how to search for English pages with Chinese characters?
July 17, 2007 10:27 PM   Subscribe

Any way to search for English web pages that contain specific Chinese characters? For example in Google when I set my preference to English pages only and then search for Huamei with the characters 话梅, I get mostly all Chinese pages.

I would just like to see pages that are mostly English but know enough about 'hua mei' to include the Chinese characters. Google does not think the results it gives are English because it offers to translate the pages.

I've tried adding (ume OR plum OR prune OR apricot) to the search but this still gives mostly all Chinese pages and seems to miss some generated by the simple search.

Google help does not seem to address this.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I solve the sea-of-gloop problem by going to and clicking the only-Japanese button. But that's not going to help you much I guess.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:38 PM on July 17, 2007

A very simple solution is to add some very frequent English words to the query
posted by snownoid at 10:43 PM on July 17, 2007

umm, shownoid, your improved search only returns 17 references most of which are either irrelevant or ones that I have already referenced.


If you do your approach correctly with: 话梅 (ume OR plum OR prune OR apricot OR ume OR "the" OR "a" OR "and" OR "to" OR "in") then you wind up with about 6,380 hits which are still mainly Chinese and all mostly irrelevant.

My complaint is that Google says it will return only English page results and then returns mainly Chinese results. Google seems to have cut themselves off from the internet such that there is no direct way to complain to them other than to become prominent on one of their discussion boards.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 11:38 PM on July 17, 2007

What about specifying an IP range in your search string (I don't know how to do this) that excludes China, Taiwan and Japan?
posted by KokuRyu at 12:16 AM on July 18, 2007

Weird, I get 96 results for my query and 166 when I add your other original "or" terms.
But anyway, I didn't forgot to add the "or"s, if you or the frequent English words, they won't work as a filter for the all Chinese pages. You want a subset of the results of your original query, not a superset.
posted by snownoid at 12:33 AM on July 18, 2007

How about adding an "exclude" list of common chinese symbols? So not only do you require some English words, but you reject any page which includes any of a list of ten or so Chinese characters which nearly all Chinese pages will include.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:34 AM on July 18, 2007

I do something similar to snownoid when I'm googling in the hopes that someone has already translated some weird word or phrase, but I tend to go for more focussed keywords, which seems to deliver slightly better quality results.
If I have a best guess I include that but it often takes a few rinses and repeats before I get close to something relevant and I'm not aware of any real tricks. A recent example was a bit of a nightmare mining survey report I translated which was full of rock-names and geophysics, most of which I'm only dimly aware of in English let alone Chinese. So you'd stick 凝灰质砂岩 ("tuffaceous sandstone") in with words like "rock," "geology," "sedimentary" and so on. This can be a bit laborious but I've yet to come up with better.
posted by Abiezer at 1:17 AM on July 18, 2007

Yes, Abiezer has a good technique. With some practice it become easier. I just googled [[话梅 delicious fruit eat]] and got some good leads (though I'm not sure what you're looking for exactly).
posted by mateuslee at 2:07 AM on July 18, 2007

Try search string [话梅 snack preserved plum].
posted by of strange foe at 10:21 AM on July 18, 2007

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