On the Limitations of Online Translation Tools

Left: Han Han might well be a literary genius, but you will never know by relying on virtual translation tools

I came across a news article on Han Han, a rally driver who is also China's most popular blogger, and I decided to visit Han Han's website, which has the title Two Cold So Warm. At least I think this is the title of the blog, as I do not read the Mandarin script and I am trusting online translation tools.

Which is to say I may not have a clue as to the real title of Han Han's blog.

The translation tool provided by Google also offered up the following results of recent blog post titles Han Han created:

* "Pat the soil body" - a film critique with the following translated section that reflects the post title, but which leaves me even more perplexed: "I guess the birth of this movie is because the mountain of the media found a Zhang Yimou Zhao Benshan, the two pat the soil body, sitting on the kang, said Yimou, a film shot us in chanting, you see, they are so popular small Shenyang You also have a box office with his assurance that I could go down to the arts actor here, the direction of the whole a whole."

* "Give him something to eat pickles" - a post calling for reform of a body translated by Google as the "National Standards Board."

* "City, let the people die early" - an article that described an accident between a cement mixer and the driver of a scooter, and ostensibly one that faults the city of Shanghai for poor traffic management.

Thus, I leave Han Han's blog only slightly more knowledgeable about contemporary China than I had been before visiting the site, though the blog contains ads for products as diverse as acne scar removal cream. I suppose that I would need to learn Mandarin to really understand Han Han's website and to glean some insights into why this 27-year-old multimedia phenomenon is so popular, although an outsider trying to do the same for, say, Paris Hilton might still be perplexed about the popularity of this talentless heiress after mastering English.