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Japanese-English software recommendations?

HanSolo

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Hi All,
What I'm looking for is a good quality software package which does the following
- Allows typing in romaji, autoconverts it to kana, and suggests kanji.
- Kanji suggestions will indicate their readings and meanings.
- Can also receive kanji and indicate likely readings.
- Translation. Ideally a what-you-see-is-what-you-get style, so it translates as you type. You can then mouseover all the parts of the translation to try and manually confirm. Also allows you to specify politeness level etc.
- Runs completely offline.
- Isn't even slightly related to whatever google translate uses. The google translate algorithm is based on the monkey-typewriter algorithm from what I can tell.

Does anyone have any recommendations from software they've used?

Cheers
 

nekojita

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I don't think what you're looking for exists. There are no decent automated translation programs, full stop. Google, believe it or not, is one of the better existing options. (which is not to say it isn't still crap)

Typing in romaji, converting to kana + suggesting kanji - that's pretty much any IME. Most native speakers use romaji input, not direct kana. There's an IME that comes standard with Windows, the most popular paid option is ATOK. (I use Google's IME on Linux - it doesn't require online access to use).

An IME + a decent dictionary seems like it would cover most of your requirements apart from the translation stuff which is frankly impossible. You might be able to get a grammar checker for Word in Japanese but I wouldn't trust it.
 

HanSolo

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That ATOK software looks good, but from what I can see its aimed with Japanese users in mind. Doesn't even have an English sales page.
 

Mike Cash

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Translate "as you type" isn't anything you're likely to find, given the very different structure/order between English and Japanese..

Not to sound like a smart-aleck, but the typical solution for what you're looking to accomplish is to learn the language.
 

HanSolo

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Not to sound like a smart-aleck, but the typical solution for what you're looking to accomplish is to learn the language.
That's the whole goal. I learn it much easier by having to use it. For example I learned the word ずっと yesterday because it came up in a conversation. If I'd read it in a book I'd have forgotten it within 30 seconds (speaking from experience, every bit of Japanese textbook I read is painful, and leaves my head immediately).
For Kanji learning I'm finding articles in Japanese on topics I find interesting, and then manually translating them. Very difficult, I currently average like 1 small paragraph an hour :D . The biggest problem is the bulk of the words and the slang is translated completely wrong or not at all (google translate is truly gruesome), so I have to manually search everything down to the individual Kanjis, and try to interpolate meaning. Sometimes the translation is so bad that two kanjis side-by-side on a single line is left untranslated by google and popjisyo has no suggestions.
What I want is at least a complete dictionary software, which includes slang, and which can accurately translate Kanji to its real, on-the-street current meaning. I also want it to include the typing autosuggest stuff.
 
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WonkoTheSane

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For reading on my iPad I find Wakaru useful since I can just long press a kanji and get a definition. You can connect a variety of dictionaries to it.

Doesn't fix things if you don't understand the grammar, though. As we all know you can't just learn vocabulary and understand Japanese...

For writing, you can either practice by writing and submitting to Lang-8 or get a teacher. Then rewrite and try again. There's no free lunch.

Honestly, my vote is for a teacher. They actively find your problems and make you correct them.
 

Glenski

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Nekojita's first and second sentences say it all. Take it from a teacher who gets crappy translations all the time from student dictionaries and software. Try it -- use the stuff to translate from English to Japanese and ask a native Japanese person to tell you how natural or coherent it is.
 
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