I’m not a fan of Microsoft generally but they seem to have created a very slick and useful tool here. The stand-out features are:
- sample sentences that use the word you’re searching for in context,
- parts of speech identification, i.e. whether the word is a noun, verb, etc.,
- support for (some) ‘slang’ words, and
- pinyin support for the sample sentences.
For example, a search for “八卦” yields the following:
(There were some more sample sentences but I’ve omitted them for brevity.)
I think the sample sentences are where it really shines. Quite often when using other dictionaries, I would end up getting the new word I found and searching for it on Jukuu.com to see if it’s used the way I expect (for example: to check it isn’t just literary). Bing includes sample sentences from many sources (including Jukuu). Some sample sentences have audio and/or video but these just read the sample sentence in English.
Another big gripe of mine that this dictionary addresses is the grammatical parts of speech that the word can be used as. For example, it’s easy to see whether a word can be used as both a noun and a verb or only one of these.
Note that this tool is a dictionary and not a translator. They do have a translator located at http://www.bing.com/translator but I don’t think I will use it much because it doesn’t show the pinyin like Google Translate does (Google’s text-to-speech is much better too). A proper review of all the major translators out there is probably a topic for another post