Android Apps

A few apps that I’ve found usefull in day to day life. Hopefully this will be updated as more become available.

Last updated on 01 September 2012 with Hangping Chinese OCR.



Romanisation: Jyutping (and many more)
Currently my keyboard of choice this is a Jyutping and Chinese dictionary plugin for Multiling. The keyboard functionality comes from Multiling itself and you download the language plugins that you need. You can easily swipe between all of your chosen input keyboards. With a developer who is receptive to comments and suggestions this keyboard is definitley my input method of choice.


Romanisation: Jyutping
From the same guys who make the Jyutping IME for Windows this little keyboard works very well.  I’m using Jyutping to type on my computer and the cost was relatively small it made sense to buy it (the standard edition).

Cantonese Keyboard

Romanisation: HK Gov Romanisation
Input in the HK Gov Romanisation format which I find a little strange to write after spending so long getting my head around some of the Jyutping pronounciation. A good little keyboard though and its free.

English-Chinese Keyboard

Romanisation: English
From the same developer as the Cantonese Keyboard, inputting English brings up the Chinese characters in a direct dictionary translation. Unfortunately you’ll need to know the character you’re looking for as there is no definition. Usefull now and then.

Dictionaries & Reference Apps

Hanping Dictionary and OCR

Romanisation: Pinyin, Zhuyin
Features: Additional dicts, OCR (separate app), handwriting input, audio (Mandarin)
A little dictionary app which allows various input methods including English, pinyin and character drawing. Unfortunately it does not have Jyutping (and no Cantonese), but it is a useful app for character definitions.  Very good app and considerably cheaper than Pleco.

Hanping now as an OCR app which works well for translation of menus and books using the live camera mode or for translating photographs containing Chinese characters.   For quick translations out of your pocket this app is perfect.  For a full review see HERE.


Romanisation: Pinyin, Zhuyin, Jyutping (in progress)
Features: Additional dicts, OCR, handwriting input, flashcards, audio (Mandarin), stroke order animations
Originally popular on the iPhone this app is feature rich and the basic package is free – additional dictionaries and some plugins are paid for.  At the moment Jyutping is available in the beta versions and the Cantonese portion of the app seems to be under ongoing development.  There are plugins for OCR from camera, drawing characters and voice input.

Cantonese Phonic

Romanisation: Jyutping, Yale, IPA, Sidney Lau, Pinyin
Features: Audio (Cantonese)
This little reference app connects to the CUHK character database and displaces basic definitions and Jyutping. There is also a function to speak the character.


Romanisation: Jyutping, Pinyin, Zhuyin
Features: handwriting input, flashcards, stroke order animations & practice
A brilliant dictionary which allows Chinese input to be typed characters or finger drawn and it will also search English words for their Chinese equivalent.  There is a flashcard system as well as character drawing practice and each characters drawing order is demonstrated in the main dictionary window.  My only gripe is the iPhone interface.  The layout needs a bit of a redesign for Android rather than a direct port.  Other than that this is a feature rich and very useful app.


Romanisation: Jyutping
Features: Standard app allows for a number of dictionaries to be loaded
GoldenDict is a basic dictionary program which can read pre-formed files which you’ll have to load onto your device. Same principle as the Windows app. Over at 廣府話小研究 a converted CantoFish Jyutping dictionary file was posted with instructions on how to use it: HERE

SOSO慧眼 (Chinese OCR)

Romanisation: English (translation)
Features: none beyond main purpose
SOSO慧眼 (or 搜搜慧 眼) is an OCR application which reads and translates Chinese text.  At present there are 4 language options: English to Chinese, Chinese to English, French to Chinese and German to Chinese.  Most important to us would be the Chinese to English option which, as I’ve found, is far from perfect.  There is some difficulty with recognition of complex Traditional characters and non-standard fonts such as found on packaging.  For a full review see HERE.

Useful Tools


Romanisation: Jyutping
I’m not a big fan of flash cards, but Anki do a nice little program that I use on occasion. Someone over on the CantoDict forums created a Cantonese flash card set that you can download and use. Probably worth a look if you find flash cards a useful way of learning. The good thing about this little app is that it also syncs with the desktop version of the program, so you can use it on your computer and on your phone.

的士 Translator

Romanisation: Jyutping
A handy little app for travelling by taxi in Hong Kong.  Find your destination and then hit “show taxi card” to produce the address in Chinese easy enough for a taxi driver to see at a glance.  It even gives you the address in Jyutping if you want to try pronouncing it yourself.  For a full review see HERE.



2 responses to “Android Apps

    • Thanks for that! It turns out Google Translate won’t do Chinese OCR at the moment and although SOSO is okay it does have some difficulties with traditional characters and fat font types. I’ll give Hanping a go.

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