Why This Exists

FormosaDict is an English-Chinese dictionary catered towards people wanting to improve their Taiwanese Mandarin Chinese. ‘Formosa’ was Taiwan’s former name and ‘Dict’ is short for dictionary. The bear in the logo reading a dictionary is a ‘Formosan Black Bear’.

As an expat in Taiwan, I (and many other expats) have often experienced frustrations when trying to learn the local language due to their being an absense of many colloquialisms used in Taiwan in the other English-Chinese dictionaries (Pleco & MDGB).

On top of this, it’s often not clear when certain words are only used in China but not Taiwan. I personally have wasted a lot of time memorising words that are exclusive to China when I’m only really interested in communicating with the locals in Taiwan. So, although the available dictionaries are fantastic and work great for Taiwanese Mandarin learners a lot of the time, they are often misleading. This is why I deemed it valuable to create FormosaDict.

Problems It Solves

FormosaDict aims to solve the problems I mentioned in the following ways –

  • Many of the words and idioms that I come across that are native to Taiwan but are not listed on my dictionary or any of the others will be added by myself.
  • Users can take the liberty to suggest a translation themselves for me to review through the ‘Suggest a Translation’ form.
  • Chinese words listed in the dictionary that are exclusively used in Taiwan are accompanied with a bubble tea emoji and the initials ‘TW’ for extra clarity. Listed words that are exclusive to China are accompanied with a panda emoji and the initials ‘CH’ (for political reasons, flag emojis are unavailable for Windows users).

Other Advantages

  • As fast and comprehensive as Pleco is, it doesn’t run on the web, this clearly does.
  • As FormosaDict is an SPA (Single-Page Application) it runs many times faster than MDGB. It also has a much more modern and minimalistic UI/UX.


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