A Program That Deciphers Ancient Languages

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Thanks to a new computer program, the world may be one step closer to deciphering ancient languages that so far have eluded translation. The program is already is able to automatically translate the 3,000-year-old Ugaritic script by comparing its patterns with those of Hebrew text.

Created by Professor Regina Barzilay in collaboration with Ben Snyder and Kevin Knight, the program represents a significant step toward proving that computers are useful as deciphering tools, despite lacking the intuitive intelligence of a human being.

Ugaritic was cracked in 1932, but Barzilay and company hope that the program may one day be able to decipher as-yet-untranslated languages, such as ancient Etruscan. Click here to read National Geographic's article on the work.