There’s been a lot of buzz in the tech community over Google’s Tuesday announcement that they are just totally fed up with the Chinese government’s utter contempt for human rights and for playing nice on the Internet, and that as a consequence they are going to remove either the censorship filters from Google.cn, or Google.cn from China.
I don’t entirely grasp Google’s strategy here, but if a plucky technology company that I admire wants to goad an autocratic government, I’m naturally inclined to sympathize with them.
So, while it is still around, I figured I’d translate Google.cn‘s “I’m Feeling Lucky” button: 手气不错
手 shuo3 is a pictograph for “hand”
气 qi4 is a pictograph for curling clouds, meaning “air”
不 bu4 is a pictograph of a bird rising to heaven, which once meant “to soar” but today means “not”
错 cuo4 etymologically combines “metal” and “dried meat” for the archaic meaning “gilt” which nowadays means “mistake”
But don’t get hung up on hand-air-not-mistake as the characters combine to form two words:
手气 means luck
不错 means “not bad” as in “pretty good”
So, 手气不错 translates for me as “luck not bad” and that is what I hope for both Google (谷歌) and the 中国人.