Clay tablets containing strange dots and wedge type characters of the ancient Ugaritic language have baffled Translators and Archaeologists for several decades since they were discovered in the 1920’s in the port city of Ugarit.
The Ugaritic language was used in Ancient Israelite and neighbouring cultures of the time and has been extremely important in clarifying Biblical Hebrew texts. The ‘Lost Language’ was re-discovered in 1928 by French Archaeologists who found strange clay tablets containing dots and wedge shaped stylus signs, the language is thought to have been last used in 1200BC in Syria.
A translation software has been developed by M.I.T. which is able to decipher the ‘lost language’, the translation software was reported to take only a few hours to compare the Ugaritic symbols to those of Hebrew and managed to translate every symbol to relevant letters and words. Not everything was fully translated by the translation software though.
The translation software only recognised and translated 60% of which it matched from Hebrew symbols, but this gives Scientists and Archaeologists a head-start in deciphering the rest of the language. In the past, deciphering lost and forgotten languages was seen as a scholarly detective game, but with advancing technology and increasingly intelligent translation software, rare and forgotten languages could soon come back to life in the future.
Ugaritic is one of the very few languages that Global Voices can’t translate, but we do offer a newer type of translation software and a free translation service on our website including document translations, proofreading and localisation.