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» Vietnamese double adjectives and the relationship between word-final consonants

Nokia Symbian S60 English Vietnamese dictionary software review

05.08.09 | admin | In software, Vietnamese

My Nokia phone that runs Symbian OS S60 V3 happens to come with a dictionary installed. This free dictionary is the Kernerman Semi-Bilingual Dictionaries MOT GlobalDix 3.0. Within the dictionary software itself you can go to Nokia’s website and download and install other foreign languages. So imagine my delight when I saw that Vietnamese was one of the available languages and for free!

After downloading and installing it I was soon disappointed. It seems that nobody had even bothered to try using the software. It can hardly be described as working software. When looking up an English word you are presented with several possible Vietnamese translations but no help in deciding which one you want. This can certainly get you in trouble in Vietnamese or in any language if you choose the wrong translation.

Then if you want to translate from Vietnamese to English you have to go to the menu, select language, select source, select Vietnamese, go back to the menu, select language, select source, select English. There’s no easy way to just switch from English-Vietnamese to Vietnamese-English.

Now, in Vietnamese there can be many versions of a vowel letter depending on the diacritic marks. But this dictionary software ignores those altogether. For example, if you search for “mat” and choose mát you’ll be shown the translation for mát, cool, but also mất, mật, mắt, and mặt which could mean to lose, honey, eye, etc. and each of those Vietnamese words could have several other translations which would also be shown. This software is useless.

So then I tried to find some other dictionary software and I lucked upon a few forums in Vietnamese where people were offering commercial English-Vietnamese dictionaries for S60 V3. I won’t link directly to these places but here’s how you can find them on Google:
English to Vietnamese dictionaries for S60
Vietnamese to English dictionaries for S60

If you notice that in Vietnam if you buy a dictionary it usually translates one way either from English to Vietnamese or from Vietnamese English but not both. It’s the same with dictionary software so you may need to find different software to translate in each direction.

One software I found was EVDict/M-Dict which is supposed to have 110,000 words. This is a decent English-Vietnamese dictionary with a horrible user interface. Words don’t appear as you type them like in most other dictionaries instead they are searched when you hit the search button. And there is no shortcut key to go back to searching after looking at an entry.

Another I found was LexisGoo which has a slick interface except that I can’t actually type anything at least on my Nokia E63 which makes this software completely useless also.

So as it stands, I’m still looking for a dictionary that translates from Vietnamese to English for my Nokia phone. Please leave a comment if you have any suggestions.

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« International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) for Vietnamese learning English
» Vietnamese double adjectives and the relationship between word-final consonants