One of the biggest fears that an expatriate must deal with in China is the pervasiveness of Chinese on the web. How many times have you glossed over a sea of Chinese words on a webpage, and only recognized 2 of the 1000 characters in front of you?
Translate Chinese websites into English, for free!
One of the biggest fears that an expatriate must deal with in China is the pervasiveness of Chinese on the web. How many times have you glossed over a sea of Chinese words on a webpage, and only recognized 2 of the 1000 characters in front of you? And, with all the Yuan spent on Chinese lessons, it is still a daunting task to actually sit down and begin reading all of these words.
One of my favorite tools for deciphering any Chinese at all is on my favorite website: Google!
Go to the main page for Google, and click on Language Tools, as followsOn the next screen, you have two options. You can cut and paste the Chinese text into the “Translate text” box, or you can enter the URL of a webpage into the “Translate a web page” box. After clicking on the Translate button, all the Chinese is automatically transformed into English text!
For a more straightforward way to do this, you can also setup Google Toolbar on your favorite browser. The toolbar installs when you click on this linkhttp://www.google.com/intl/en/toolbar/ie/index.html#tbbrand=. Now, when you open up a Chinese website, don’t forget to click on the Translate button:
The translated page then looks like this:
Granted, there are a few things to note with this process:
1. The translation isn’t perfect. Because Google does a literal translation of every Chinese character back into English, what you get is not going to be good grammar.
2. What is neat is that all of the webpage, including the URLs, are translated. So, you can use this facility to surf any Chinese webpage, in the original English. When you move your mouse over the translated English, it automatically shows the original Chinese, so you can see what the actual Chinese characters were.
Please try it out to see if it can help you decipher Chinese characters that you do not recognize!