Pleco Software
FoundedNew York, NY, United States (2000)
  • Michael Love
Area served

Pleco Software (pronounced Pl-ee-ko) provides an English and Chinese Dictionary application for iOS and Android devices. The Pleco Software company was founded in May 2000 by Michael Love when he was studying abroad in China. Having difficulty remembering characters, Love developed a very rudimentary handwriting based dictionary for personal use on a Palm IIIx, and then realized it could be a good business opportunity, pursuing further development of the application we see today.[1]


Pleco allows different ways of input, including Pinyin input method, English words, handwriting recognition and optical character recognition.[2][3] It has many sets of dictionaries (including the Oxford, Longman, FLTRP, and Ricci), audio recordings from two different native speakers, flashcards functionality, and a document reader that can look up words in a document.[4] Pleco is a free application with in-app purchases, additional functions and large dictionaries (including English, French, German, Mandarin, Cantonese, classical Chinese, and a traditional Chinese medicine reference).[5]


Pleco was started by Mike Love in May 2000 when he was 18 years old.[6] The application was first launched on the Palm Pilot in 2001. In 2013, Pleco 3.0 was released.[7][8] In November 2017, Endymion Wilkinson's Chinese History: A New Manual was added.[9]


As of July 2021, Pleco Chinese Dictionary had 4.7 stars on the iOS App Store, based on 1,300 ratings,[10] and 4.6 stars out of 5 on Google Play, based on over 40,000 ratings.[11]

In a 2013 opinion article for the New York Times, the British chef Fuchsia Dunlop wrote, "Pleco has absolutely changed my life", and "it's completely brilliant for traveling."[12] In 2018, New York Times columnist Lucas Peterson said he found Pleco to be a "useful translation app".[13]

See also


  1. ^ About Pleco, retrieved April 1, 2014
  2. ^ Millward, Steven (January 26, 2012). "Pleco: Chinese Character Recognition App Finally Comes to Android". Tech in Asia. Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  3. ^ Shu, Catherine (January 25, 2013). "Translator App Waygo Reads Chinese Menus For Hungry Travelers". Techcrunch. Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  4. ^ "My Back Pages: Digital Diary Traces Memories". Chengdu Living. November 25, 2010. Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  5. ^ Chen, David (January 31, 2010). "Tech Review: Taiwan: Pleco for iPhone and iPod touch". Taipei Times. Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  6. ^ "Meet the man behind Pleco, the revolutionary Chinese language learning app that's older than the iPhone". Retrieved December 16, 2020.
  7. ^ Butler, Robert (March 12, 2013). "The Only Chinese Dictionary App Worth Your Time". Language Clan. Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  8. ^ "Pleco Chinese Dictionary for iOS and Android Version 3.0". Language Resource Group. February 12, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  9. ^ Chinese History: A New Manual
  10. ^ Pleco Chinese Dictionary on the App Store. Accessed 26 July 2021.
  11. ^ Pleco Chinese Dictionary on Google Play. Accessed 26 July 2021.
  12. ^ Kate Murphy, "Opinion: Fuchsia Dunlop", The New York Times, 1 June 2013.
  13. ^ Lucas Peterson, "How to Travel to (and Around) China, From VPNs to T.P.", The New York Times, 30 January 2018.