Google launched a hieroglyphic translator that uses machine learning to decode ancient Egyptian characters.
This new feature was incorporated into the company’s Art and Culture application and allows you to translate current words and emojis into shareable hieroglyphs.
According to Google, the app, dubbed Fabricius, is the first tool trained through machine learning to understand what a hieroglyph is in fact.
In theory, the translation platform should improve over time as it is used by users.
In addition to the tool (that is accessible to everyone), a computer version of Fabricius was also launched for scholars in the field of Egyptology, anthropology, and history, as a support tool for research.
The application’s workspace allows the user to add photos of actual hieroglyphs found on objects or walls and to optimize images for a more accurate analysis of symbols.
Users can track the contours of the hieroglyphs, which the software tries to match with similar symbols in its database, allowing them to look for different meanings and try to decipher symbols that can be discovered.
The tool uses analysis of historical records and linguistic definitions.
Google hopes to expand its huge database with the collaboration of users.
The tool is currently available in English and Arabic.
The launch of the Google application coincides with the anniversary of the discovery of the Rosette Stone, which allowed researchers to read, in an unprecedented way, hieroglyphics from Ancient Egypt.
With 1.12 meters high, the Rosette Stone, which is in the British Museum, in London, is originally from Egypt. It is a fragment of granodiorite rock.
The rock contains three columns of the same inscription in three languages: Greek, hieroglyphs, and Egyptian demotic. The text is from a decree written by clergy in 196 BC, during the reign of Pharaoh Ptolemy 5th.
The rock was discovered in July 1799 by soldiers who were part of Napoleon Bonaparte’s army, when they enlarged a fortress near the city of Rashi, also known as Rosette, on the Delta River.
When Napoleon was defeated, the British took possession of the rock in 1801. It was then transported to England, arriving in the port city of Portsmouth in February 1802. King George 3 offered the rock to British Museum a few months later.