One of the great things about the Internet is the way it gives us access to other cultures. If you are a language learner, this gives you an incredible chance to practice what you are learning. Students of Japanese will be delighted with Rikaichan, a Firefox add-on that will make reading Japanese websites - from anime fan sites to the newspaper - a much easier and more educational experience.
Being an add-on, Rikaichan is very low-key. You activate it by right clicking on your webpage and choosing Rikaichan from the context menu. Once activated, a window with the phonetic transliteration and meaning of the text will appear in a bubble when you hover over text. The add-on will highlight the particular part of the sentence that is being explained, and if you drag the mouse over the text, Rikaichan will translate longer strings of characters.
Rikaichan also translates to and from German, French and Russian, but you'll have to download all the dictionaries, and the names dictionary, as separate add-ons. The extension has great configuration options, but is really only suitable for Japanese learners who already have a base in the language. Although Rikaichan provides good linguistic help, it treats words as separate entities, which means that it is very difficult to understand the overall meaning of a text unless you can string the components together yourself.
Rikaichan is a great Japanese language add-on for learners of an intermediate level.
- Fixed: Rikaichan may fail to display info when in Thunderbird 2.x's main window. Also generates invalid top/left error messages in the console.