[If you were a tech blogger, you may find the day pretty boring if nothing fancy discovered when spending 15+ hours on the Internet. I guess today is a lucky day for me, because of this nciku.com. They call it More Than A Dictionary, and definitely they did not overstate it! If you love my post Chinese 2.0 – How to Learn Chinese Online, you should not miss this one.] [Thanks again to Marjolein Hoekstra of CleverClogs for passing on this excellent pointer]
nciku.com, launched its beta version on March 20th, 2007, is an English-Chinese/Chinese-English online dictionary. It is not only a dictionary with convenient and conventional functions, nciku also offers a set of innovative and truly web2.0 features.
There are quite a few nice functions included in nciku, here are some highlights.
1. Handwriting Recognition – It is my favorite, and I never seen any site doing this. If you dont know the exact pronunciation of a Chinese word, it would be quite difficult to type it. Now nciku gives its solution, you can just draw the Chinese character on its Handwriting Recognition tool, by using your mouse. Draw the character, Click the appropriate character from a list, then you can get the pronunciation and the meaning plus how to write the word in Pinyin. How cool is that!
2. Public Notes – Web2.0 is to share the information, the online dictionary should follow the same idea. nciku provides the ability for the users to save their study notes which can be shared by all the users.
3. Auto-completion – By typing in the first few letters of the word, or even just the first letter, the auto-completion tool will open and suggest some words that match what you are looking for.
4. Theme Words – From the “Them words” section, you can easily search or collect important words from its vast number of categories. The lastest categories is the Olympic Theme (Summer Olympics and Winter Olympics), both contain all of their respective official disciplines.
5. Useful Expressions – It is a very handy function. You can input or upload useful expressions for any kind of conversation you might have in your daily life.
6. Q&A Board – Another nice designed section which gives the users (Chinese or Non-Chinese) a nice space to communicate with each other and study the language together online.
nciku.com currently has 165,663 English entries and 136,072 Chinese ones. I also love its ambition. In its blog, it says “nciku provides only Chinese and English services, but more language options, such as Japanese and Spanish, will soon be added in the design.”