Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Googling in Chinese

I am hopelessly addicted to googling in different languages. Take Chinese for example. If I am just doing it for my own entertainment then I generally google images. This is how it works. I go to a Multilingual Picture Dictionary at and look up the picture and spelling of the item I wish to google. I like to listen to the word also - might as well make it a multisensory experience.

Then I go to google and, using the Pinyin Chinese IME I type the Pinyin spelling of the word into the dialogue box and choose the right syllables out of a list of homophones. (Always checking back to the online dictionary since I don't know Chinese) One of the great fascinations of Pinyin input is how it has evolved so quickly over the last few years. It's smooth and satisfying.

I often wonder why we can't have something like that for English. Why doesn't somebody bundle a homophone checker into an English operating system? I am also still hunting for a phonetic spellchecker that can handle the fact that "what" is best input as "wut". I might believe in the alphabet again when English keyboarding works half as well as Chinese. Until then ...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

With Google, you don't always have to go through the hassle of inputting Chinese characters. (I would argue that they're indeed a hassle compared to the alphabet's world of touch-typing and grammar checks. The real comparison isn't between Chinese characters and English spelling but between Chinese characters and Hanyu Pinyin, which is about as simple as it gets for spelling systems.)

Anyway, back to the main subject: Go to the mainland edition of Google (not the regular Google) and input the pinyin for your search, using word parsing but no tone numbers or tone marks. The results will come back with a question of whether you meant XXXXX or YYYYY (in Chinese characters).

For example, do a search for "hanyu pinyin". The top line of the results will state "���Dz���Ҫ��: ����ƴ��". Then just click on the link for the characters.

2:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm. The encoding didn't work for some reason. Let me try again:

您是不是要找: 汉语拼音

2:46 AM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Thanks. I like to try both characters as wel as Pinyin because I someitmes work with people who don't know Pinyin.

9:49 AM  
Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

And as you can see I make too many typos to google in an alphabet :)

Yes trying out different scripts and seeing when they do and don't work in blogger is all part of the exercise - I had a lot of trouble with Vietnamese for example. That is part of what this blog is about - trying things out.

3:36 PM  

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