A few days ago, I went back to 台北 to hang out with one of my old co-workers one more time before he went back to America. It was pretty cool to hang out with him, and it turns out he’d been reading my blog. He said he liked the News in Chinese link I have up here, though it loads a bit slowly. The pop-ups with pinyin and English for every character make it possible for you to read Chinese news articles really quickly, even if you only know half or a third of the characters it would take to be literate. Then he mentioned that it would be nice if there were some java script tool that would do the same thing for you on any Chinese page.

Back when I was learning Japanese, there was a tool just like that: rikai.com. Rikai, or りかい (理解) means “understand” in Japanese. At that page you can either type Japanese into a box, or type in a URL of a Japanese page. Then, rikai.com generates a page that has the same text, but also javascript pop-ups with English and romanji for every word. It was an awesome tool. I used to use it to read several articles a day from major Japanese news sites like Yomiuri or Mainichi.

As I was talking with my friend, I realized something. Yomiuri translates Chinese too! I never cared about that before, while I was learning Japanese, and by the time I started learning Chinese I’d forgotten all about Rikai. I tried it out on an article from the 工人日報, and I found it to be even more convenient than newsinchinese.com since it loads so much faster. Since it is also usable on nearly any Chinese page, there’s no contest between the two tools. I’m removing my newsinchinese.com link, and replacing it with rikai.com. To use rikai.com for Chinese, go to the main page and select “Chinese to English” from the drop down menu on the right. Then, you can either start clicking on news articles on the bottom or enter a URL into the box to the upper left.

To see the article I was reading in the picture above, follow this link.