posted by Announcements on April 12, 2010 | 26 comments
We're happy to announce the release of our free Chinese translation software package. This Windows program offers the same functionality as more expensive machine translation engines. The difference is that our version is free and gives you complete control over the translation engine. Download the installation package here and double-click on the file to install the engine:

Why should you use the Popup Chinese translator instead of something like Google translate? Our translation engine combines the best of rules-based approaches with cutting-edge statistical machine translation. It lets you add words and phrases to override system translations, and works offline when you don't have an Internet connection. Meanwhile, if you are online it will tap into the Google translation service to improve translation quality. This results in:

  • total user control over translation quality
  • really good default handling of proper nouns, dates, etc.
  • your own private dictionary for adding words and phrases

Feedback (including bug reports) is very welcome. Send your thoughts to You can also send along passages you think translate particularly badly for us to fix. And of course we're also looking for usability suggestions, and advice on features you'd like to see us introduce. We will be releasing updates and upgrades quite regularly. Be sure you've signed up for a free account if you want to hear of these occasionally through our email newsletter.

If you're interested in helping out with this project, the easiest way is to use it when translating. Our Popup Chinese translation engine will create an archive of any new words and phrases you add, saving this file into the installation directory. To contribute content just forward this file to us and we'll review it for inclusion in our next version. You can also add new words and edit existing definitions through our online Chinese English dictionary.

Questions and comments are welcome. We look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy the software. Happy Translating!

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luolin on April 13, 2010 | reply
Anything for the Apple?
trevelyan on April 13, 2010 | reply

We're hoping to release a Mac version within the month. Hoping to iron out any problems people have with usability, etc. before we start porting the software across multiple platforms.

mfcharlyb on April 17, 2010 | reply
hi, how to inspect/manage/import/export my dictionary?
trevelyan on April 17, 2010 | reply

The default install location for the software is "C:\Program Files\Popup Chinese Translator". If you open that directory, you'll see a file named "translations.txt". That's a tab-denominated file containing first the Chinese text and then the preferred English translation. You can mass-import content by adding it to that file.

An sqlite version of the Adso database is also in that directory, so more experienced developers can import content into it directly. That said, I'd recommend getting started with the "translations.txt" file as it is much easier. If you add a lot of new entries please send us a copy of this file and we will review/tag the entries and add them to the master database for release in a future version of the software.

Once the Chinese translation software is running, you can add new words by highlighting them once they're in the source box (on the left) and then hitting the "a" key. You'll be prompted to enter an English translation for the Chinese word. This word and its translation will be added to your system and written to the "translations.txt" file. All future texts containing that particular phrase will be translated as you've specified.



wils on April 30, 2010 | reply
Wow, your program sounds great! I'm excited, and can hardly wait for the mac version. Please don't make it intel only, compile it for ppc users too.
tabletguy on April 30, 2010 | reply
Future versions of the software could automate the submission of new vocabulary, assuming that you adequately guard against people just typing in from copyrighted dictionaries. Perhaps something that kept a record of who made the submission, adding some attribution to each word (a check box type to be fast), and ability to add examples, etc.

Submissions for grammar would be most welcome too.
sun_sunny on May 1, 2010 | reply
best performance thank u

zhangjile on May 4, 2010 | reply
great work. There's always room for improvements and challenge the popular brands in the market.
sheep1428 on October 4, 2010 | reply
how many vocab does it contain?
loraleemacpike on March 19, 2011 | reply
Is the mac version out now? How can I download it?
trevelyan on March 21, 2011 | reply

Mac version isn't out yet -- we had trouble compiling it with a static version of one of the system libraries and haven't figured out the workaround yet.

We've got the next version of the site under development and are going to overhaul the entire software downloads page so will take another stab at it in probably two or three months when we're about ready to upgrade the platform.



loraleemacpike on March 21, 2011 | reply
Many thanks. I'll check back in the summer; I can wait for my new computer until then. Loralee
formulaandy on October 13, 2012 | reply
Can I hand my laptop with qwerty keyboard to somebody who doesn't speak English and have them write their message in Chinese symbols for your software to translate ?
trevelyan on October 13, 2012 | reply
The software itself is english-to-chinese. But we've just added our Chinese input option to the Adso page. Toggling that (click on the "en" image to switch to "cn" or Chinese mode) switches input modes -- letting people type in pinyin and select Chinese characters from the list provided.
formulaandy on October 13, 2012 | reply
Can I use this to communicate with a Chinese person face to face by handing them my qwerty laptop ? How do they write in Chinese characters ?
formulaandy on October 13, 2012 | reply
Woops - Your postings are at the bottom of page (not top like most forums) so I didn't see that my first attempt was posted & repeated my question. Sorry.
mld on January 18, 2013 | reply
Hello! How is the Mac version, is it out now?
mocox on January 24, 2013 | reply
Is it possible to use your translation engine in a users own program, i have written several free tools to help users study Chinese but since Google no longer provide a free translator i have had to remove the translation functionality from my text editor.

You can download the tool and see what i have done for yourself here - and click on the downloads menu item and follow instructions. Only works on Windows 7 and better.
trevelyan on January 26, 2013 | reply

Absolutely, please just attribute and link in some fashion. You can download the source code and database here:


Nelluellu on April 11, 2014 | reply
its already 4 years later, is the Mac version of this translator happening?
trevelyan on April 11, 2014 | reply

The source code compiles, but we had issues getting the backend SQLite database to compile against the system library that handled the graphical user interface, etc.

If you want to get Adso working on Mac, you can still do so -- it works perfectly as a command-line applications -- but it is harder to install and less intuitive to use, especially if you are setup with the MySQL database.
krcox on October 20, 2016 | reply
it seems that the software translates Chinese to English but need English to Chinese to have an actual conversation... how can one use it to translate English to Chinese?
trevelyan on October 20, 2016 | reply
Yes, the engine only handles Chinese to English. English to Chinese would require a different parser with -- ideally -- an understanding of English grammar. Google translate is probably better for that.