Applications (in English)
Collins Dictionaries by Palmtop
Palmtops Collins Bilingual Dictionaries are probably the most popular dictionaries available for the Pocket PC. As the name implies, the applications are based on Collins paperback versions of HarperCollins dictionaries, which cover major European languages including German, Italian, French and Spanish. The English-German version contains about 112,000 words and expressions and also features a bidirectional component.
The Collins Bilingual Dictionaries offer a powerful hypertext system that allows users to find translations by clicking on any hyperlinked word. This feature allows users to surf the dictionary by jumping from one hyperlinked word to another, which can actually be quite addictive. Every entry contains additional information, such as the words part of speech, gender, usage, and connotation. The dictionaries also offer several ways of searching for a word: typing a few letters; pasting a word from another application; or browsing though the dictionary.
In addition to word definitions and common expressions, the dictionaries contain useful background information on regular and irregular verbs and their conjugations. The German-English dictionary also includes a chapter on new German spelling. If you do a lot of crosswords then youll be pleased to know that Palmtops dictionaries include a crosswords function.
One of the most useful features of Palmtops Collins Dictionaries is the Tag function. This feature flags a word, which can be easily retrieved later by choosing the Select tagged command. You can, for example, tag all the words you have looked up in the dictionary and recall them later.
Palmtops Collins Dictionaries are solid applications that offer a comprehensive word corpus, a user-friendly interface, and a number of useful features. The retail price of $34.99 USD is a bit pricey, but considering the dictionarys useful functions its a good deal. At Palmtops web site you can find further info about dictionaries and download a demo version. Just point your browser to http://www.palmtop.nl/ce/poc_collinsg.html
Paragon Software has been developing quality software for mobile platforms for quite some time and their flagship dictionary, SlovoEd, is an impressive piece of software.
SlovoEds essential advantage over other offerings is the use of compression technology, which significantly reduces the size of the dictionary database without compromising speed. According to Paragons web site the compression technology allows the application to squeeze 100,000 words into 300KB. In other words, the full German-English-German version of SlovoEd, which contains around 170,000 entries, fills only 1MB! If you dont need such a huge dictionary or your Pocket PC is low on memory, then you can opt for a compact version of SlovoEd (approximately 40,000 entries), which is only 400KB in size. Some of SlovoEds dictionaries are also available in a standard version.
SlovoEds interface is user-friendly, an unlike other dictionaries, SlovoEd allows the user to switch the language of the interface. You can choose between English, French, German, Hungarian and Russian. Another useful feature of SlovoEd is the ability to host different dictionary modules, so that you can use French-English, Russian-German and other dictionaries within one application. The dictionarys entries are sparse, however. You wont find any examples of usage, idioms or other lexical or grammar information. As a result, SlovoEd is adequate for looking up words, but it is not suitable for use as a language reference.
You can look up a word by simply entering it in the find field. As you type, SlovoEd narrows the list of possible matches. If you are unsure of the words spelling or you just have the words root, you can use SlovoEds powerful search capabilities. When searching, you can use the asterisk (*) to replace a random amount of characters or the question mark (?) to replace one random character. SlovoEd allows you to use quotes on both ends of the search term (" "), which will yield entries matching the search term exactly. SlovoEd can also perform what Paragon calls a contest search. Just enter a word or any part of that word, and launch the search module. If you click on the search button, you will see the list of entries that contain the required word.
SlovoEd is available in a wide variety of language pairs including Dutch-German, French-English, German-English, German-French, Hungarian-English, Italian-German, Portuguese-German, Russian-English, and Spanish-German. All of SlovoEds dictionaries are bidirectional, and you switch the direction by simply clicking on the toolbar icon.
SlovoEd and all the modules are available as demo downloads at Paragons web site (http://www.penreader.com/PocketPC/SlovoEd.html).
Pocket CONTEXT has been around for some time, but because it was developed and marketed in Russia, few users outside the country were familiar with it. Thanks to SmartLink Corp., which localizes and distributes Pocket CONTEXT, it is now available for users in other countries.
The first thing you notice when using Pocket CONTEXT is its unusual installation procedure. You have to copy the installation files to your Pocket PC (either in RAM or storage card) and run the setup file directly from it. Pocket CONTEXT supports storage cards, which means that you can install the application and its dictionaries onto a CompactFlash or MultiMedia card. This is a welcome feature since the majority of dictionaries (and Pocket CONTEXT is no exception) are RAM guzzlers. Unlike other dictionaries, Pocket CONTEXT has a more sophisticated interface. At the top of the screen there is the entry field where you enter or paste a word or a part of a word from another application. The entry field remembers all previous searches, which can be accessed from the drop-down menu by clicking on the little triangle.
The translation window is divided into four tabs. The first one, translation, displays translation articles. Pocket CONTEXT translates words and phrases between two languages using its knowledge of morphology. It recognizes and translates words in any grammatical form. The German version of the dictionary contains approximately 68,000 entries, which is adequate for beginners, but can be limiting for professional users. Using Pocket CONTEXT you can translate not only single words but also common phrases and idiomatic expressions under the phrases tab. If you are unsure about the spelling of a particular word, you can use the suggestions tab to see a list of possible spellings. You can switch the translation direction by simply clicking on the switch button or by choosing the input and output languages from the appropriate drop-down menus. Like SlovoEd, Pocket CONTEXT can handle multiple dictionary modules, but it takes this feature a bit further. Using Pocket CONTEXT you can install subject dictionaries. This makes Pocket CONTEXT a versatile tool for professionals, but unfortunately SmartLink Corp. doesnt offer any additional modules.
Finally the Toolbar at the bottom of the screen gives access to the most common commands, such as preferences, copy and paste. You can choose them either from the menus or by clicking on the icons.
Pocket CONTEXT is a sophisticated dictionary application aimed at advanced users. Its drawbacks are the applications limited dictionaries and lack of subject modules. You can download a demo version of Pocket CONTEXT at http://www.smartlinkcorp.com/wce/dics/index.shtml