Chinese app says French president is a 'big shot' and baguettes are 'teaspoons'





Baidu, which is often described as China’s equivalent of Google, recently released a new translation app that works not only with text, but also with photographs. Here’s how it works: you take a photo of an object, and it tries to guess what it is, giving the results both in Chinese and English. Sometimes, the results are accurate; other times, they’re incredibly wrong, to the delight of many internet users who submit screengrabs of these failures to the blog Baidu Translate Fail.


This “translation” of a photo of the Tiananmen Square massacre was first pointed out by internet users; our journalists replicated the search with the same results.



We decided to put the app to the test with photos from France. To be fair, the app correctly identified some images like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc of Triumph, as well as – rather amazingly – a plate of macaroons.



And it did recognize Gerard Depardieu as being an actor.



However, most of the searches yielded rather strange results…


A baguette.


French President François Hollande.


French actress Julie Gayet, with whom President François Hollande allegedly had an affair


The Louvre museum in Paris.


The famous "Raft of the Medusa" by French painter Théodore Géricault, which is on display at Paris's Louvre museum.


The journalist's cat, who also happens to be French.