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189 comments

bo-ring (5, Funny)

heptapod (243146) | more than 6 years ago | (#20406661)

wake me when they can do pnakotic

You Idiotic American Bible-Belt Pussy! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20406739)

You Idiotic American Bible-Belt Pussy!

Don't you understand that the origin of Mankind (where do we come from) lies within the information from these civilizations?

Re:You Idiotic American Bible-Belt Pussy! (4, Funny)

AgentOJ (320270) | more than 6 years ago | (#20406991)

You idiotic anonymous coward!

The Pnakotic Manuscripts were an invention of H.P. Lovecraft and factor into the Cthulhu Mythos. Besides, everyone knows the origin of Mankind lies within the information from the Elder Gods.

Re:You Idiotic American Bible-Belt Pussy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20407519)

Fuck you!

The "Elder Gods" just confirms that you are classic "Bible-Belt" Pussy!

Re:You Idiotic American Bible-Belt Pussy! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20407887)

Wait - the bible belters believe in an ancient starfaring race of extradimensional telepathic squid monsters? Perhaps I should give this fundie thing a try.

Cthulhu is real! (2, Funny)

Steve Furlong (9087) | more than 6 years ago | (#20407581)

You insensitive clod! All I wanted for Christmas was for Cthulhu to awaken and eat my boss. I didn't get it, and now you call Him a myth!

Re:You Idiotic American Bible-Belt Pussy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20407411)

My GRANDADDY weren't np ASSYRIAN!

Re:bo-ring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20407835)

You fool, Pnakotic is a manuscript, not a language. And that was translated into English in the 15th century!

Anyway, in the real world... Wake me up when they translate Linear A!

I didn't think they'd cracked modern languages... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 6 years ago | (#20406679)

I didn't think they'd cracked modern language translation yet....I dread to think what these things'll output when you feed them a bunch of test.

Still this is slashdot and hardly anybody here speaks two languages so expect a bunch of gibberish.

PS: No, my everyday language isn't English. I hardly ever get to speak English with real people.

Re:I didn't think they'd cracked modern languages. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20406847)

Well aren't you special? Bitch.

Not really, but.... (2, Informative)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 6 years ago | (#20407161)

Not really, but my gf's a language teacher and you wouldn't believe the amount of "homework" she gets which looks like a robot translated it from Hieroglyphics.

Some people just don't get it.

I hardly ever get to speak English to real people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20406863)

Insert slightly racist xenophobia joke about English/non-English speakers being real/non-real people here.

Re:I didn't think they'd cracked modern languages. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20407205)

> Still this is slashdot and hardly anybody here speaks two languages so expect a bunch of gibberish.

Hey! I know PHP, Javascript and HTML!!! I think most other dudes here know that too!!

Re:I didn't think they'd cracked modern languages. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20407251)

I think most other dudes here know that too!!
You are a tool

Re:I didn't think they'd cracked modern languages. (4, Funny)

megaditto (982598) | more than 6 years ago | (#20407263)

I hardly ever get to speak English with real people.
Welcome to slashdot. Do not worry, you'll fit right in here.

Re:I didn't think they'd cracked modern languages. (1)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 6 years ago | (#20407511)

English speakers are a myth created by the Illuminati.

Re:I didn't think they'd cracked modern languages. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20407555)

What do you mean? I can speak fluently in several ancient languages. I happen to be an expert at COBOL.

Re:I didn't think they'd cracked modern languages. (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 6 years ago | (#20408301)

> I happen to be an expert at COBOL.

Wow, not only that, but you're a dinosaur that can *TYPE*! Awesome. :)

I'm just glad I finally forgot all that Fortran 77 I was force-fed in college. *shudder*

Re:I didn't think they'd cracked modern languages. (1)

impleri (982548) | more than 6 years ago | (#20407697)

I'm learning my third modern language currently (English, German, French). I'm on my second and third dead language as well (Latin, [classic] Greek, [classic] Hebrew). But I agree with you. Modern translators suck horribly. I'm tempted to throw in a few things to this to see what pops out... I do have my Biblia Hebraica around here somewhere...

Re:I didn't think they'd cracked modern languages. (1)

Arterion (941661) | more than 6 years ago | (#20407773)

The sad thing is that, just from looking over your post, it's easy to tell you probably speak it (or at least write it) better than most natives. Kudos. What is your everyday language, just out of curiosity?

Re:I didn't think they'd cracked modern languages. (5, Funny)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 6 years ago | (#20407911)

Bird bird eye feather snake bird squiggly, you insensitive clod!

Oh Great! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20406681)

This will be most useful in my efforts to summon Gozer!

Re:Oh Great! (3, Funny)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 6 years ago | (#20407065)

Did someone say Sumerian?

I hear they recently translated a speech by some Governor, addressing a San Francisco parade during a recent California primary election stop...
[...]
Candidate - Open immigration, mass transit, relief of property taxes at your doorstep, and windmills instead of coal.
Mayor - Wrong! Governor! What is best in life?
Governor - To brush your enemies, see them drivel before you, and to wear the garmentation of the women.

Various Iraqi tribes can now talk to each other? (2, Insightful)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 6 years ago | (#20407763)

This will be most useful in my efforts to summon Gozer!

I was kind of hoping it would be useful in getting the various tribes in Iraq talking to each other.

Re:Various Iraqi tribes can now talk to each other (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20408269)

Nah, that one's coming out later this year owards the end of December. Look out for the fat guy with the white beard and the red suit - he'll be presenting the abstract!

yes, but (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20406727)

Does it support UTF-8? :)

no unicode support? (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#20406741)

I dunno unicode too well but heiroglyphics aren't in it, right? So...without being able to paste it in, it'd go REALLY slow. Like Stargate slow lol. Still pretty neat though

Re:no unicode support? (4, Informative)

ianare (1132971) | more than 6 years ago | (#20407435)

Not yet, though they are on their way [unicode.org] to being in the standard. As far as sumerian cuneiform, they are already in utf-8 [wikipedia.org], part of the ancient languages section.
"One character encoding to rule them all." ;-)

Actually, that makes me wonder (2, Informative)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#20408709)

Actually, that makes me wonder about an extra technical aspect. AFAIK, writing in Egypt wasn't left to right, same size. They sometimes wrote left to right (with the faces of the hieroglyphs pointing that way), sometimes right to left (ditto), sometimes vertically, and, here's the kicker, sometimes just turned it all into a sort of a painting. I.e., sometimes the symbols were rearranged, and some some made bigger, some smaller, to get an aesthetic picture.

So I'm really curious how they'd help a totally clueless guy like me input the last case.

Not saying it can't be done, so hold your horses with the "OMG be sure they already thought of everything" posts, folks. Just asking how. Would I be able to just run it through a scanner and upload the image? If I was smart and learned enough to figure it out on my own, which is kinda a pre-requisite to inputting it then with a keyboard, I wouldn't need an online translator.

Also, would they include a dictionary of the common phrases, metaphors, etc? Remember, I'm a guy who can't even read it (or I wouldn't need an online translator), so any cultural references would go even higher over my head.

E.g., AFAIK, 110 being a perfect number in their numerology, it also ended up the perfect lifespan of a human, so phrases like "he lived 110 years" were a metaphor for "he was a perfect guy" (or really really liked, at least) or "he lived a perfect life." You can find that kind of stuff about people who actually died in their 30's (which was actually the peak of the gauss curve for males in the Old Kingdom, so 110 would have been an _extreme_ improbability) or 40's.

E.g., some addressed letters "to your scribe" or complimented said scribe, which would seem a bit bizarre. That is, unless you figure out it was a fancy way of saying "I know you can read and write, and you're reading this yourself, as opposed to having a scribe read it to you", which, apparently, was something appreciated.

Uh...right. (5, Interesting)

piyamaradus (447473) | more than 6 years ago | (#20406743)

As a technologist who also reads ancient Egyptian (from college) as well as Akkadian (== Assyrian & Babylonian, with slightly different scripts over the years) and Sumerian, I can fairly readily call shenanigans on this one. The sophistication of translation here is about as deep as the 'your name in hieroglyphs' stuff you find in museum stores and the horrid Dover reprints of Budge's books.

And don't even get me started on Sumerian. Professional Sumerologists still can't render half of the agglutinative morphemes that appear in Sumerian verbs.

Re:Uh...right. (5, Funny)

Rebelgecko (893016) | more than 6 years ago | (#20407049)

As a technologist who also reads ancient Egyptian (from college) as well as Akkadian (== Assyrian & Babylonian, with slightly different scripts over the years) and Sumerian, I can fairly readily call shenanigans on this one. The sophistication of translation here is about as deep as the 'your name in hieroglyphs' stuff you find in museum stores and the horrid Dover reprints of Budge's books.

And don't even get me started on Sumerian. Professional Sumerologists still can't render half of the agglutinative morphemes that appear in Sumerian verbs.
I definitely agree with you on translating difficulties. When your last sentence was translated into English, most of it came out as gibberish!

Re:Uh...right. (2, Funny)

alexj33 (968322) | more than 6 years ago | (#20407643)

Indiana Jones: Dad, Professional Sumerologists still can't render half of the agglutinative morphemes that appear in Sumerian verbs!

Jones Sr.: Indiana, let it go. By the way a big rock is rolling towards us.

Re:Uh...right. (1)

El Torico (732160) | more than 6 years ago | (#20408819)

Since you are an authority, I have a question. I'm about 2 miles from the Ziggurat of Ur and I'll be here for a while; do you have any suggestions on how best to appreciate it?

Re:Uh...right. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20407189)

I'll second that with the note that one should look at the sources that McCormack is using for his history of Sumer section. Citing Woolley is great, he is one of archeology's giants, but I must respectfully question drawing conclusions from Waddell for any language model / history. His model of hyperdiffusionism has been long discredited among scholars. I will also note the general lack of citation of recent scholarship in McCormack's pages or any recent work linguistic work by reputable scholars.
One should point out that our understanding of Sumerian history and language, especially, has changed extensively since the 1930's.
I think an online English -> Sumerian / Akkadian reference is a great idea. The EPSD from the University of Pennsylvania is a terrific reference along those lines, for example.
That being said, even if the scholarship in the engine were sound, machine translation is also in its infancy for languages that we _fully_ understand, let alone Sumerian whose grammatical structure is highly debated among scholars.

Re:Uh...right. (4, Funny)

SlowMovingTarget (550823) | more than 6 years ago | (#20407199)

And don't even get me started on Sumerian. Professional Sumerologists still can't render half of the agglutinative morphemes that appear in Sumerian verbs.

Pffft. That's because they don't have DirectX 10 on Vista, which has had agglutinative morpheme rendering for like forever already.

Re:Uh...right. (1)

evil agent (918566) | more than 6 years ago | (#20407331)

agglutinative morphemes

Uh, I think you forgot to translate this to English...

Re:Uh...right. (3, Informative)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#20407905)

Agglutinative: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/agglutinati ve [reference.com]
Morphemes: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/morphemes [reference.com]

I think he is complaining that there are so many words that are actually complete sentences or parts of sentences.

Re:Uh...right. (1)

asifyoucare (302582) | more than 6 years ago | (#20407641)

Professional Sumerologists still can't render half of the agglutinative morphemes that appear in Sumerian verbs.

My thoughts exactly.

(Actually I have no idea what I just wrote, but I'm saving it up for my next dinner party to impress the chicks.)

Learning Sumerian to impress chicks (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 6 years ago | (#20408653)

Actually in this case, it's the chicks who learned enough Sumerian to impress other people - they're a local women's choral group [zambra.org] who perform in something like 17 languages, because it's just not enough to do several different Gaelic-family languages and Bulgarian and Seneca or have the main dead languages you perform in be Latin and classical Greek. (I forget whether the Hebrew they do is ancient or modern, or whether Ladino counts as a dead language yet, but it's a relatively recent language either way...)

Re:Uh...right. (3, Interesting)

belmolis (702863) | more than 6 years ago | (#20408489)

I can confirm this. I know Egyptian. If you enter single words, you may get a reasonable translation back, though in several cases what I got is not what I would consider the usual word or spelling. If you enter actual sentences, however, the result is in every case gibberish. This system has no understanding at all of Egyptian morphology (conjugation of verbs etc.) or of Egyptian syntax. The verbs are not inflected, the words are in the wrong order. This is not a translation system, it is a crude dictionary.

Monty Python (5, Funny)

JoshWurzel (320371) | more than 6 years ago | (#20406745)

Now I can finally find out what the capital of Assyria is! I hope its not "aaaarrrrhhhh"

Re:Monty Python (2, Funny)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#20406975)

Now I can finally find out what the capital of Assyria is!

The capital of Assyria is Addamascus [wikipedia.org].

Re:Monty Python (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20407391)

Now I can finally find out what the capital of Assyria is!
The capital of Assyria is Addamascus.

In Soviet Russia, joke kills you.

Re:Monty Python (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20408865)

Shlamalokhoun. The capital of Assyria was originally Assur. The capital of Syria is Damascus. But that was pretty funny:-)

Oh yeah, Kheiya Atour!

Re:Monty Python (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20407693)

The capital of ancient Assyria was Nineveh.

coincidentally (2, Funny)

WwWonka (545303) | more than 6 years ago | (#20406749)

"Something like this would be great for translating interesting historical records like the Amarna Letters."

God, I was just telling my friend Akakakakallatatatmah the exact same thing today! weird.

I can not wait... (3, Funny)

orionop (1139819) | more than 6 years ago | (#20406767)

for the unfortunate translations of the Epic of Gilgamesh that rival the hilarity of the google translation of the japanese amazon site.

Only one problem... (3, Insightful)

Virak (897071) | more than 6 years ago | (#20406781)

Machine translation sucks. Among other things, idioms, set phrases, wordplay, and most importantly the fact that there is rarely a one-to-one mapping between languages (often resulting in either a loss of information or requiring missing information to be added, which often requires knowledge of the culture of the language's people) all present challenges that make it unlikely that anything short of human-like AI (or very close) will be able to do good translations. Or to put it more briefly, "Nothing to see here. Please move along."

Re:Only one problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20407053)

Idioms require prior knowledge. Machines deal in data.

Data != knowledge. Knowledge requires comprehension, and we haven't yet built a machine that comprehends.

Re:Only one problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20407373)

Precisely. For example, the translation of "go round the bend" would make no sense if translated literally. Even between native speakers of the same language there are mix-ups. How would you translate "I just smoked a fag"? Are you talking about partaking of a cigarette or shooting a homosexual?

Re:Only one problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20407745)

Machine translation sucks. Among other things, idioms, set phrases, wordplay, and most importantly the fact that there is rarely a one-to-one mapping between languages (often resulting in either a loss of information or requiring missing information to be added, which often requires knowledge of the culture of the language's people) all present challenges that make it unlikely that anything short of human-like AI (or very close) will be able to do good translations. Or to put it more briefly, "Nothing to see here. Please move along."

The translation of machine inhales. When to be number, idiom, to put in the phrase of the place, the game of the word, and in the fact that seriously and it is not 1 the 1 rare, (the information that is added frequently or in the loss of the thing that requires the information of whereabouts obscurity that it requires the knowledge of the culture of the peoples of the language that they finish frequently) the AI as human being (or is very the end) extracts the map between the current challenge all the language that makes thing that it loses suddenly the well is translated with the any thing first. Or the end to momentarily put in the place that, that "that it sees here. How much for the o movement "

Now if only... (1)

Jon.Laslow (809215) | more than 6 years ago | (#20406805)

...they could make a 'Streets-to-English' translator, we'll be set. I really don't want to 'shizzle' anyone's 'nizzle' until I know what I'd be doing to what.

One way translation FROM English (1)

Dan East (318230) | more than 6 years ago | (#20406833)

This translates only from English to those languages, making it far less valuable than the other way around.

I have visited a number of websites over the years which did something similar, if perhaps not as accurately or to as many languages.

Also, this caught my interest:
The website translator engine took approximately an hour to create, with the language database occupying two hundred hours to line up cuneiforms and hieroglyphics with text descriptors and make a hierarchy to prioritize the information.

So the complexity lies completely within the database, and thus only requires some basic code to look up into the database and spit out results.

Dan East

Re:One way translation FROM English (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 6 years ago | (#20407611)

But because it translates from English, they just have to add text-to-speech so we can talk to the Sumerians.
I'm not saying they're in any condition to respond.

Error, translater seems to have snow-crashed (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 6 years ago | (#20408665)

I just *knew* that feeding it the nam-shub of Enki was going to be a bad idea....

Re:One way translation FROM English (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 6 years ago | (#20407675)

I've actually been looking at a grammar parser for English (just the basics...I'm not getting incredibly deep into the language), and most of the work seems to be coming up with tables of words, their parts of speech, etc. The rest is recursive matching of categories, which isn't that hard to write.

I haven't done any work on machine translation, but I'm thinking that it has a similar starting point.

But does it (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20406851)

do Åncient? If so then Daniel Jackson is out of a job...

Re:But does it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20408219)

I was disappointed that the Asgard left their entire repository of knowledge to the Tauri! It should have gone to the Furlings, dammit!

Submission is completely bogus and hasn't read TFA (4, Informative)

sbjornda (199447) | more than 6 years ago | (#20406887)

Read the article, then go to the web site. The web site translates FROM English TO the other languages. So there are no secrets revealed here. Unless you plan on revealing your personal secrets to someone from 3000 years ago by sending them through some sort of time machine.

-- .nosig

If I had a time machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20406979)

Please if I had a time machine I'd use it to send back goats.ex images.
And you wonder where the god Marduk came from.

Re:Submission is completely bogus and hasn't read (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20406985)

IMPORTANT, can somebody translate this for me, A.S.A.P.??

"Good evening. As a duly designated representative of the City, County, and State of New York, I order you to cease any, and all, supernatural activity and return forthwith to your place of origin, or to the nearest convenient parallel dimension."

Re:Submission is completely bogus and hasn't read (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 6 years ago | (#20407069)

Too bad there's no translation in sumerian for "marshmallow man." ;-)

Re:Submission is completely bogus and hasn't read (1)

Starfleet Command (936772) | more than 6 years ago | (#20408445)

He will come in one of the pre-chosen forms. During the rectification of the Vuldronaii, the traveler came as a large and moving Torb! Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the Meketrex supplicants, they chose a new form for him: that of a giant Sloar! Many Shubs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Sloar that day, I can tell you!.

Tag this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20406891)

slownewsday

Translation Test (3, Funny)

eric2hill (33085) | more than 6 years ago | (#20406949)

Will it translate casting liquified limestone [slashdot.org] correctly?

I swear, that was the funniest damn thing I've seen on slashdot.

Egyptian Civil Engineering Spammers (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 6 years ago | (#20408707)

While the posting you're pointing to is funnier than this posting of mine (:-), what your comment reminded me of is the spam that I used to get lots of for some training company in Cairo that mostly does civil engineering. If I need to know the *current* regulations for casting liquified limestone in Egypt, they might be the people to go to, but they were so persistent for such a long time that I'd really have liked to cast their mail server in the stuff, and their ISP was the monopoly telco which had no interest in stopping spammers.

Bad Translation (1)

Propaganda13 (312548) | more than 6 years ago | (#20406955)

There must be no good articles today.
Assyrian translation - translated words/letters in ()
there must be no (good) (a)rticles (to)day

Oh yeah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20406959)

Unbelievably geeky.

Re:Oh yeah. (2, Insightful)

e4g4 (533831) | more than 6 years ago | (#20407129)

...says the AC reading (and commenting on) Slashdot.

Re:Oh yeah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20408721)

Hey, it's a perfectly respectable hobbby, like making games for the Atari 2600 or collecting boogers.

Obfuscated C Contest (1)

Frumious Wombat (845680) | more than 6 years ago | (#20407035)

And the OCC just got a little more interesting to judge.

This program reads itself in from stdin(claytablet), compiles a compiler, then writes itself back out to stddout(claytablet). User is required to ensure resulting program is properly baked to prevent data loss.

Re:Obfuscated C Contest (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 6 years ago | (#20408313)

This program reads itself in from stdin(claytablet), compiles a compiler, then writes itself back out to stddout(claytablet). User is required to ensure resulting program is properly baked to prevent data loss.

As opposed to politicians who are half-baked at best?

Personally, I'm waiting for the Sumerian to English version of this turkey so we can read their political speeches & see we really haven't made that much progress after all...

booooooring! (4, Insightful)

zeromorph (1009305) | more than 6 years ago | (#20407091)

The whole page is total crap:

The Only thing the "translator" does is taking an English word and match it with lemmata in a lexicon then it takes the first hit and then it goes on. Try typing "I have seen you" you'll get "[I] [have] [see]n [you]" it simply cuts of the "n" of seen and leaves it there because it can only find uninflected forms. This is less than nothing.

And by the way the statement "For best results, use simple words as language has developed a lot since the time of this ancient language." under translation is one of the most stupid things I have read on an academic page language dedicated to some aspect of language. They should just take a Sanskrit dictionary (or whatever ... Maya ... Classical Chinese). Language then and now is pretty much the same, but apparently in some places technology hasn't developed that much, grumblegrumblegrumble...

Now I can send my Christmas cards out! (4, Funny)

noewun (591275) | more than 6 years ago | (#20407147)

"It says, 'bird, camel, Horus, snake, bundle of reeds!' "

Test with simple phrases yield poor results (5, Informative)

Darth_Keryx (740371) | more than 6 years ago | (#20407241)

I tried a few basic phrases where I know (from graduate school) what the Akkadian should be. "If a man kills..." (shumma awilum idak, if I recall) from Hammurapi's Code. "For the gods" (ana ilani). "An adoption tablet" (tuppi maruti, all over the place especially in Nuzi tablets). Only a few words were represented correctly, and surely through the simplistic "this English word matches" method. I was shocked that even "kills" and "gods" were not rendered correctly. The script on the site tells me that terribly outdated sources were used. Tried the same for a few very simple Egyptian phrases. "The city is in joy" (all over the place in Gardiner, 3rd ed) (result not too bad on this one). "The priest hears the god". What? No flag (n-ch-r, sign for deity)? Few years ago I researched how to write out "God is Love" and "God loves you" (for Vacation Bible School, the theme was archeology-past), and I scoured Gardiner to make sure I got the grammar just right. Oh heck not even close - only correct part was mr for love, but should be mrwt for the noun. Don't get me on the Sumerian tests. Really disgustingly simple stuff from temple dedicatory inscriptions (I had just one semester of Sumerian). Well... got dingir for "god" but that's about it. Sorry. 10/10 for good intentions... but minus several million for the results. Sorry. 10/10 for good intentions... but minus several million for the results.

Re:Test with simple phrases yield poor results (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20407785)

Hey Mr. Pope...there's nothing on the site for doing Akkadian like you mentioned, at least that I could find so I'm not suprised it's not doing translations for that. The sumerian I could not tell you about but really who honestly can read all sumerian texts and evolutions it accumulated over time? Who knows maybe the language timeframe you "mastered" was more recent in the B.C. scale than what is on that site. I'll give god a call as he'll know for sure.

Who cares about the others... (1)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 6 years ago | (#20407301)

The Assyrian is the only one I care about, since their tool age archer rush is one of the most unstoppable forces in the history of man.

Good news and bad news. (1)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#20407333)

The good news is that we can translate from Assyrian using a web site*. The bad news is that the Assyrian's used a proprietary document format, and the original program can not be found.

* Yeah, I know we can't actually do that. The article summary is bunk. It's just that I had this joke prepared as soon as I saw it.

Oh come on! (3, Interesting)

glwtta (532858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20407401)

Hieroglyphs.

"Hieroglyphic" is an adjective. Is that so hard?

Re:Oh come on! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20408741)

Merriam Webster lists hieroglyphic as both an adjective and a noun. So does dictionary.com.
Though http://dictionary.cambridge.org/ [cambridge.org] doesn't find it in the American English dictionary.

To Sumerian (1)

Steve Furlong (9087) | more than 6 years ago | (#20407441)

How do you say "ba ra so na me ka me te ra" in Sumerian?

(Yah, someone already got a Snow Crash joke in. But this is a different Snow Crash joke.)

if only... (1)

huckda (398277) | more than 6 years ago | (#20407589)

they could come up with a translator for freshman chicken-scratch...
school districts could actually spend their money on some worthwhile software!

The Nature of Dead Languages (5, Insightful)

photomonkey (987563) | more than 6 years ago | (#20407775)

As a person who studied Latin at the high school and collegiate level, I know that much of what is 'worth' translating academically has already been translated by other academics. Sure, a scholar might be able to come up with his own unique translation, but that is not something that can be done by a machine.

A dear friend of mine is an Egyptologist, and I know his struggles in translating writings from different regions of the empire, let alone differences dynasty to dynasty.

Since even the best computer translators (and I mean the corporately deployed ones, not just freebie Web stuff like BabelFish) mangle all but the simplest Spanish, French and German (I can't say anything about Asian languages, as I can't speak or read any) phrases, how can we expect any level of reliability in translating languages that even leading scholars struggle with?

Besides, the most difficult part of translating anything stems from the fact that any person seldom speaks or writes as he should. The rules of language are bent, twisted and altered into regional dialects and strings of ethnic and cultural phraseology. In the Spanish language, a word may take on one meaning in Mexico, and entirely another in Spain. Nevermind the fact that, at least in my experience, Spanish Spanish is significantly different from Mexican Spanish. And those are two languages that diverged only a matter of hundreds of years ago, as opposed to the thousands often seen in dead languages.

This is very interesting to me, but until we have widely-available computers that can understand the subtle nuances of tone, inflection, humor and colloquialisms, the computer translation will never best, or even come close to a careful academic translation, or a translation done by a human fluent in both languages, if not academically trained in both languages.

Coolio - this will come in handy (2, Funny)

STDK (1084535) | more than 6 years ago | (#20408097)

in my everyday life. Now if they one day invent one that can translate nonsense english into real english I'd be in heaven.

Cool idea though. Wonder if it works, all my texts are in living langaguges. STDK

One way translation (1)

pontifier (601767) | more than 6 years ago | (#20408557)

Here I was, hoping to upload pictures I took of some untranslated clay tablets, and then I find it only goes the other way! That doesn't help me very much :(

Giggle all you like !! (1)

steveoc (2661) | more than 6 years ago | (#20408903)

A lot of people here are having a good giggle about how lame this translator is ..

But keep in mind a simple fact before you laugh too loud :

- If the Mars explorer missions find artifacts of a prior civilisation on the face of the red planet ... then they are most likely to be culturally similar / identical to Sumerian culture found here on Earth.

Ruins of temples, memorials, grand stadiums, works of art and science - if such things are soon found on mars, then the chances are that they wont be enscribed in modern English, or Chinese, or even Latin .. they will be in formal Sumeric Cuniform, using the full range of all of the agglutinative morphemes that
continue to baffle scholars of linguistics today.

There is also a relatively high probability that many of the scrawlings and scratchings enscribed upon artifacts found on the surface of mars may also conform to ancient Tibetan/Sanskrit writings .. and equally so with the major languages of pre-flood Mesoamerian lost civilisations.

However, Sumerian would be the most probable find.

So go ahead and have a good giggle at the lame translator, but in the back of your mind .. you should seriously be asking yourself whether it is time to start learning Sumerian !!

Dont come crying to me when its all too late !!
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