Google is Drifting

Written by Julen Madariaga on December 12th, 2008

It is Friday. It’s a beautiful, beautiful day. I’m in an excellent mood this morning, pondering the unexpected turns of Fate and Fortune.

I mean, take the weather in Shanghai, for example. Did you ever imagine we would see these long weeks of clean blue skies? You lose faith in things and then they happen, and it makes you dream. If this is possible, then everything else must be: World Peace, End of Poverty, China winning the soccer World Cup.

On Fridays like this my mind drifts on the world wide web and I end up reading funny bits of information, like this delicious “boat drifting skills” I found over at the Engrish website. I saw it and laughed for a bit, and then I read the comments and I thought I might do something useful for the community.

So I went on Google Translator and I asked it to translate the drifting instructions into English. This is the disappointing message I got:

What! No translation English-English? What kind of service is this? And who said that it was English in the first place?  If there is someone at Google reading this now (other than my friends the bots) please raise the issue immediately to your management:

“You are missing out on the largest market in the World. Develop Chinglish translator ASAP!”

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Comments so far ↓

  1. Dec

    haha, good one uln :)
    the worst is when we laowai start to speak Chinglish … ‘uln, hi! today people mountain people sea!!’

    [Reply to this comment]

  2. Dec
    Kris Saboe

    Hi ULN!

    Long time no see. I actually just quit working for Google some months ago, but I have forwarded your blog post to some ex colleagues of mine… Won’t promise anything in the way of actually solving this though, but it might make for a few laughs :-)

    [Reply to this comment]

  3. Dec

    Wow, Kris what a surprise, thanks for the comment!

    So I do get someone from Google reading my message after all, cool! Please keep me updated, this will be a breakthrough in the field of automated translators.

    [Reply to this comment]

  4. Dec


    yeah, there are a few good examples of “Reverse Chinglish”, where laowais make embarrasing mistakes. Check this hilarious one here. Some Chinese should definitely open a Website for Reverse Chinglish too.

    And check out the Spanish “Colombianadas” I posted last week on this blog, quite spectacular too.

    [Reply to this comment]

  5. Dec
    Swiss James

    I used to say that “People mountain people sea” thing all of the time, and still don’t understand why it wasn’t cool and people begged me to stop :-(

    Anyway, great idea!

    [Reply to this comment]

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