Looking to brush up on your Mandarin while Chinese New Year is still hot? We’ve recently discovered two apps and websites that might help you along. To get you reading in no time, there’s Chineasy, a clever site designed by a Taiwanese venture capitalist turned entrepreneur. The method is simple: traditional characters are converted into stylish illustrations that serve as visual pneumonics. Once you’ve learned a few basics, you’ll be shown compound characters that read like math problems (to come + to return = round trip). It’s all very playful, fun, and easy to use. For now, it's all online, but an app is slated to hit the iTunes store next month.
But if you’re already in China and need the quickest fix possible, there’s Waygo (above), a visual translator in the vein of Word Lens. Hover your phone camera over a particular word or phrase, and the app will convert the Chinese to English—no data connection required. Bonus: you also get pronunciation tips, so you can use it as a learning tool on the side.
Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.