A new tool called Fabricius uses machine learning to decode ancient hieroglyphs quickly and as accurately as possible. It is possible to load an image file and the program will provide the translation of the characters. But that's not all, the unique Google translator can also translate many English phrases into hieroglyphs!
Fabricius is a fun, learning tool. It was originally designed to improve the work of experts in the study of antiquity, however, it is now available to all users of the network. A multi-stage system, rich in animations and video tutorials, allows you to learn the history of the picture script and the greatest discoveries related to it, such as the Rosetta Stone. It also allows you to learn to read and write hieroglyphs, and translates simple phrases from modern language into ancient notation.
The tool is designed to "help people get closer to the heritage and culture of ancient Egypt" and to emphasize the importance of preserving hieroglyphs as a language.
Google experts say that the easiest way to understand hieroglyphs is to "imagine that they are the ancient Egyptian equivalent of emoticons."
Until now, hieroglyphic decoding experts had to browse book by book by hand to find the meaning of a particular character and translate the entire notation. This process has been virtually unchanged for over a century, says Chance Coughenour, program manager at Google Arts & Culture. Fabricius is the first digital tool, which is also made available as open source software to support the further development of ancient language research, decoding Egyptian hieroglyphs, based on machine learning, Coughenour explains.
The online tool for mobile devices and computers is divided into three sections - "Learning", "Fun" and "Work".
Users can learn the language of Ancient Egypt by completing short introductory tasks spread over six stages, each one more difficult than the previous one. The first step allows the user to trace the shape of the hieroglyph with the cursor as accurately as possible, the idea is to see if Fabricius will be able to read the character written in this way. Each drawing is compared against over 800 different symbols in the tool database.
Other interactive "Science" tasks include drawing hieroglyphs from memory and "repairing" badly damaged hieroglyphs so that the Artificial Intelligence can identify them.
The "Fun" option allows you to translate your own words and messages into hieroglyphs and send a message to friends, family, or share it on social media. Users can enter any content in the text field, and the Google tool will instantly find and provide characters that will translate their meaning as accurately as possible. Google expert emphasizes that the translations offered by Fabricius are not of academic quality and should be treated as a form of fun.
The last category - "Work" - is intended for researchers and available only on desktop computers. Mobile browsers do not support this mode.
Fabricius, available on a dedicated website, is also made available as open source to support further advances in the study of ancient languages. Available in English and Arabic, Fabricius is named after the father of epigraphy, a science of ancient inscriptions.
Google created this tool in collaboration with the Australian Center for Egyptology at Macquarie University in Australia, the production company Psycle Interactive and video game company Ubisoft, and Egyptologists around the world.
Fabricius's call coincides with the anniversary of the discovery of the Rosetta Stone in July 1799. It was a ground breaking discovery that allowed experts to learn to read Egyptian hieroglyphs. The stone contained fragments of records in three different scripts, Greek, Egyptian hieroglyphs and Egyptian demotes.
Since the inscriptions in three different scripts say the same thing, and since scholars could read ancient Greek, the Rosetta Stone became a valuable key to deciphering other characters.
The Rosetta Stone was a granodiorite stele, discovered by French soldiers near the city of Rosetta, about 35 miles East of Alexandria, Egypt.
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