As a way to further my understanding of people and events in China, I've gotten an account on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. Weibo means "micro blog." My friend Tang Xiaofeng, also called Denver, a graduate student in Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer, is helping me get started.
My first Weibo message (above) announced, "Hello to my friends in China. I will be micro-blogging occasionally."
Denver saw it and sent me this message: "Congratulations on your first Weibo entry. However, the Google translation means, "I will use Weibo accidentally."
I love it! In my previous attempts to translate to Chinese into English using Google Translate the results read rather like 1950s beatnik poetry -- lots of wild and weird
images thrown together in ways that make some, but not too much, sense.
This has a wonderful echo because one source of liberation
for me as a teenager in small town California was -- along with rock and roll, jazz and my discovery of "the great books"-- was beatnik poetry, Ferlinghetti's "Coney Island of the Mind," for example.
So I'll be perfectly happy if the mistranslations of my Weibo tweets have that quality -- writing accidentally!