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New Baidu dictionary app features character recognition function

When’s the last time you saw a Chinese character, wanted to know what it meant, but didn’t have the time to stop and write it down? Or maybe you promised yourself you would remember, but by the time you got home it had already escaped your mind?

Chinese internet behemoth Baidu just released an update to its translation app yesterday that features a Chinese character recognition software.   While it’s not something your average user in the US is going to need, it will come in handy for anyone studying Chinese.

The character recognition feature provides several options. You can take a picture of a word, snap a photo and then select what in the photo you’d like translated or have the app translate whatever you’re pointing the camera at from a live feed.

The first two options work pretty darn well. The translations aren’t great, but the character recognition is right most of the time. You can also access your old photos if you want to translate something you caught in a previous picture.

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The live feed translation is a little more complicated. You have to hold your hand steady until the app displays the definition on the screen. That can make for some confusing results.

Overall, it’s a pretty simple interface and makes intuitive sense once.  As I mentioned before the translation and photo features recognize characters fairly well and that’s what really matters for someone studying Chinese.

Besides, for Chinese language learners the most crucial aspect of the Baidu translation app has always been its dictionary’s easily accessible example sentences. You can see how a word you’ve looked up is used in context with  just one quick click!

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Hope you found the post useful. And Happy Martin Luther King Day!

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