When you search for Cantonese apps within the Google Play Store and the Apple store, you will find a a wide selection. Some however will disappoint, as they are merely Mandarin apps with Cantonese pronunciation thrown in, and reads like a textbook in Standard Chinese. Please don’t learn Cantonese from those, as you will sound unnatural.
Here are a few that have been tried and tested, and are popular among Cantonese speakers and learners.
Popular dictionary app including many different dictionaries.In addition to the pre-installed dictionaries and settings, here is what you need to do:
- Install the Cantonese dictionaries – Go to the menu, and select Add-Ons.Individual Add-ons. Dictionaries. Choose the free CC-CantoCantonese-English dictionary and Words.HK Cantonese Dictionary. There are also other Standard Chinese/ Mandarin dictionaries that you can include as well as French, German, Italian and Spanish. Some dictionaries are free, and some require payment.
- Go to settings to select Cantonese language and also romanization e.g. Jyutping or Yale, audio etc.
Once you have set up Pleco for Cantonese, you can search for words via English translation, Chinese handwriting, pronunciation etc. Depending on your settings, the words and phrases come with audio in Mandarin and Cantonese. There are also paid features which are of good value, including the OCR (Optical character Organizer), where you can look up words with your camera or from a photo. The app is available for free download from the Google Play store and Apple store. The mobile app version is significantly better than its desktop version of online dictionary.
Read the amazing story of how Pleco was started.
Hanping Cantonese Dictionary 粵英詞典
A paid app (AUD15). I have not personally used this, but have heard positive reviews amongst users. Unlike for Hamping Chinese version, there is no free lite version for this. If you are a user, I would love to hear your feedback on this.
This app is good for when you have more than one character phrase. You can cut and paste and entire passages. Or you can use the OCR function. Unlike Google translator, this app offers Cantonese too. What I love is the text to voice function. It will read aloud long passages in Cantonese. That might sound slightly robotic, but still a great help.
Hope this compilation helps you to learn Cantonese on the go.
For More Online Cantonese Resources:
- Free Online Resources for Learning Cantonese
- Online Cantonese Dictionaries
- Vocabulary lists of Colloquial Cantonese
- Online Cantonese Tools
- Free Online Cantonese Literature
Anything I Missed?
Have I missed any good resources? Or maybe you have a question about something. If so, please feel free to drop a comment on this post. I will continue to update this post with more resources.