Android phone, you can get an amazing Japanese dictionary app for free!

On the commute to school, in bed, or just computer-less, I had to write down words I didn't know with the intention of looking them up later. If I was playing a game, or reading a book, I had to either skip the part, or stop playing until I could look up the word.

I considered ordering a portable Japanese to English Electronic dictionary, but I was either disappointed by what I saw, or it was completely out of my budget. Finally, I bought a smart phone, and turned to the free app market. I found JED and fell in love with it.

JED is an offline Japanese to English dictionary. In order to use it, you download the pack of files you will need. There is the full Japanese-English dictionary, a smaller “lite” version, Japanese-French, Japanese-Spanish, and the Kanji Stroke Order diagrams. I downloaded the full Japanese to English, and the Kanji Stroke Order Diagrams. The other ones can be added at any time as long as you have an Internet connection to download it.

It requires an SD card, and took a few minutes, but after that, no Internet connection is needed. I only downloaded one pack, and on my phone the App’s size is 2.34MB. It is one of the smallest Apps on my phone. For comparison, YouTube is 11.84MB and Facebook is 22.23MB.

Within the dictionary are a total of 334,277 entries. The dictionary allows you to search for either Japanese romaji or English words, and updates the search each time a letter is typed. You can search within categories such as verbs, counters, onomatopoeia, kanji and more. Kanji can also be searched by radicals. It even has a handy little hiragana and katakana table.

By far, my favorite feature is the tagging system. When you look up a word, you have the option to tag it. The tags themselves are basically user created lists. When you make a tag you can use it as its own searching category. I made a “Frequently Heard” list for those words I see all the time, but often forget. I also make lists for specific songs I’m translating and Drama CDs. It makes things quick and easy.

The app itself is very straightforward. A lot of the other ones I tested had ads or really gaudy designs. JED is designed simply, but looks polished and completely ad free.

My only complaint is that is doesn’t have its own kanji recognition software. Searching by radical can be a little time consuming. If I know the stroke order, I’d like to be able to write it and search that way.

If you’re looking for a powerful dictionary, and don’t mind the lack of kanji recognition software, I highly recommend JED. I honestly think it’s one of the best free apps you can get.

JED App Page

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