USA Today Reviews BBK - AM99 - Electronic English Chinese Talking Dictionary
AM99 is a simply designed, no-frills e-dictionary that can adeptly translate in both directions. The talking device contains 60,000 English words and hundreds of useful phrases.
One feature we really liked is its "basic dictionary," a "dumbed-down" version of its main dictionary. Since several Chinese definitions exist for each English word, it produces only the most commonly used Chinese definition. For example, typing "dogs" renders the most commonly used Chinese character(s) for dogs. This feature is helpful, since tourists using the device will mostly be looking for the simplest and most direct translation.
Another bonus is that AM99 provides Pinyin — a Chinese "alphabet" that provides phonetic reading guidance for children — for each English word. It makes reading easier for Chinese language students who might have forgotten how to pronounce a particular character.
AM99's recording of useful phrases also is clearer than some of the other models. It also contains Chinese and English idiom dictionaries — handy when wanting to translate "a breath of fresh air" to a Chinese local. It's also the cheapest among the five, which might explain its minimalist appearance. Graphics, in black and white, are not very fancy. (Read the full review from USAToday)
Much More Than Just a Dictionary - About.com reviews BBK - AM99 Electronic English Chinese Talking Dictionary
While there are language translation programs for PDAs available, what if you need a simple and inexpensive stand-alone device to help you with translations? Well BBK has come out with the AM99 Electronic English Chinese Talking Dictionary. The AM99 is pocket sized device designed for learning and translating Chinese into English and vice-versa... .Overall, I was impressed with the dictionary. It seems like a lot of thought went in to which features to include, and while there are some features that I would probably never use, there's nothing that I would need that has not been included. At $99.99 it's a great buy--especially if you take into consideration the high price of some of those brand-name audio tape or cd sets! (Read the full review from About.com)
Fast and Useful! Reviewer: Alex
Others have testified to this product's usefulness, but I just want to throw in a thought about a written dictionary v. an electronic one. I've taken one year of Chinese, and I'm now doing a Chinese immersion program in Beijing. Suffice it to say, my Chinese sucks, but it's getting better. However, just yesterday I had a three-hour conversation with a Chinese woman at a restaurant. Without my dictionary, it would have been impossible b/c I would have spent so much time flipping through pages. Electronic dictionaries enable you to have (relatively) meaningful conversations even at a low skill level. So get one! This one's great!
Worked for me Reviewer: Atherton Reader (Atherton, CA)I've done all the cassettes and CD program in the car, but those can only take you so far. When in China, I've always failed to make it to conversation level. At the very least, there are some terms that seem to be stumbling blocks. That's when I whipped out this pocket electronic gizmo. Worked well, however its not intuitive in its design. One really should sit down and try to read the manual before using it in a real life setting.
Ideally, you really need to study Chinese in an academic setting along with this product. That's when you can really leverage its variations for a particular word. The voice sounds are realistic and not computer-sounding.
In short, this a useful tool, but certainly not the savior to your language barrier.
AM99 is AWESOME for basic communication in China
My mother bought the AM99 for my recent trip to Shanghai. She was worried because I never learned how to speak Chinese and that I might get lost somewhere without being able to find my way back. When I got there, of course (as I often do) I got lost around the Xiangyang Market and had no clue where the metro was or how to pronounce my destination to a taxi driver. After asking some locals for directions (with my usual charade of motioning arms and speaking loudly in English), they were seriously confused, so I took out my AM99 and typed in train. It announced the word train in Chinese and they pointed me in the correct direction. From then on, I used that method the whole time in Shanghai. The phrase guide helped me bargain at the market, ask where the tourist office was and to ask for a restroom. Although my communication was very basic, I got around much easier than if I didn't have it with me. This device is excellent for anyone who doesn't have the time to learn Chinese, but needs to know some basic words and phrases. Love it love it love it! I wish this came in all languages; then I'd be set!
The AM99 is an excellent oversee business tool
Reviewer: Jay Kaggity (Jacksonville, FL
On my first business trip to China I was extremely nervous about not communicating properly in a foreign country. I didn't speak Mandarin, but I wanted to learn so I could show respect to my potential Chinese business partners by conversing in their native language. I bought the BBK AM99 to assist me in achieving my goal. The electronic voice helped my speech with correct intonations and the pre-set phrase templates made me more comfortable in greeting someone, asking for information and ordering at a restaurant. The functions are easy to use and there are also travel features within the device, such as a calendar and information on China. After using the AM99 for a short period of time, I was confident in presenting my new skill. The Chinese partners were impressed that I had taken the time to learn some Mandarin and my small courtesy helped put my business proposal in a more favorable light.
The AM99 was a definite factor in ensuring my success overseas. This product has been so accommodating for my business ventures; I would absolutely recommend this to other Asia business travelers!
Chinese Immersion Program review
Reviewer: Carlos Francisco Mangandy "Calitos"
I recently purchased the AM99 for my son since he attends a Chinese immersion program. I thought it would be a great idea to give him a tool that would help him communicate with his friends. After one week of using the AM99 my sons ability to communicate with his friends has increased. The human voice feature on the AM99 has allowed my son to effectively communicate with his buddies. The AM99 is easy to use and allows for easy travel. The specialty dictionaries for biology, computers, business, medicine and Chinese medicine further expands the AM99's capabilities. Another key feature of the AM99 is the knowledgebase for music, poem, arts, history, Chinese handwriting, travel sites and local customs. These tools allow for my son to connect with the Chinese friends that he normally would not be able to. With the AM99 my son has new opportunities at school that were not apparent before due to language barriers.
I have used the AM99 and found the user interface extremely easy to use. It was simple to follow the instructions and in no time I was fully operating the unit. My son has not had any issues with the AM99 since we purchased it. Overall, the AM99 has performed flawless and I will continue to look for other innovative products from BBK. 5 STARS from me and my son!!!
With Peace Corps here in China
Reviewer: Beth A. Beeson
I am an Enlish Professor teaching at a University in Guizhou Province in Southwest China. This translator has become my most valuable tool for both my students and I. When they want to tell me something and don't know the English word, they type in the Chinese and it immediately translates the word to English. When I shop and don't know the Chinese word, I type in the English word and press "english to chinese" and the shopkeeper immediately knows what I need to buy. I would be very frustrated without this tool; instead, my experience in China has been fabulous!!
What a great Chinese learning tool!
Reviewer: M. Dino "Great Mazinger" (Los Angeles, CA )
I've always wanted to learn Mandarin and be able to watch Mandarin speaking movies. With this tool my Mandarin speaking and listening skills have greatly improved. The tool is about the size of a calculator so you can bring it with you whereever you go. The interface of this electronic dictionary is really easy to use. It goes from English to Chinese and vice versa. It can even speak the Chinese words so you can practice along with the voice. Another cool feature that I'm sure I will use is the conversational phrase section. You can search through a bunch of preprogrammed common, useful, phrases and it will say it. If I ever go to China or Taiwan I can just punch up the phrase I want and be able to say it or have the computer say it for me. I highly recommend this tool. It's educational and practical!
A cool way to learn Chinese
Reviewer: J. Ma
I bought one unit as a Christmas gift for my eleven year old daughter who is learning Chinese. She absolutely loves it. I asked her why she liked it so much. She said: "It helps me to do my homework". So I sat down not too far from her one day watching her doing homework. I summarize a few points here.
1) Which character to use?
If she doesn't know how to write a character, but she knows the English meaning, she'd type in the English word in the dictionary, and then look for the character. Another way is that she forgets a character but knows its pinyin, she'd type in the pinyin to find the character.
2) How to pronounce a character?
When she reads, but then sees a character that she doesn't know how to pronounce. She then figures out the radicals and the number of strokes of the character, enters those in the dictionary, and then press a button, the dictionary will pronounce it in mandarin. It also shows the pinyin.
3) A booklet of essential Chinese
It comes with a booklet of essential Chinese. She thinks that it's easy for her, since she has been in Chinese school for a few years now.
I am really glad that I bought her this learning device. It's a helping hand, and she learns to rely on herself to study Chinese. It's not a headache any more to find the correct characters, and not knowing how to say a character she hasn't learn or forgets.