Last night when I was working on the blog post, I knew that the proper phrase for the first image was Waar is Nederland? It’s a very simple phrase and Nederland is the Dutch name for the Netherlands. So I took a screenshot, re-sized it in Photoshop, and then added on the appropriate text.
And then I second guessed myself. It is the internet, after all. Put your best foot forward, since it’s there forever. Or however long blogs will be around. So I went to Google and did a phrase search for “Waar is Nederland?” within the quote marks to force Google to search for it as an exact phrase (very useful tool, says this librarian!). It returned about 30,000 results, and that seemed low to me. Of course, that’s probably because people who speak Dutch know where the Netherlands is, but I digress…
And then I decided to try “Waar is het Nederlands”. Don’t ask me why, since I was right on the first attempt all on my own. But it’s that fear of being wrong, that fear of someone who speaks native Dutch realizing… you’ll start to go to any attempt to hide your wrongness. That gave me about 475,000 results — a lot more than my first search.
Of course, at this point I should have realized it was because I wasn’t searching for the basic question any more. It was more like Where is the Dutch <noun>? rather than the country itself! But still, I re-did the picture, against any misgivings, and posted it. It’s not the first time Google has struck out.
That’s not to say, of course, that Google doesn’t have a lot of advantages. You have Google translate. You can download a Firefox plugin to translate any highlighted phrase by right clicking. And there is some other things that may or may not be from Google, like the automatic translate option when someone posts a Dutch comment on Facebook which I see. I even heard that someone has been reading my blog in translated Dutch (which of course means that it was pretty gibberish at times!)
I suppose the morale of the story is to trust my gut and not believe Google all the time. But also to take more risks – I have to figure this out somehow, and December is fast approaching. It’s not that I think I ‘ll be fluent by that (ha!) but rather than I would like to at least get the basics down and hold a conversation or two early on.
But anyway, let’s hear it for the Dutch language. Maybe someday I’ll figure out how to roll my R’s… that would shock my Spanish teacher, that’s for sure!