new tools for writing Pinyin

I’ve received word from software writers of not one but two useful new tools for writing Hanyu Pinyin with tone marks (i.e., not using Pinyin to enter Chinese characters but really writing Hanyu Pinyin texts).

Pīnyīn Editor, by Bengt Moss-Petersen, is an online tool that currently works best with IE 6+ and Firefox.

click to visit the online Pinyin editor

(I made text much larger than the default size, since I had to reduce the image to make it fit in my blog. Users can choose among several sizes and fonts.)

And Pinyin Builder, by Wayne Kirk, is freeware for Windows systems.

click to visit the download page for Pinyin Builder

If you have an open Microsoft Office document, clicking Pinyin Builder’s “GO” button will insert your Pinyin text into that document. You don’t need to bother with copying and pasting.

In both of these, ΓΌ + tone mark is produced by v + tone number. Pinyin Builder also offers a combination using the CTRL key.

The tone number can be entered either immediately after the vowel or later in the syllable (e.g., zho1ng, zhong1, and zhon1g all yield “zhōng”). Pinyin Editor also offers the option to simply click on buttons with the vowels and tone marks.

I hope people make frequent use of both of these terrific new tools.


Opera’s translation widget

The latest version of Opera, my favorite Web browser, now has a feature called “widgets.” These are basically the same as Firefox’s extensions. (Many of the features Firefox gets credit for were taken from Opera, so turnabout is fair play.)

Of particular interest to readers of this site is the GTranslation widget, which ties in with Google’s and BabelFish’s translation engines. This will allow you to input text and even Web pages in [Mandarin] Chinese and view them in English. Well, sort-of English. But at least it’s free!

Thus, this widget is Opera’s equivalent of Firefox’s translation extensions.

GTranslation was written by Shoust.

I know that many of my readers are still tied to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. I strongly recommend trying Opera or Firefox, which are faster, more secure, and generally better in most every way.