A Movie Date with Waygo

Waygo recently caught a flick at the U.S.’s oldest continuously run theater, the Roxie. Opened in San Francisco in 1909 and still running, the Roxie “exists to showcase the best/coolest/raddest/true-ist/funniest/trippiest/fake-ist movies of the past, present and future!”RoxieTheaterThe movie? As a language enthusiast, it only makes sense that Waygo chose a language-centric film, Tongues of Heaven. Filmmaker Anita Chang was in person at the theater to introduce the film and run a Q & A session afterwards. Here’s the summary: “Set in Taiwan and Hawai‘i, territories where languages of the Austronesian family are spoken, this experimental documentary focuses on the questions, desires and challenges of young indigenous peoples to learn the languages of their forebears— languages that are endangered or facing extinction.”

The movie opens with a shocking statistic:Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 10.00.26 PM

Although it’s apparent that more and more people learn to speak the same second languages, it was still surprising to learn how many languages are disappearing. The film certainly got our wheels turning—Why is it so important to speak your mother tongue in this very global world that we now live in? What does a culture lose when it loses its native language? What are the downsides of  language homogenization? Although we don’t have all the answers, we believe language preservation is important, and that with the disappearance of language, thousands of cultures and traditions will be lost as well (not to mention that Waygo will be out of a job if the world only spoke one language!)

As the film was funded in part by National Geographic, Waygo was curious to learn more about National Geographic’s involvement with language preservation. After some Googling, Waygo discovered National Geographic’s “Enduring Voices” a project aimed to document endangered languages and prevent language extinction. Enduring Voices is just one of many movements around the globe to preserve these languages, so we encourage you to do some research if this topic is interesting to you!

Cheers to the world’s unique and unheard of languages, and may the world fight so they are spoken in the future,

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 7.52.39 PM

 

 

 

P.S. We cannot write a blog post about the movies without mentioning our 500 Startups batchmate, Dealflicks. Haven’t heard of them? Check them out and save big on your next movie date!

Chinatown, Hawaiian Style

If you find yourself on Hawaii’s Oahu island and you’re in need of a China fix, head Downtown to Honolulu’s Chinatown, one of the oldest Chinatowns in the world.

IMG_0119

IMG_0128 IMG_0125

Honolulu’s Chinatown dates back to the 19th century when Chinese laborers immigrated to Hawaii to work on sugar plantations. After their contracts expired, many of these workers became merchants and moved to the area that makes up Chinatown.

Honolulu: 檀香山 (tánxiāngshān): Honolulu, or literally, Sandalwood Mountain

The Great Fire of 1900
If you venture to Chinatown you’ll notice it looks differently than other parts of Downtown Honolulu not just because of the apparent Chinese characters, but it’s unique architecture. Well here’s the story—In January 1900, fires set to burn buildings infected by the bubonic plague burned out of control, igniting the Great Honolulu Chinatown Fire, ultimately scorching 38 acres and displacing thousands of residents. Schools closed and 7,000 residents were quarantined to prevent the possibility of the plague spreading. When the area was rebuilt, masonry was chosen over wood since the stone and brick buildings proved more resistant during the fire.

After WWII, Chinatown fell into disrepair and became a red-light district. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, revitalization plans were made for the area and new businesses like Hawaii National Bank were founded, old buildings were restored, and new scenes such as the Arts District emerged.

Sun Yat-Sen and Chinatown
Did you know Sun Yat-Sen moved to Honolulu for secondary school? In fact, Chinatown played a pivotal role and served as an operational base against the Qing Dynasty leading up to the Revolution of 1911. In November 2007, Chinatown’s Gateway Park was renamed to honor Sun Yat-Sen.

Chinatown Today: Home to Honolulu’s Hottest Nightlife and Renown Arts District
Produce markets, bakeries, Chinese home-wares, tea shops, and street peddlers bring the familiar bustle and sights to any Chinatown. In Honolulu’s Chinatown you’ll find not only Chinese influences, but a range or Pan-Asian and Pacific Islander businesses, along with business of ethnic Chinese from Vietnam.

IMG_0140 IMG_0139

IMG_0132

All Chinatown businesses also advertise in Chinese.

On the eastern edge of Chinatown, you’ll find Honolulu’s Art District, spanning just over 12 blocks and comprised of over 25 arts-related businesses, two theaters, two performance art venues, and an alternative movie theater.

Chinatown is also home to Honolulu’s hottest night scene, beating out the competition of more laid back bars and tiki themed cocktail lounges you’ll find in other parts of Honolulu. Dozens of clubs, bars, and restaurants draw locals from all parts of the island every night of the week, but especially during it’s famed monthly First Fridays

 

 

Have you read about the other Chinatowns Waygo has visited? If not, check out Waygo’s trip to Dublin, Milan, and San Francisco.

 

Happy travels to Honolulu and beyond!

Japan: Home to the World’s Most Expensive Fruit

If you are an avid fruit eater like myself, you better make a fruit budget during your time in Japan. Japan is home to some of the most expensive fruit in the world. To maintain a daily intake of 3-5 fruit servings per day, expect to pay about $10-$15 a day. Japanese convenience stores which are known as “konbini” typically sell apples for $2-3 a piece. Buying fruits in bulk at markets and grocery stores does not make the habit that much cheaper—plus, it’s difficult to buy fruit in bulk when you are traveling, as you probably don’t want to lug the fruit around or might not have a place to stash it.

expensive apples in japan

Hungry for an apple? You better be prepared to shell over $10 for this variety.

expensive watermelon

$65 for a watermelon? In Japan, yes!

 

 

 

 

 

expensive grapes

At $22 a pack, these individual grapes cost more than $1 a piece!

japanese grapes

$47 for this small pack of grapes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apart from the everyday fruit sold at konbini and grocery stores intended for personal consumption, Japan is home to a huge luxury fruit industry. You can spend literally hundreds of dollars on a watermelon or thousands of dollars on grapes. Definitely worth a visit, Sembikiya Fruit Store is unlike any grocery store you’ve visited, more resembling a jewelry shop than a grocery store, with prices to match. What sets these fruits a part from ordinary fruits? They are grown with extreme care and precision. For example, cantaloupe are grown in perfectly weathered greenhouses and individually outfitted with hats to prevent sun burn, or plants that only grow a single fruit (farmers prune the less desirable fruit early on), so that the single fruit receives the entire plant’s sweetness.

watermelon gifts

These watermelons will set you back more than $25!

You’ll not only find expensive regular looking fruit, but engineered fruit like nothing you’d find in the wild, such as square shaped watermelons.

square-watermelons-1

Huh? Unlike traditional watermelons, this special variety is ideal for stacking!

Just like in China, gifting friends fruit is common practice. Gifts are presented not only on special occasions, but to show appreciation and build relationships. When invited as a guest into a home for a meal or a visit, never show up empty-handed. While you don’t have to necessarily spend hundreds of dollars on Ruby Roman grapes or heart-shaped watermelons, there are other options for less than $20.

apple ringo

 

Although expensive, Waygo recommends you don’t skip out on consuming fruit while traveling in Japan. Remember what the doctor says, an apple a day keeps the doctor away!

Waygo takes a Bath (and a Lesson on Japanese Bathing Culture)

While in Tokyo, Waygo had the opportunity to soak up some Japanese culture at an onsen. Onsen (温泉), or “hot springs,” can also refer more generally to spas and bathing facilities and are huge drivers for tourism in Japan.

Waygo visited Ooedo-Onsen-Monogatari located in Odaiba (お台場), a large artificial island area in the Tokyo Bay. To get to Odaiba, you can drive across the Rainbow Bridge, take public transit, or ferry. Waygo took the Yurikamome monorail—we recommend going after nightfall for an unforgettable view of Tokyo and Tokyo Bay alit with beautiful colors. Another benefit of visiting Ooedo-Onsen-Monogatari at night besides the beautiful nighttime lights? A cheaper admission by ¥500 after 6pm

rainbow-bridge

Ooedo-Onsen-Monogatari is unique because while it is traditional in many ways, it has been set up like a theme park, including food stalls and other fun activities for the whole family. There are both indoor baths fed by natural hot springs pumped from 1,400 meters underground, as well as outdoor baths including a foot bath set in a large Japanese-style garden. Indoors, a traditional street from the Edo days has been recreated to give an idea to visitors what Tokyo looked like hundreds of years ago.

5388668985_28d6d611b6_z

Visitors to Ooedo-Onsen-Monogatari wear yukata while they eat and shop.

Nudity & Tattoos
Just because it’s set up like a theme park does not mean visitors adorn their bathing suits. Like all onsen, bathers at Ooedo-Onsen-Monogatari wear their birthday suits. When walking around the non-bathing areas, you adorn a traditional wrap known as a yukata. Traditionally men and women bathed together, but today it is more typical for men and women to bath separately. Nudity is not a big deal whatsoever, no one stares or tries to cover their own body, it feels completely normal.

Nudity means you can no longer hide that tattoo you’ve been hiding from your parents for the last few years. In fact, most onsen forbid tattoos, as tattoos have long been associated in Japan with criminals and organized crime. So if you have a tattoo, make sure to check beforehand if tattoos are permitted, but chances are that you’ll have to save public bathing for outside of Japan.

indoor onsen

Indoor baths.

Top_30_Customs_in_Japan_onsen

Outdoor baths at a Japanese onsen.

Health benefits
Balneotherapy, the use of bathing for medical treatment, is widely practiced in Japan. The chemistry, temperature, and pressure of thermal baths have curative properties used to treat skin conditions, reduce inflammation and pain in arthritis, and boost the immune system. Japanese onsen must be at least 25°C, though some get as hot as 100°C!! Although generally considered an “alternative medicine,” balneotherapy’s benefits have been demonstrated and accepted in medical studies.

Onsen Etiquette
The onsen is a place for everyone to relax without worries or barriers, so make sure you don’t do anything that would make another guest uncomfortable. Just like any new cultural experience, keep your eyes open (without staring!) to pick up on normal social cues so you know what to do and how to do it.

1. Remove your shoes upon entry to the onsen.

2. Leave the large towel in the locker room, but feel free to take the small one into the bathing rooms, but don’t actually bring it into the water. Most bathers place towel on head when in bath.

3. Shower before entering the onsen.

4. Don’t wash and scrub yourself in the bath.

5. Tie up your hair so that it does not touch the water.

6. Don’t take up too much space in the bath.

7. Rinse off any sweat from the sauna before entering.

8. Try to keep your eyes and hands off other people.

9. Dry off thoroughly before entering the changing room.

10. Don’t treat the onsen like a pool: no jumping in, no dunking your head under the water, and no swimming. And although onsen are not pools, the universal pool rule of no running still applies!

japan-onsen6

With these rules in mind, now you’re ready to enjoy the Japanese onsen. Make sure to add “visiting an onsen” to your must-do list while in Japan. It’s truly an unforgettable (and relaxing!) experience you’ll want to tell all your friends back home about.

Tips for Tokyo’s Tricky Trains

Tokyo transportation can be intimidating—I mean, have you seen the map?!

TokyoSubwayMap

Navigating a foreign country (or even a new city within your home country) can be overwhelming. With its massive size and so many uniquely Tokyo characteristics, Tokyo can be especially overwhelming. Our hope in today’s blog post is to make at least one thing—the train and subway system—a bit easier for you to navigate.

Tokyo has one of the most extensive mass transit systems in the world. Although clean, safe, and efficient, it is also quite confusing—about a dozen different companies operate train, subway, bus, and ferry lines around Tokyo. If you’d like to keep things simple, the train lines operated by JR East and the two subway lines are more than enough for navigating central Tokyo. Fun Fact: 40 million passengers use Tokyo’s rail system daily, a combination of subways and trains, and you have 503 (at last count!) stations to suit your needs.

Train vs. Subway
The JR East is Tokyo’s most extensive railway network. Its Yamanote Line (山手線) is its star player and runs a complete circle around the core of Tokyo. Many of Tokyo’s main hubs and points of interest can be reached through the Yamanote Line or within one transfer.

In addition to trains, an extensive subway network runs through underground Tokyo, operated by two companies: Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway. The two are inter-linked, so you will not have an issue transferring between them. Note: While the JR Yamanote Line is not a subway line, due to its importance as a major transportation artery in downtown Tokyo, it is usually featured on subway maps. Transferring between the JR Yamanote and the subway lines is simple and can be done at many stations—just follow the signs!

Fun fact: Tokyo is home to the busiest subway station in the world, Shinjuku Station. Although an average of 3.5 million people use the station each day, you would never guess it because it is so incredibly quiet. Anytime you’re riding a subway or train take a second to notice how quiet it it is. Check our Facebook page to watch a video we shot in the Shinjuku Station on a weekday morning.

Getting from Narita Airport to Tokyo
You have a few options. If you’re flying in from abroad, you’ll most likely be arriving at Narita Airport which means 45 miles still stand between you and central Tokyo. Don’t even consider a taxi—it will easily cost you a couple hundred hours and take over 90 minutes. Now you have to decided between bus or train. Although slightly more expensive than a train, a limousine bus (about ¥3,000) might be simpler as you don’t have to traverse stairs and escalators with your luggage. The bus picks up outside arrival lobbies and shuttles downtown to major hotels and stations. However, the quickest and cheapest option would be a train. You’ve got the Narita Express, about a 45-minute journey and  ¥1,500 (note: from Tokyo to Narita Airport, the fare jumps up to  ¥3,000), or the Keisei Narita Sky Access, about an hour journey and ¥1,300. Regardless of what you choose, all options are above ground, offering views of life outside of Tokyo.

Buying a Ticket
Once again, you have some options. You can buy a standard ticket, rail pass, or day pass. We suggest purchasing an Integrated Circuit Card (IC Card)—either a Suica or Pasmo card, which can be purchased at any station.

PasmoSuica1 IMG_4807

 

 

An IC Card might as well as stand as “Incredibly Convenient.” It’s a rechargeable card that you can use for any type of public transportation in Tokyo, and throughout greater Japan. They can also be used at vending machines and convenience stores. All you have to do is lightly place your IC card on top of the reader on top of the ticket gates and (providing you have enough credit) you will be let through. If the price of your journey turned out to be more than the credit left on your card, you can use the fare adjustment machine located next to the ticket gates to re-charge your card.

IMG_4675

Google Maps directions works great in Tokyo!

Schedule: 
Tokyo transportation is incredibly timely (which could also be said about Japanese people—there’s no such thing as “running late.”) You can expect any schedule posted online or at a station to be accurate. Trains and subways run super frequently, and the most time you’ll ever wait for one in central Tokyo is 3-6 minutes. Warning: Trains and subways do not operate 24/7—depending on the line and the station, the last train happens at or just after midnight. Oh and forget the earlier statement that transportation is quiet—the later in the evening, the rowdier the train and stations.

While there are some smart phone apps like Tokyo Transport Map to help you plan navigation through the transportation system, we found Google Maps a simple and accurate option. However, remember to take into account the time it takes to climb down and up stations, often not calculated in transit times.

During certain rush hour times, there are cars designated for women passengers only.

IMG_4657IMG_4658

 

Happy travels to and around Tokyo!

P.S. You can’t leave the country of Japan without taking a ride on a shinkansen (新幹線), A.K.A. a bullet train. Just like the inner city rail systems, the shinkansens are known for being incredibly timely up to the second.

Take a trip to Japan via Japantown, San Francisco

How can you go to Japan for the day without shelling out hundreds of dollars (or more likely—thousands—for a plane ticket)? Head to your nearest Japantown! Did you know San Francisco is not only home to the largest Chinatown outside of Asia, but also the U.S.’s largest Japanese enclave? Last weekend Waygo decided to check out Japantown, AKA: 日本町, Nihonmachi, J Town, or Little Osaka. Fun fact: In 1957, SF entered into a sister city relationship with the city of Osaka (hence the nickname “Little Osaka”), making it SF’s oldest sister city.

IMG_4431

Built in the 1960s and presented to SF by its sister city Osaka, on March 28th, 1968.

IMG_4434 IMG_4432

 

 

 

 

 

 

Japanese immigrants began moving to present-day Japantown following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Prior to the earthquake, SF had 2 Japantowns: one just next to Chinatown, and the other in SoMa. Throughout the next few decades, Japantown grew into one of the largest Japanese communities outside of Japan, compared to Tokyo’s Ginza District.

Following Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941, businesses and residences were targeted for attacks, and the neighborhood were largely deserted as residents were relocated and held in internment camps.  After the war, the neighborhood had gone from spanning 30 blocks to just a few square blocks, and it went from being known as Nihonjin Machi meaning “Japanese People’s Town” to Nihonmachi, merely meaning “Japantown.”

IMG_4438

Waygo incorrectly translates the Japanese sign. Good thing there was English in this case!

IMG_4439

Webster = Sea Urchin Town? Waygo translates the 2nd character incorrectly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today Japantown bustles with commercial life, comprised primarily of two connected shopping centers full of restaurants, bookstores, furniture stores, spas, and cafes. In between the two centers, spans a large outdoor plaza for gathering, with a 5-tiered Peace Pagoda at its center. The sense of a Japanese community is primarily confined to the businesses, rather than the surrounding residential neighborhood. Unlike Chinatown which is home to thousands of Chinese residents, Japantown is more of a center for commercialism rather than a center where Japanese people live and work. No doubt about it though—you can’t possibly be anywhere else besides Japantown—bonsai stores, anime video stores, and moki bakeries abound!

IMG_4440 IMG_4378 IMG_4416

IMG_4383

Bookstores are packed with items you can only find in Japantown.


IMG_4382

IMG_4414

Shibuya is a bustling district of Tokyo, famous for shopping, subways, and nightlife.

IMG_4390

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Among some of the most interesting shops you’ll find  a shop entirely dedicated to wallet photos, Pika Pika.

IMG_4397

IMG_4391IMG_4394

J-Town’s biggest happenings comprise Cherry Blossom Festival during a 2-week span in April and the Nihonmachi Street Fair in August. Throughout the year, the area stays busy with smaller festivals, like the Joy of Soy:

IMG_4411

If you cannot visit the real thing, Sfjapantown.org is a good sneak preview.

 

Happy travels to a Japantown near you!

 

 

 

What’s Up with Waygo?

Hello Waygo Friends!

So what’s up with Waygo you ask? Lots! Today we’ll give you the low-down on all things Waygo.

First off, we’re hiring! Interested in working with us? We’re currently searching for a lead Android developer and we’d love to hear from you! Find all the details in our previous blog post.

Waygo-Icon logo

Wait…hold up…Android?! YES! In case you missed it, we celebrated our Android release on May 6th! Check us out now available in the Google Play store.

10322730_683504195047936_1102399879170648160_n

Lookin’ good, Ryan!

Waygo has been busy on the road. Waygo CEO, Ryan, shared his insights during the Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) in Beijing on May 6th. To learn Ryan’s tips to life on the road, check out this Wall Street Journal blog post.

Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 12.13.14 PM

We’ve also been making movies—”Imagine being able to navigate drinks and food with your smart phone!” Do you recognize the voice? What about the hands? Hint: Take a second look at the photo above of that peace-sign-wielding man!

So that’s what up with Waygo. We’d love to hear from you, so let us know your latest adventures with (or without!) Waygo.

Have a happy week!,

Team Waygo

P.S. Thanks to IT Pro Portal for naming us App of the Day last week!

Hiring Waygo Android Developer!

Lead Android Developer

Waygo (by Translate Abroad)
Providence, RI/ Mountain View, CA/ Taipei, Taiwan (allows remote)

http://www.waygoapp.com/
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/translator-dictionary-chinese/id496038103?mt=8
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.waygoapp.waygo
Featured in NYTimes, LATimes, Time, Popular Science and more!

Waygo-Icon logo

Job Description

Instant visual translation startup Waygo is looking for a solid Android developer to lead the development of our newly released Android app. Since release, the app has been growing significantly and our users have made over 1 million translations! As if that isn’t cool enough, we took 1st place at the 2014 SXSW Accelerator competition!

You will be driving the development of the Android app building new features, fixing bugs, optimizing app performance, and creating awesome. As this is largely a frontend role, you will be interfacing with our backend technologies via the JNI and working closely with our iOS Developer to maintain a consistent experience across both platforms.

Skills and Requirements

  • 1+ year experience working with the Android SDK
  • Understanding of mobile/UI design patterns
  • Be able to show us your past Android work/projects/products
  • Experience with the Android Camera API
  • Experience with version control system (Git) and collaborative coding
  • Highly motivated and self-directed
  • Good communication skills, we are a distributed team
  • Poorly commented code drives you insane
  • B.S. in Computer Science or Engineering
  • Interested in food, travel, and languages (that’s what our product is about!)

Bonus points:

  • Experience with C++ and/or iOS
  • A published app on the Play Store
  • Practical experience with HTTP/HTTPS/JSON
  • Familiarity with JNI

Super bonus points:

  • A worthy ping pong opponent
  • Love craft beer and have an Untappd account
  • Excited about eyewear like google glass (even if you think people look funny wearing it)

What We Offer

Competitive salary, stock options, health insurance, and the ability to work from home and be flexible. Most importantly though, we let you take leadership and ownership of a product hundreds of thousands of people have downloaded and millions of people need. If you mess up, our users notice. If you build something great, our users take even more notice :)

We plan annual company retreats that give us an opportunity to all be in the same place at once. Our last one was a company trip to SXSW! We have regular ‘virtual’ happy hours via Google Hangouts where we unwind with our favorite adult beverage and don’t talk at all about work.

About Waygo

We believe in building products that break down cultural and linguistic barriers. Waygo is a real-time, offline, instant visual translation app for iPhone and Android smartphones. Currently Waygo translates Chinese and Japanese to English and we will be expanding on language pairs in the future.

We are driven to be the best mobile translation app for travelers out there. We have built all of our technology in house and pride ourselves in being a deep technical team.

We are a hard-working group, but also value the importance of having a healthy balance between our professional and personal lives. When we’re not working, we go to the orchestra, ride motorcycles, homebrew, raise families, play instruments, etc. When on the job, we are a focused bunch motivated to change the way people travel and experience the world.

Contact Email: jobs@waygoapp.com

It’s All Chinese to Me: Explaining Chinese Part 2

This is a continuation of a series on explaining the language of Chinese. In the Part 1 of this blog post we explored the concepts of Mandarin vs. Cantonese, Simplified vs. Traditional, and tones. This week we will cover some Chinese etymology and the different groups of Chinese characters.

tl-horizontal_main

Chinese characters number in the tens of thousands, but fear not(!!!)—the vast majority are characters you’ll likely never encounter—unless you are reading ancient historical texts. Knowing (being able to read and speak) about 3,000-4,000 characters is believed to be sufficient for having functional literacy, where you’re able to function comfortably and successfully in an all-Chinese environment.

Chinese characters are formed by different methods to convey their meanings. To make this easier to digest, let’s relate this back to English, think about the different types of words we have such as onomatopoeias and compound words.

Phono-Semantic Compounds
Semantic-phonetic compounds make up roughly 90% of Chinese characters. Each of these characters consists of two parts: a semantic component (which hints at the meaning of the character), and a phonetic component (which hints at the pronunciation of the character). This is somewhat similar to the English idea of a homonym. Examples:

(water) + (hú)(hú) lake.

(water) +  (wood, pronounced mù) =  (mù) to wash. Not only does influence the pronunciation of the character, but it also lends to its meaning—people wash clothes against wood.

 (water) +  (middle, zhōng) = 沖 (chōng) riptide. The phonetic indicator is  (zhōng), which by itself means middle. Note how the pronunciation of the character has changed from zhōng to chōng.

On the left-hand side of all 3 characters, there is the radical for water(氵), which is a simplified pictograph for a water drop. The presence of the water radical shows that each character is somehow related to water (lakes, riptides, to wash). The right-hand side of each characters contains a phonetic indicator, which hints at how to pronounce the character.

Pictographs
These are the oldest types of characters. Pictographs were originally pictures of the things they represent, and over time, they have become simplified and modified. See below for the transformation of characters for sun, eye, tree, mountain, horse, knife, fish, and doors.

chinese pictograph

chinese characters pictorgrams

These pictures can help you relate modern day characters to how they became formed. Photo credit: Chineasy.org

Simple Ideographs/Indicatives
Ideographs are graphical representations of abstract ideas. Examples:

上 (shàng): up. The stroke is above the line.

下 (xià): down. The stroke is below the line.

Compound Ideographs
Compound ideographs combine one or more pictographs or ideographs to form new characters, both contributing to the meaning of the compound character. Examples:

(xiū): rest. Composed of the pictographs 人 (person) + 木 (tree) = a person resting on a tree.

(hǎo): good. Composed of 女 (woman or girl) and 子 (child or son) = it’s a good thing for a women to have a child, or another possible meaning is that it’s good fortune to have a both a daughter and son.

 

Let us know if you find this information helpful! Our goal is to help demystify the language of Chinese. After all, it may be all Greek to you, but we don’t want it to be all Chinese!

P.S. If you’d like to dive deeper into Chinese etymology these sites are great resources: Chinese Etymology (just put the character your curious about on the left-hand side box) and Yellow Bridge.

Waygo Speaks 日本の, too!

Dear Waygo friends,

It’s been a while. How have you been? In case you haven’t heard, Waygo now translates Japanese into English. 何 (nani)?! Yes, that’s right! Waygo is now trilingual. We launched the news earlier this month at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, also winning the accelerator pitch competition for the Entertainment and Content Technologies category.

waygo japanese and chinese

We decided to add Japanese based off your feedback; Japanese was the most requested additional language. Since English is not super prevalent in Japan—even the subway signs are often without English—travelers in Japan face extra challenges. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to buy your tickets to Japan! After all, the cherry blossoms have officially begun blooming.

Waygo to the Test
This article inspired today’s blog post (if you want a good chuckle, I highly recommend clicking through to the link!) We tested Waygo against the article, comparing Waygo’s translations with the article’s. See below to see how Waygo did:

Case Study 1:

chinese english sign

Hand Grenade…not quite….

waygo translate fire extinguisher

Waygo wins!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Case Study 2:

lost in translation chinese

WHAT?!

IMG_4142

Waygo wins!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Case Study 3:

funny chinese translations

Cat ears and rotten children…?!

IMG_4145

Waygo only successfully translates the beginning.

IMG_4143

Waygo clarifies that they’re not actually ears.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Case Study 4:

wrong chinese translation

And by crap, they mean carp.

IMG_4140

Waygo only translates the 1st 2 characters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Case Study 5:

IMG_4152

Although not eloquently stated, at least Waygo gives you an idea of the ingredients.

83941400

Well that’s not nice to call them stupid!

As you can see, Chinese continues to be a work in progress. Just like Chinese, Japanese is a complex language, presenting several new challenges to the Waygo team. For one, Japanese is made up of three different writing systems: kanji (Chinese characters used in Japanese), hiragana, and katakana. Each system has its own alphabet, but hiragana and katakana characters sometimes look similar in certain fonts. Yikes!

Remember, any and all feedback is welcome!! Please send us inaccurate, funny, or just plain wrong translations at feedback@waygo.com.

waygo funny 3

Hmmm…this might be difficult.