Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wednesday search challenge (10/16/13): What does this character mean?

For some readers, this is too trivial a challenge to spend more than 1 second on.... but for the rest of us... this is a real challenge. 

Here's the challenge.  

While out and about in the world, I found this Chinese character posted all by itself.  

Not reading Chinese, I was naturally curious.  What does it mean?  

Today's search challenge is obviously trivial (if you read Chinese), but illustrates a really interesting search challenge if you don't.  

1.  What does this Chinese character mean? 

Perhaps most importantly--be sure to tell us HOW you found this one out.  I used a rather clever trick that I just learned about a few days ago, although it's been around for some time.  I hope you'll discover it as well.  

Because once you figure out the method for figuring out the above character, you'll also be able to tell me what this character means: 

2.  What does this <unknown language> character mean?   

Have fun! 

Search on.  


  1. The first one means East.

    I searched for 'chinese character translation' and found

    I counted 8 strokes in the character so I searched by number of characters and scanned the results for a match.

  2. Good day, Dr. Russell, fellow


    I know that Google translate allows us to use handwriting. Just never tried before.

    [Handwriting Google translate]
    Found Google Can Translate Your Handwritten Characters

    1. Go to Google Translate

    2. Select Language. In the first case Dr. Russell told us is Chinese. Selected input tool: Handwriting. In the writing box I drew with the mouse the symbol and translate.

    I tried with the second character and haven´t found the answer


    1. What does this Chinese character mean?
    A. Bundle

  3. I thought I might have it since you recently visited a mutual
    acquaintance up in Maine, Richard Byrne. I remember him posting
    something about using image search to find the meaning of characters on something. I went to his blog Free Technology for Teachers and then in omnibox I just put site: at the beginning of the address.
    Searched [ image search ] and found the post I remembered

    He had also included a video from YOU about image search. I was hoping, just by chance, you two had used the same characters, but no. His search results were for "long life" and didn't match yours.

    Image search on your first character. Not sure how to notate this but here goes [ {your.png} chinese ] no

    [ {your.png} korean ] nothing

    [ {your.png} japanese ] Got it. On the SERP under Pages that include matching images is a page to Joyo kanji by readings T - Z on the top row is your character and it is clickable. Clicking it takes me to taba with meanings "to tie up, to bundle".

    WAIT! You said it was a "Chinese character" and I found it under Japanese? I head over to Google Translate and set it for English to Chinese and try [ tie up ] and fail. Try to translate [ bundle ] and get my confirmation.

    First character means bundle

    Second image with the mystery language. I image search with that and try the strategy from above and just keep seeing icons from the Google Play store for apps by Betty Chu. One app, Shiritori Games is the one that uses the icon and yes, that character is in the icon clearly. The game is played in Korean so go down that path. Search [ shiritori ] The Wikipedia page for shiritori says "Shiritori (しりとり) is a Japanese word game in which the players are required to say a word which begins with the final kana of the previous word." So now I'm lost. The icon I found with your character is for a game originally from Japan but played in Korean.

    Stop. Regroup. Inspiration hits me. My first results came from a site teaching other people a language. What are common tools to teach other people languages? Flashcards
    Image search [ {your2.png} flashcards ] and I can't find it. [ {your2.png} flashcards korean] nothing. I leave your image and just do a plain image search for [ flashcard korean ] and no go. Most flashcards are in black and white. Use search tools to limit my image search to black and white images and find a table that is mostly black and white with E character on it. It takes me to a page Learn to read and pronounce Korean Hangul in 2 days . On the third image on that page I find your second image with "kkeut" under it.

    Search [ kkeut ] and in the SERP snippet for a Youtube video I see "End (끝) kkeut ". Back to Google Translate for English to Korean on the word [ end ] I also make a connection to the icon for the Shitori game "say a word which begins with the final kana of the previous word."

    Your second character is in Korean and means end

    1. Fred you took the long way and did a great SearchResearch, congratulations.

      I didn't know about flashcards so I learn a lot with your post. Not just for this but for how you solved. Thanks

    2. Fred - you showed there is more than one way to skin a �� , but you got it in the 끝 (the only misstep was leaving the Goo sandbox, at least that's what the cat said.)
      congrats ꃔ

    3. was experimenting - the missing �� cat…
      this wasn't specifically helpful, but thought it was interesting -
      helpful blog entries:
      input tools|cloud

    4. remmij - Thanks for the input tools link. I now know how I can use a spanish keyboard on my Chromebook. I am studying spanish and this tip will save me a lot of time and I don't have to memorize keyboard shortcuts. Great tool. Nice when you can put something learned here in to practice right away.

    5. Thanks all. I did try my iPhone first with the Google Mobile Search app and Google Goggles. I've used it before to translate signs that were in a foreign language but it found nothing with those characters. Tried the Google Translate app with Detect Language selected and couldn't get the darn scribble tool (handwriting) to activate so gave up.

      Learned from the comments here that you must have a language selected.

      Thanks again.

    6. que son muy bienvenidos, Rosamaría
      fwiw: spent some additional time on the Symbols site and found it increasing interesting -
      the word index & the hyper-linking of the symbols made exploration very engrossing. (all 54 pages [last symbol])
      the notion of alternate/hybrid languages and how they are developed and communicated
      goes to the entire concept of interface models - curiously, I'm tempted to buy the book because
      I want the physical interaction… was also surprised that the gestural/drawing interface felt a bit
      foreign/awkward, but was intrigued by the physical engagement and even learned a bit about Kanji
      character stroke sequence with the search question.

      "Bundle/n/v/束/捆" on!

      Symbols word index

  4. very cool! found the google translate handwriting feature. took about 2 minutes. had to search around a bit to find out that it also worked for japanese and korean. maybe 5 minutes total.

    chinese character is for "bundle"
    korean character is "end"

  5. SEARCH [tool to identify chinese letters] and find
    So I just drew with my mouse cursor and up popped SHU which is pronounced similarlyr to English SHOE but means 'bunch' cluster'. I see it also has the same meaning kin Japanese kanji
    10 minutes to for the next item


  6. What a fun challenge. My first thought was "I bet there's an app". I wasn't sure about Google Translate but I read the article (see link). I used Google Translate after finding this article that confirmed it could perform the function
    First I saved the chinese word by saving as image. Then through my smart phone uploaded it within Google Translate from phone to tablet. Chose Chinese to English =
    束 = bundle Noun- bundle, bunch, sheaf Verb - tie, bind, restrain, girdle
    Next I saved the unknown character in Google Translate & used 'Detect Language'. I couldn't use the camera function so I decided to try "non-alphabet character" languages and quickly found that this translated from Korean
    끝 = end Noun- end, tip, finish,edge,tail,cusp
    Quick and easy but great fun.

    1. Rosemary how you did the image in Google Translate? Did you use the app or the normal translate?

      I tried what you did in desktop for the second character and it didn't work so I will try it again.

      In the app, I just have mic or handwriting, no image. Then, probably you did it in a different way.

      I'd love to hear more about what you did. Your way works quick and easy as you say

    2. Hi Ramón
      I used the Android app-Google Translate.
      Notice the camera icon on the bottom.
      First I saved the image & then uploaded it to Google Drive.
      I opened the image in Google Drive on my smart phone.
      Using Google Translate App click 'camera icon' to capture the character displayed on my smart phone. You could redraw it as well.
      To solve the second character the camera icon is not available in Google Translate with "detect language" so I just tried possible languages which took just a few tries.
      I still think Google Drive/Documents should work. Chinese characters may not work.

    3. Thanks RoseMary!

      I believe you need a rear camera in the tablet to do the Research like you did. I tried and my N7 doesn´t show the camera. Still, glad to know how to do it. Thanks!

      I was looking for more information about your topic "upload it to Google Drive and through Google Documents convert it to a text file". Found the link that you mentioned in your post About Optical Character Recognition in Google Drivet

      I tried adding text to the character and then translate it in Google Drive web version. Opened the image, make it bigger and add text. The program translated the text I added but not the symbol. My question is this is how it works or I did something wrong?

      Maybe You, Dr. Russell or other peer can share an example of how this works?

  7. Second Idea - I know that you can take an image, upload it to Google Drive and through Google Documents convert it to a text file.I have the impression that if we can convert these two images into text, we can also convert them to English as well. But so far I haven't been successful. I tried using Google Pro Translate. I will give it another attempt. If successful I will post my results.

  8. 1) "Liar" is the first one.

    I looked for "chinese image recognition" and I found this page so I drew the image and it gave me a copyable character to put into google translate box.

    2) Korean - "End".

    I image searched the character and I found a lot of korean websites so I assumed it was korean. Then, while searching "korean
    online recognition" and "google translate korean characters" i realized i could draw in Google Translate. So that was a true miracle.

    (Sorry if I did some mistakes while writing)

  9. Used TRANSLATE on desktop after seeing this mentioned here by others. I found on the second try that my squiggly efforts on the Korean character returned a perfect result. Done in seconds. Never knew this feature was here. Have only used it for European languages before this morning.

    Nifty !


  10. Not fun this time, I am just able to read it.

    first is Chinese character. Every Chinese character have multiple meaning.
    It could just mean bundle as a noun or put together as a verb.
    second is Korean. Most Korean words doesn't have any meaning if not reflected in Chinese word base or context. This word could mean end.