Chinese Aide isn't just a dictionary: it's a real-time speech comprehension tool, designed by and for beginning and intermediate students of Mandarin Chinese. Its author found existing dictionary tools inadequate for real-time translation due to the need to manipulate longer phrases and the difficulty distinguishing tones in natural Mandarin speech. Chinese Aide is a tool for dealing with these shortcomings, making on-the-fly Mandarin-to-English translation faster and more practical.
Enter the pinyin for a phrase that you hear (tone numbers are optional), and even if the phrase as a whole is not in the dictionary, Chinese Aide attempts to provide a framework to construct the correct phrase and translation from any parts of the phrase that are in the dictionary. It then lets you test the phrase against real-world data by feeding it automatically to various search engines.
For convenience, you can also enter English or Chinese character searches, in which case the app behaves like a standard dictionary. For any type of search, you can toggle between exact matching and substring matching as appropriate.
Chinese Aide by Greg Pape on the App Store (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, iPad Mini, iOS, iPad Air)