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AI translates 5,000-year-old cuneiform tablet. 📚
🤔 Translation isn’t simply a matter of swapping one word for a corresponding word in another language. A high-quality translation requires the translator to understand how both languages string thoughts together and then use that knowledge to create a translation that maintains the linguistic nuances of the original, which native speakers effortlessly understand.
🌍 Because of this, the number of people capable of translating languages from antiquity is small, and their best efforts are often outpaced by the volume of texts unearthed by archeologists.
📚 Take ancient Akkadian. This early Semitic language is one of the best attested from the ancient world. Hundreds of thousands, by some accounts more than a million, Akkadian texts have been discovered and today lie in museums and universities. Many have even been digitized online. Each one has the potential to teach us about the life, politics, and beliefs of the first civilizations, yet this knowledge remains locked behind the time and manpower necessary to translate them.
😮 To help change that, a multidisciplinary team of archaeologists and computer scientists has developed an artificial intelligence that can translate Akkadian almost instantly and unlock the historic record preserved in these 5,000-year-old tablets.
🌟 As you can imagine, that can be a long and laborious process — one that takes years of training and dedication to learn to do well. To help speed things along, the research team developed a neural machine translation model for Akkadian cuneiform, the same technology under the hood of Google Translate.
😲 The past's future looks brighter with the potential of this fast-acting AI for translation. With more training and improvement, it could act as a valuable tool for preserving and disseminating the cultural heritage of ancient Mesopotamia.
#AncientTranslations #Innovation #Insights
Read the article: https://bigthink.com/the-future/ai-translates-cuneiform/
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