Electronic dictionary

I’ve been pondering lately about ‘upgrading’ my Japanese to/from English dictionary, from my trusty Sanseido printed pocket edition, to something electronic, if only to make look-ups faster in meetings.

The obvious place to look was the array of Canon WordTanks, and as impressive as they are, they start at 35,000 yen for the C50, and go up to 70,000yen for the new G70 model. That’s a lot of cash, even if you can get them 5,000yen or so cheaper than that in most electrical shops – especially when a MacMini costs 58,000yen!

I’m not saying I’d never buy one, as I know enough people who have bought one and have said they’re real life savers, but I thought I’d look in a different direction, after all, I already had a portable device – my Palm Zire 72. I went off in search of a software solution that might come in a bit cheaper, if only to test. After a lot of hits on Google, I stumbled upon an open source initiative called PAdict which is based on the legendary edict/JDic dictionary developed at Monash University by the amazing Jim Breen – Japan enthusiast, tech enthusiast and all round bright person. (He’s a bit of a Linux guru too).

The app itself is GPL’d, and written by Lars Grunewaldt, who on the app’s homepage, does a decent introduction to the app and explains installation and all. I’ve only used it for a couple of days, so I’m reserving judgement, but it does work, and it seems to work quite well. It’s certainly not a WordTank, but doesn’t really claim to be, but it did help me out with a couple of words today, so I’m going to give it a run for a couple of weeks and update here when I decide what I’m going to do.