I really like Google Reader; one of its great features is its recommendations. As long as you choose to “like” articles and media on a fairly consistent basis, Reader can do a very good job of finding new content and sources (provided, that is, they come from a Feedburner RSS feed).
Because Google expected me to have at least a modicum of Internet savvy — perhaps from the nature of the things I “like” and share — Reader occasionally sends along to me tweets written in Chinese.
Google Reader suggests a tweet, but it's all Chinese to me. Note the "not interested" tick is checked. That's because I failed to RTFM.
According to Google Translate, the tweet above reads:
RT @ aiww: Ha, yes. RT @ luanmazi: Republic of the “unsung heroes” bei RT @ june197433: “China’s Internet status” throughout the White Paper did not mention GFW, Fang Bin-Xing Academy of Engineering uncomfortable it? Http://aa.cx/r85 @ aiww
That’s clear enough: China doesn’t mention, in its recent statement on the Internet, the school where China’s infamous firewall was developed.
As the “not interested” tick indicates, previously I had been marking these Chinese tweets to disappear, but I’ve been getting 2-3 per week, despite my attempt to indicate I can’t read Chinese. It’s time-consuming to copy and paste these tweets into Translate; I already waste enough time on Reader, Twitter and Facebook.
Which sent me on a quest to find a way to translate Reader posts inline.
Being a typical programmer, my initial thought was a $10 solution to a 50-cent problem: I could use the Reader and Translate APIs to do on-the-fly translations. That, however, was quickly dismissed as a gross impracticality.
I could find, or write, a Greasemonkey script to do the translation. I did find a Greasemonkey script that translates tweets on the Twitter Web page itself. I installed that and it works great, from a technical standpoint; but the Engrish it generates is, shall we say, rough.
A Twitter translation by Google, from Japanese to English: Wait, what?
So I was resigned to having to live with a choice between no translation or bad translations. Until I decided to STFW one more time, and found the solution: Google has already handled translation for me. As in, translation is just a button click away.
Oh, you mean I should click *that* button. Why didn't you say so?
Proving, once again, it’s important to read the manual.
All links in this post on delicious: http://delicious.com/dougvdotcom/its-all-chinese-to-me-reader-has-google-translate-built-in