MSDict Pocket Oxford Italian Dictionary (PC) – reviewed

In this post we review e-dictionary MSDict Pocket Oxford Italian Dictionary by Mobile Systems. We will talk about use, content and technical overview, followed by conclusion. The version of the reviewed software is 3.10.

Use

MSDict Pocket Oxford Italian Dictionary is compact software contained in 11 MB installation file. After the setup, small window will await you, divided into three sections. On the left pane headwords are listed, while right one contains the details. Above are navigation and filtering buttons that list previous or next entry or filter the content. Unfortunately, in order to print the content you will have to use copy/paste and a text editor, since printing is not implemented. Browsing the menus reveals options we have already seen in similar products, like “always on top” or “load on startup”.

Automatic word search when new content is discovered on the clipboard is included and functional – to some extent. This “Automatic Clipboard Translate” is likely to cause the frustration, because of the way it works. Upon copying an Italian word, the software looks it up and marks it in the list, but in order to see the definitions and explanation, you have to click on the headword. We expect that the program automatically lists the definitions. Needless to say that this is poorly done and it will prove to be of little use: one might as well paste the word directly in the software, which makes clipboard monitoring needless, and a whole process waste of time.

Content

MSDict Pocket Oxford Italian Dictionary is an Oxford dictionary. Users seeking, above all, quality reference will be pleased that the acclaimed publisher has yet another software edition. Even more, Mobile Systems offers Oxford dictionaries and reference software for several portable platforms (PalmOS, Pocket PC, Symbian etc.).

All headwords have stress notation within the word itself (for example: dizio’nario). While there is no pronunciation or IPA translation, there is a humble English and Italian pronunciation guide. It is minimal and thus good as a reference only. The explanations and meanings are formatted for legibility: part of speech is marked with bigger font and different color, Italian headwords and phrases are in bold, while abbreviations and notes are in gray italic.

The content covers “over 80,000 words and phrases, and over 100,000 translations” (quotation from the publisher’s site) which is great for this dictionary class, with the observation that more examples of usage would be welcome.

Technical overview

Surprisingly, technical realization of this dictionary is not very good. For a simple software like this, installation and settings should be flawless. Unfortunately, we have encountered issues on Windows XP SP2, where installation procedure fails to set up the program correctly for the users. During our testing, only the administrator could start the MSDict and load the Italian dictionary. We were also disappointed to see that the program does not offer basic learning aids, like bookmarks, wordlist or simple flashcards tool.

Good side of the thing is that MSDict is lightweight program that will not infest your computer with unwanted software.

Conclusion

Is this dictionary worth the money? It depends. If you are a beginner or an intermediate level learner of Italian language this type of dictionary is for you, but will you like the product? No doubt, Oxford stands as an authoritative reference, but is that enough for the software? We think that in terms of use and technical quality users deserve better products. The glitch with clipboard makes automatic search unusable, which slows down the work. This would be the biggest flaw of the MSDict Pocket Oxford Italian Dictionary. We could also mention the inability of the program to look up correctly a word copied with surrounding space characters.

If you need good low-weight Italian e-dictionary by an established publisher because you are unable to use the Internet language resources, and in the same time you find looking up in printed editions too time consuming – buy this product. Our opinion is that you will be satisfied, especially if you do not deal with Italian language frequently.

Other uses might wish to try other products, especially until all bugs are resolved in this program and more functionality is added. If you consider the price and compare it with the program’s doubtful usability, you could try the original Oxford Pocket Dictionary which has richer extra content. We hope that Mobile Systems will continue to deliver good software, both for mobile devices and, of course, personal computers.

Links

MSDict Pocket Oxford Italian Dictionary homepage (opens in new page).

Sceenshot of the main window
Sceenshot of the main window

Published by

Romeo Mlinar

Languagebits.com Author

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