Today I’m launching Honyaku Star, a new online Japanese/English dictionary.
The goal of Honyaku Star is to be the world’s most comprehensive free, online Japanese/English dictionary and corpus. Honyaku Star is built on top of numerous excellent community dictionaries, and adds to it the Honyaku Star dictionary, which tries to fill in everything else that isn’t in those general dictionaries, with the goal to be the best, and only dictionary you need.
Honyaku Star is more than a dictionary, it is also a Japanese/English bilingual corpus. In other words, a database of parallel texts to provide context, usage, and examples of words and phrases you search for. Many words have lots of valid translation varieties, and seeing it used in various different contexts can help you understand the different meanings and pick the appropriate usage. When you search in Honyaku Star, you get dictionary results and example sentences together.
I built Honyaku Star because I use online Japanese/English dictionaries every day, and none of them satisfied me. There are certain things I want, and don’t want out of an online Japanese/English dictionary. So, I built Honyaku Star based on the principles I think are important.
- Dictionaries and language resources should be free and easily accessible.
- The one and only dictionary advanced students and translators will need.
- Lots of relevant results for a search query. 1,000 results if possible.
- Provide in-context usage and examples sentences.
- Clean, simple user interface.
- No pagination in the UI.
- Searches should be super fast. Instantaneous!
- No visual distractions. No ads. No random Web content. No useless information like character encoding codes.
- No advanced search! It should be smart and bring back results in an intelligent way.
- The primary goal of a searchable dictionary is to be a useful language resource–it should not a means to draw you in and sell you language services or books.
I think I’ve kept with my design principles on this initial version, and it’s only going to get better with time.
The technology behind Honyaku Star is Linux, PHP, Perl, MySQL, and the awesome full-text index Mroonga. I’ll post more about some of the technical challenges in future posts.
Honestly, I made Honyaku Star for myself, to be the ideal dictionary that I’d want to use everyday. But my hope is others will find it useful. All user feedback is welcome and appreciated. And if you use and like Honyaku Star, consider contributing translations to it.
Start using Honyaku Star today at http://honyakustar.com.