Users' Reviews of the JLT Dictionaries

I just returned from yet another trip to Japan - this time with the new AXIM. I pretty much used it daily, if not hourly. I tested it many ways - as did alot of the japanese I was with. Mostly with kanji and slang. All were impressed.

The only thing that happens sometimes is the character autocomplete "goes away" and I need to soft reset. This only happened twice in 3 weeks and is probably related to some button stroke order.

Thus far, I can honestly say - this thing is what you need if you are an English speaker in Japan - or just studying Japanese for that matter.

BUT - in hindsight - i should have bought the Japanese OS instead of the English OS - it would set you in complete Japanese mode and erase a few quirks. You want to get away from english as much as possible when you are learning.

Note from Peter: this is a review of the Complete System with English WM2003SE OS. At the time, I recommended the Japanese over the English for exactly the reasons Mr. Garcia describes. However, the English JLT system now uses the WM6 OS and works perfectly, just as well as the Japanese, without the annoyances and slight instability of the older English WM2003SE system (the OS itself was fine, but there was no way to install Japanese support to it without causing these minor problems; WM6 can use a better Japanese support system that doesn't have these issues).

Added: Oct 28, 2007
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A beginner's experiences: I've been the happy owner of one of Peter's JLT systems for a couple of weeks now, and I thought that I would relate my experiences and opinions.

I ordered the complete system, plus the optional CEdict Mandarin Chinese-English dictionary. During the ordering process Peter was communicative and helpful, and when the Axim arrived, it was well packaged, very clean and included all the bits and pieces as advertised. Later experience uncovered a very minor hardware problem, and Peter has offered to replace the Axim as soon as he has new stock.

The Axim is a lovely little machine. It's very comfortable to hold in the hand, and the screen is bright and very sharp, as Peter says over and over again on his web site. At the time I ordered it Peter had some used Magnum cases in stock and I got one of those as well; it's very impressive. Strong, a great dull black finish and very thin and light. I suggest that any Axim owner spring for one of these.

Now, the dictionary itself. I purchased an English-language Axim, with the understanding that there would be some rough edges not present on the Japanese version. My Japanese is not yet to the point where I'm comfortable dealing with Japanese menus. The main oddity I've encountered is that the little floating palette controlling the IME is sometimes present more than once, and when this happens, it's not obvious which one is controlling the IME. However, I can easily live with this: experimentation reveals which one is the active one, or I can do a soft reset to clean things up. There may be some other small problems but they are so minor that I've forgotten about them.

As a basic learner of Japanese, I have to keep reminding myself that this is not a translator, it is a dictionary (or rather five dictionaries). Because Japanese is seldom printed with spaces between the words, translating a large block of text can be tedious - the next word might be one, two or more characters, all of which can be found in the JLT. This of course would be just the same with a paper dictionary, just a lot slower, and not nearly as much fun.

Like all dictionaries, these have a great deal of meta-information with each entry, such as what part of speech the word is. Verbs, for example, in the Edict have stuff like (v5k, vi) included. These can be looked up in Edict itself using the Super Jump feature. Eijiro is a different matter: there's tons of typographical content and references, and so far I'm not sure where to get more information about this. In Kanjidict, one must be cautious with the Nelson numbers. It seems that there are at least two systems of numbers out there, and Kanjidict doesn't give the correct numbers for a recent paperback version of Nelson. The stroke diagrams in Kanjidict are very welcome.

These minor cavills aside, the system is very fast, convenient and a lot of fun to use. We (my wife and I) take it everywhere and spend a lot of time working out what various signs mean, just for the pleasure of increasing our understanding of what's going on around us in Tokyo.

Other uses: I installed a Chinese dictionary and flash-card system called PlecoDict. It runs perfectly on the slightly altered English operating system, with the minor problem of the duplicated palette at times. We're also using the Axim for more ordinary things, like taking notes and playing videos.

Overall I would have to say that I am delighted with this product. It works exactly as advertised, and Peter's pre-and post-sales support are excellent. It's a little more expensive than the dictionaries that the Japanese use, but much better suited to English speakers and a pleasure to own.

Note from Peter Rivard: This is a review of the Complete System on an Axim X50V with the English WM2003SE OS. The IME/palette issues mentioned here don't occur in later English OS systems, which use the WM6 OS. Also, conjugations of verbs in Edict can now be looked up directly, without resorting to the arcane codes (v5r, etc.)--though "vi" means "intransitive verb" and refers to how the verb is used, not how it's conjugated (such abbreviations are the same as in standard English dictionaries). By tapping "Copyright" in the Tool menu, one can see a list of such codes and what they mean--as one can for the codes in Kanjidic, too. The Nelson codes are in Kanjidic are correct: they're the "classic" Nelson codes, the most widely used; there are also the "New Nelson" codes, the Compact Nelson codes, and maybe more--Nelson's index numbers aren't consistent from edition to edition.

This customer's ultimate review of the system, though, is that after he and his wife had used if for several months, they bought a second Complete System so they could each have one.

Added: Oct 28, 2007
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JLT user's opinion: It's been a couple of weeks since I received my Axim and I want to give some feedback and share my thoughts with prospective Peter's customers.

About a month before I discovered this website I bought a new Casio XD-GW9600 (a handwritten input model). I had absolutely no idea what a PDA could do, but when I read (only a part of the big amount of) the information contained in Peter's website, I knew that was what I needed. Still, being completely ignorant with respect to PDAs and such, I asked Peter tons of questions, explained him my specific needs and he found a solution. The delivery was faster than expected and as someone else have said, the support from Peter is superb: he listen to you, he knows the answer for sure and his patience knows no limits. He's doing a great job, and I really wish him the best with his business.

With no previous knowledge whatsoever, I'm able to use the Axim for anything I want: I can study vocabulary anytime and anywhere, create flashcards on-the-go, read grammar lessons in pdf, check words whenever I need it, study other languages (like English) and anything I need although I know the Axim is capable of doing much more. Now I have way less time than a month ago but I've realized that since I have the Axim I spend more time learning languages than before O_O scary! (on the bus, on the train, between meetings, during lunch... so much time wasted).

Just a piece of advice for Spanish customers: be aware of the customs (16%).

~~~~~~Casio XD-GW9600 Versus Axim complete package Japanese OS ~~~~ (personal experience)

1.- The Axim is way easier to use. I'm still trying to figure out how to use some dictionaries in the Casio. Sure, The Casio may have 20 dictionaries more than the Axim, but I barely understand 2 of them.

2.- The Casio has a stylus for handwritten input but not for superjump (it has a superjump key, of course).

3.- The Casio is pretty good recognizing handwritten input, it's not strict with respect to stroke order. In that sense, this model of Casio and the Axim are similar, but the Axim displays a list of possible kanji and let you choose, while you will have to cross your fingers and hope the Casio will pick the kanji you're writing. Bad luck? write again. The Axim is nicer.

4.-Versatility: the Casio is a denshijisho, the Axim is what you want it to be.

5.- Price. I bought the Axim (complete package)+special case+4 batteries (2 normal and 2 with bigger charge). I bought the Casio+case at The price was quite similar, the difference was no more than 10 euros.

6.- Batteries. I'm not making a "normal use" of the Axim, so it's not really fair to compare, but I wish the batteries would last longer. It's not really a problem, but I find it a bit annoying.

7.-Size. Believe it or not, the Axim is smaller than the Casio.

8.- When I purchased the Casio, I didn't have to pay the customs, but I had to when I bought the Axim. I don't know which criteria the custom office follows, probably it was just good luck the first time and bad luck the second.

Note from Peter: this is a review of the Complete System on an Axim X50V PDA with the Japanese WM2003SE operating system. As of mid-2009, I've sent two systems to Spain: Leonor had to pay customs tax, the other person didn't. As in many other countries, it seems to be pretty random.

Added: Oct 15, 2007
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SD card w/software: I purchased an SD card with the standard dictionaries plus Eijiro for my IPaq 5450 running English Pocket PC 2003. I first had to get the IPaq to be able to display/input Japanese. Not exactly easy, but doable with info from:

I'm using the Compobox software to input Japanese; it works pretty well, but doesn't have handwriting recognition like the Japanese IME. But, I learned that by using SKIP codes, I can lookup kanji without knowing how to pronounce them quite quickly in the Kanjidic.. just enter the SKIP code like 1-9-2 and select your kanji from the list.

Peter is very knowledgeable about handheld PC's and was very helpful. Thanks Peter!

Added: Sep 13, 2007
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JLT Complete System feedback: I might well be one of the most recent acquirees of the JLT PDA Dictionary, so I thought I'd kick off the feedback with some early thoughts.

Like many of us treading the sometimes painful road of Japanese language acquisition, I've been through a number of denshi-jisho in pursuit of the Holy Grail tool that will allow me to understand what I'm seeing, reading and hearing. Various Canon Wordtanks culminating in the G50, then a Seiko SII SRE-10000 with all the bells and whistles. But as Peter Rivvard correctly points out on his website, the fact these are made specifically for Japanese users really does limit there usefulness, at least until you reach a level of competence that i for one have yet to enjoy.

The depth of detail on the website combined with the open and unambiguous approach taken has resulted in my experiencing zero disappointments with the product I received. It works well, really well in fact. The hand writing recognition has been a bit of a revelation in that I now have a companion tool to help me interpret that strange kanji 'on the hoof' rather than toiling away with radicals and stroke counts, or as was often the case, taking a photo, then trying to id the little critters later!

The PDA itself is excellent and provides other functionality outside the realm of the dedicated 'Wordtanks'. I can roam the house whilst Skyping the old folks back in the mother country, read the odd book (Mobipocket seemed a good choice) and when I'm feeling particularly Nihongo'd out or masochistic, take a stab at Pocket Igo...guaranteed to give you a headache.

The Innopocket magnesium case is strongly recommended, light, robust and comfortable to use. Also seems to insulate your hand a little from the heat generated after prolonged usage.

Given its bespoke nature (Japanese IME on English OS in my case) it has some very limited peculiarities, but nothing yet which had not been clearly identified on the JLT website in advance of my purchase.

In short I'm very happy with what I believe is a reasonably priced, very effective product tailored perfectly for the non-Japanese student of Japanese. Support from Peter is also top 1st class.

It would be nice to see some feedback from other users, especially in regards to tips and tricks discovered for use of the dictionary.

For example, anyone discovered how to use the Word Inflector?!

Note from Peter: this is a review of the Complete System on an Axim X50V PDA with the Japanese WM2003SE operating system. Later systems, with Japanese support on the English WM6 OS, don't have the "limited peculiarities." One note: the current system now includes a working word inflector via the Conjugations dictionary! As always, information on those free upgrades was sent to all previous customers when the upgrades became available.

Added: Aug 07, 2007
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