Computer Linguist

Jul 22, 2010

Computers to translate world’s ‘lost’ languages after program deciphers ancient text

Scientists have used a computer program to decipher a written language that is more than three thousand years old.  The program automatically translated the ancient written language of Ugaritic within just a few hours.  Scientists hope the breakthrough could help them decipher the few ancient languages that they have been unable to translate so far.

Ugaritic was last used around 1200 B.C. in western Syria and consists of dots on clay tablets. It was first discovered in 1920 but was not deciphered until 1932.  Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology told the program that the language was related to another known language, in this case Hebrew.

Read more here and here.