If you’re learning Chinese as a second language and don’t recognize the above image, you are in the wrong. Pleco is an amazing app that can be downloaded on your iPhone/iPad or Android device. It is a must-have if you are learning Chinese! (no, this is not some form of advertising, I simply love this app and must share it with everyone!)
What is it?
Pleco is an English-Chinese dictionary with an emphasis for those learning Chinese. The features for this app are extremely high-tech and will save you lots of time. The Pleco Basic Bundle costs $29.99, the Professional Bundle is $79.99, and there is also a workable demo version for free. I will say that if you go with the Basic Bundle, it will be your best investment in learning Chinese besides enrolling in regular courses. You will not need any other form of dictionary other than this application. My favorite feature is the Optical Character Recognizer which enables the user to use their camera to identify characters, as illustrated below:
(I currently use the demo version which only reveals the pīnyīn. In the paid version, it gives the English definition as well.)
The next amazing feature is the ability to use your finger to write the character on the screen, as in the picture below:
Pleco also comes with additional features such as a search history, flashcards and other add-ons. The website for the software is here: https://www.pleco.com/. Coming from somebody who has been learning Chinese for nearly a decade, I can simply say that if you are not using this app, you’re really putting yourself at a disadvantage!
When you are in a sticky situation in China and are not sure what a character is or means, you can easily use this software to rescue yourself. Not only that, this dictionary is a good waste of time when you are bored and playing with your phone on the subway, bus, etc. Just explore the dictionary, writing random characters on the on-screen writing feature. It’s so convenient, and it’s going to speed the process of learning the language. Enjoy, and thank me later!