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Japanese Dictionaries

I know a few good (and free) Japanese Dictionaries that are available via the web and iPhone.  They’re both based on Jim Breen’s WWWJDIC, which is one of the most well known and trusted dictionaries available.  Although using Jim Breen’s dictionary straight from it’s own website never gives me the results I’m looking for :/  So that’s why I have these two alternatives that are a little more user friendly.

The first dictionary I want to talk about is Jisho.org.  It’s one of the best designed Japanese dictionaries I’ve seen.  And 90% of the time I’ll get the result I’m looking for when searching it’s database, it also checks for you if you’re using Romanji and will find results based on that without you needing to specify if you’re searching for English or Romanji words.  You can search by radicals, and it has stroke order for all the Kanji in the Database.  One thing though, it’s error messages could use a little work.  When you search for a word that it’s doesn’t have any entries for instead of saying something like “No matches found” it goes to an error page that says “Please come back later.”  When I first saw this I thought the site had gone down, but I had simply misspelled the word  was looking for.

The other dictionary I want to talk about is Kotoba for the iPhone.  It’s just as good as Jisho with all the same features, but with better error messages.  This one is only available on the iPhone though.  It’s great when you’re away from home and you don’t need an internet connection to use it so you can search away on you iPod Touch without worry of WiFi.  The only issue I have with Kotoba is when I’m using an App that has a word I want to look up I have to close that out and then open up Kotoba to check it.  That is why I have Jisho as a backup – so I can have it open on a computer while using an App on my iPod.

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