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1:36 pm on Jan 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 9, 2011
votes: 288

Awright, where's that thread for "I'm stoked today because..."? I know it's around here somewhere.

Someone in a foreign government office needed to look up a word. They may have started with the online dictionary, which says what the word means (I checked) but not how it means that. It may not even have been the meaning they were looking for.

Unfortunately the word was in a script google doesn't know, so search results are constrained to exact matches. (There is an obvious irony in this. We tear our hair out trying to make g### understand that when we say "wigdets" we mean "wigdets". Meanwhile, some languages that are inflected and/or polysynthetic and really need approximate or partial-word matches get nothing but letter-for-letter, verbatim, literatim, the word and nothing but the word.)

If their results were anything like mine, they would have got a series of a few dozen hits, with one of my more obscure pages down around #10. This page is thin to the point of emaciation-- it's just a picture with a few sentences of explanatory blahblah-- but it's got one advantage over the preceding nine hits. It's in English.

Foreign Government Employee looks at the page, presumably says "Ah ha! That's what it means!" ... and then, instead of going back to work, putters around and looks at adjoining pages. And then wanders further afield. After 15 minutes or so the boss must have showed his face because the reading abruptly stopped-- but not before he'd e-mailed a link to a nearby friend saying, I assume, Check This Out!

An hour later, Government Employee is back. Possibly boss has taken an early lunch. He continues exploring sporadically for the rest of the morning, including a few repeat visits.

I don't pay his salary, but y'know what? I wouldn't mind if I did :)

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