Game Review

Dictionary 6 in 1 with Camera Function Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by James Newton

Oh, what's the word? Ah yes - "exiguous"!

First things first – this is not a dictionary in the traditional sense of the word. Not a single entry here comes with a definition or any usage guidelines, just a list of the equivalent words in five other languages. What we have here is more of a word bank, and sadly not a hugely in-depth one at that.

Starting off you get to choose from one of three input methods – handwriting, keyboard or camera. The first two are as intuitive and accurate as you’d expect, and the list of possible words is updated after each character is entered, so if your spelling isn’t as good as it should be you can still track down the word you’re after. What’s useful is that it suggests words from any of the six languages – English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Japanese – as you type, so if you’re not sure what language you’re reading it’ll be able to let you know.

If you want to check out Japanese words, you can do so using the regular Western keyboard: the syllables you type are automatically converted to Hiragana or Katakana. Want to spell “konnichiwa” but don’t know the symbols? Type it in English using the Hiragana option and it comes up in Japanese, very useful for those of us who are a little rusty on their script. Of course, if you want to translate Kanji you’re going to need the Handwriting feature and a steady hand, although it was very accurate at translating most of the Kanji we threw at it.

It’s only when you move onto the camera mode that you start to lose faith with the word detection. Essentially you take a photo of a word, highlight it with the stylus and wait for the DSi to tell you what word you’ve photographed. When you’re snapping black fonts on a white background you’ll find very few problems, but move onto words where the contrast isn’t as high and the camera struggles, throwing up garbled suggestions left, right and centre.

Further problems come from the fact you can only highlight words to translate with a rectangle. If any letters on the line above hang down over the word you want to translate, it registers them as part of the word and throws them into its translation calculations. It would have been much better to give a lasso function rather than a rectangle, letting you chop out the irrelevant and unwanted bits. It’s not a huge problem – you can change any incorrect characters manually after it’s registered the word, but it does mean it takes far too long to translate a word from a photograph. Making it take even longer is the fact the word has to be a certain size on-screen, and as the DSi lacks a macro photography mode you’re left with blurry close-ups of words you’ll struggle to translate.

Even if you do manage to take a decent photograph, the chances of the word being in the dictionary aren’t as high as you’d hope. The manual states there’s 15,000 commonly-used words in this package, but as that covers all six languages you soon realise the problem: we found there’s no entry for “sorry”, for example. With the lack of definition it's also hard to discern the subtleties in the other languages - "demand" comes back with four different verb entries but no clues to the differences between them.

Conclusion

A decent-quality pocket translator needs to offer a great deal more than 15,000 words to prove itself useful, and although the ability to translate between six different languages is useful on the surface, unless you’re quite the European traveller you’re likely only to need two or three languages on tap at any one time. Two-thirds of the interface work well, but there just aren’t enough words in this package to make it a worthwhile purchase, even at the newly-reduced price tag.

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User Comments (42)

King_Elemento

#1

King_Elemento said:

Maybe if it were 15,000 words per language, it would be a better deal. My interest in this has steadily gone down since I originally heard about it. Now it just looks horrible.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#2

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

I thought the claim was a bit "too big" for a dsiware software download. ie an actual (proper, full) dictionary for 6 languages

warioswoods

#4

warioswoods said:

I'm still getting this as soon as it hits the US shop. I love gadgets like this; I would never expect it to be a comprehensive translating solution, but being able to look up Kanji or play with the camera function is more than worth 5 bucks to me.

MindFever

#6

MindFever said:

hmm... 5/10 ?! you cant be serious.it deserves a 2/10 ,mostly because of the price drop and that it is a faulty app - excuse me,but if it cant translate "sorry" - imo - this piece of heap aint working!

this review sounded like if this thing could be useful in some way... it aint! (never downloaded it,so,what do i care...right? well,i feel sorry for those who did)

god forbid Nintendo didnt sell us crappy dsiware gimmicks... Christ,am i pissed-off... !

join me and stop downloading dsiware till next year :D

ah well... i should lighten up,i guess...

Klapaucius

#7

Klapaucius said:

My Japanese phone has a dictionary very much like this one (actually better judging by tghis review) included in it for free.

MindFever

#8

MindFever said:

@warioswoods

so basicaly,you are knowingly paying for a crap product?r u a compulsive shopper or something ? :) i hope u aint getting it,just because it is Nintendo who`s selling it.

i aint trying to blame you personaly for anything,but... as long as ppl are going to support these things (i.e.: buying it or buying it,feeling bad about it and then pretending its good),Nintendo will continue selling us junk...no?
Curiosity in this fashion is a sin ,lol :D (aint religious,so my say about sins, doesnt count i guess ;) )

MindFever

#9

MindFever said:

and another thing...aint the question "its 5 bucks...what did u expect it to be?"
because,a candy is cheap too...but i dont expect it to be utter crap because its cheap.its their problem if they sell an app cheap,not myne as a consumer if i find it to be useless/not working.no matter how much the cost,i want it to be as good as they promised to be(plus other functions should work flawlessly).

cheers...im done :D

gabikun

#10

gabikun said:

I agree with the review in all the points, but I think there are some good things that could be considered too.

  • Don't forget that most basic paper dictionaries cost way more than this app (per example, here in spain the most basic japanese dictionary only 5.000 words cost 25 euros). About word processors, I think they are not as cheap as this too.
  • The point of having it on DSi's memory (= less space left in your bag) is a point to consider too.
  • There aren't any other dictionaries in the DS if I remember correctly (with the exception of a Japanese/english dictionary cartridge that was only released in Japan).
    Because of that reasons, I'd give it a 7/10 instead. And for 500 points, it was an instant download for me.
gabikun

#11

gabikun said:

@King elemento:
I think those 15.000 words are translated in all 6 languages, so I think there are 15.000 words per language....

warioswoods

#12

warioswoods said:

@MindFever

You're confusing scope with quality. For my $5, I certainly do expect quality, but I don't expect much scope or breadth. This looks like it has a clean interface, some fun options to play around with like the camera, and the ability to draw Kanji symbols directly rather than finding them on a long list, which the reviewer says is "very accurate." Just because the dictionary isn't the largest in terms of words doesn't diminish its general quality, and it's well worth $5 for me, given the features. I'll probably get far more entertainment out of it than I did out of Pop+ Solo, for instance, which was a "game" unlike this app but incredibly repetitive and dull.

Kid_A

#13

Kid_A said:

Why can't we just get a regular dictionary? I would totally download that!

Wiiloveit

#14

Wiiloveit said:

"it deserves a 2/10 ,mostly because of the price drop"
Shouldn't that mean that it should have a higher score, if it's cheaper?

Hardy83

#15

Hardy83 said:

15,000 words across 6 languages is 2,500. Which is that's what it is, is pathetic.

Also I wish your game overview showed block size, since I have a funny feeling this game doesn't even break 100block, let alone max out at the 20MB limit.

This should be called a 6 in 1 translator mini, or at least put 15,000 words more then there are for EACH language. I would pay 1000 for that.

Seriously, this once again shows that Nintendo half asses most of their stuff now a days and makes something that could've been good, but because they half ass it, it's just not worth it.
Someone needs to make a REAL dictionary. I would love that function for the DSiWare, I'd pay 800-1000 for it, assuming it has an appropriate amount of words, comparable to a real dictionary.

gabikun

#16

gabikun said:

@Hardy 83:
Are you sure that there are only 2.500 words per language? In the "help section" it says, literally, that "this program contains 15.000 of the most common words and expressions to help you in many situations".
I understood that those 15.000 words were translated in all 6 languages, makin 15.000 per language.

Hardy83

#19

Hardy83 said:

@gabikun

I don't know how many words there are per language. I'm just stating that is what it would be if the number was split between all the translations.
An it has to be smaller then the actual 15000 because I mean, not having "sorry" on the list makes the list pretty questionable.

gabikun

#20

gabikun said:

Actually, the expression "I'm sorry" is on the dictionary. The problem is that you can't access it by typing it directly, I had to put "sumimasen" to find it.

theblackdragonAdmin

#21

theblackdragon said:

@gabikun: that's weird, because (depending on where you are, i guess) 'sumimasen' is more of an 'excuse me' than an actual apology. what does 'gomen' or 'gomen nasai' give you?

gabikun

#22

gabikun said:

You are right. "Gomen nasai" is a word that fits more with "I'm Sorry", but "sumimasen" is used as a more polite form. Per example, if you try to reserve a hotel and there are no rooms, they will say "sumimasen" to you.

gabikun

#23

gabikun said:

By the way, "Gomen Nasai" gives the same "I'm sorry" result. I must say that I read the help file completely, and it says that this dictionary is based in the japanese language as the main one. Maybe this is the reason why common words as "sorry" only appear as expression.

BleachFan

#24

BleachFan said:

I've already imported a Japanese/English dictionary to use on my DS...
Sounds to me that this one is a knock off of that one, like a few other DSiWare titles (coughMasterofIllusioncough)! :)

gabikun

#25

gabikun said:

@Prochnow: I was unaware of that dictionary. But searching the internet I saw some reviews and I'm pretty interested. Now I'm seriously thinking in purchasing it. Thanks for the info!

@bleachfan888: Is it the Rakubiki Jiten? If it's another, can you tell me how is it?

BleachFan

#26

BleachFan said:

@gabikun: I can't say I know what it's called (I haven't had it for that long :p) but it is definitely useful! Here's a picture of it's box cover You can write something you've heard in Japanese and it'll tell you what it means in English (obviously some Japanese experience is required for that :p) Also, there is a section where you can write stuff in English and it translates the word into Japanese. This can be executed either by writing it on the touch screen or using a virtual keyboard. Also, a nifty little feature is the voice that pronounces an English word that was looked up for you and says the syllables in Japanese as you write them. Not a big deal, but it makes it seem more efficiant. Some complaints I have with it is the fact that it can sometimes be picky with stroke orders. Since that's one of the ways the software calculates what you are writing, some people's writing styles might be slated by it. Also, the tutorial is in Japanese, so unless you can find an English translation on the internet, you pretty much have to fend for yourself...(it's not too hard to grasp though...) I had my Japanese teacher help me out, so I lucked out. :)

gabikun

#30

gabikun said:

@BleachFan888: That's the Rakubiki Jiten! (see the small hiragana above the kanji). A friend imported this dictionary and it's great! The ability to write kanji is awesome (at least, the kanji I wrote). The bad thing is that it hasn't spanish :P.

About this dictionary... Well, I thought there were 15.000 words for each language, because of that I gave the 7/10 mark. But, if it has only 2.500, I think it deserves well that 5/10. I expect someone can improve this dictionary, as it would be a very useful app.

Slapshot

#31

Slapshot said:

Another uselful app......hmmmm Nintendo your goin to get slammed by Sony if you keep this up.

SmaMan

#32

SmaMan said:

So I still don't see why this is necessary when you can use the DSi Internet Browser to go to babelfish or freetranslation.com

I guess the one advantage is the camera scan feature, but even that doesn't seem to work as well.

Gogata

#33

Gogata said:

To be honest, a 500 point price is too expensive and not worthy. It should be free, or atleast 200 points.

Gogata

#34

Gogata said:

I got it but it doesn't give me the Japanese translations! :( please helP!

Gogata

#35

Gogata said:

Oh I got it, but can I input the Japanese words in romaji instead of hiragana? Not that I have trouble with it, but just asking...

Gameflame21

#38

Gameflame21 said:

Im really devastated in what nintendo decided to do with this, a "TRANSLATOR" with only 15,000 words for 5 bucks? Come on, I really would expect this to be a free app, and then make a "REAL" dictionary, for 2/3 languages for 5 bucks.
I like the idea of the app, but the content is just not worth it all.

Gogata

#39

Gogata said:

I like the design of this app, but there should be a list of all words... The camera feature is helpful for Japanese, but it can sometimes take more tries so it can recognize it... Gonna need this when I go to Japan ^^.

paperskyx

#40

paperskyx said:

This is extremely lame imo and I would never buy it. Not to mention it's 500 points.. totally not worth it.

Jono97

#41

Jono97 said:

They should ask Oxford to make a dictionary for them XD~I was thinking about buying this.. TY nintendolife (and James)

DemonnPrincess

#42

DemonnPrincess said:

gabikun is right, "sumimasen" is like "excuse me", but it's like "I'm sorry" too even though it's tought as "excuse me" to people learning Japanese. It's hard to explain clearly, it's one of those things that I understand only in Japanese.

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