AI-Powered Google Translate Revolutionizes World’s Oldest Language

**Decoding Ancient Languages with A.I.: A Game-Changing Breakthrough**

**A.I. Transforms the Translation of Ancient Akkadian Cuneiform**
An interdisciplinary group of computer science and history researchers has developed an A.I. model that can instantly decipher the ancient Akkadian cuneiform language. Led by a Google software engineer and an Assyriologist from Ariel University, the team trained the model using existing cuneiform translations, utilizing the same technology behind Google Translate.

**The Challenge of Translating Dead Languages**
Translating dead languages, particularly those without descendant languages, presents a daunting task due to the lack of cultural context. Akkadian, an ancient language used during the Akkadian Empire in present-day Iraq, exists only in its written form. Its cuneiform writing system, characterized by triangular figures, was inscribed on clay tablets using a reed. While these tablets have survived for centuries, there are few linguists capable of translating Akkadian, leaving valuable knowledge untapped.

**Unlocking Untold Stories**
The vast number of untranslated cuneiform texts exceeds the capabilities of current linguists. This leads to a loss of insights into the political, social, economic, and scientific history of ancient Mesopotamia, often considered the first empire in history. By integrating A.I. into the cuneiform interpretation process, these untold stories can finally be accessed and understood.

**A.I.’s Translation Capabilities**
The A.I. developed by the research team can perform two types of translation: cuneiform to English and cuneiform transliteration. The translations produced by the A.I. achieved high-quality scores on the Best Bilingual Evaluation Understudy 4 (BLEU4), a measure of translation quality. Despite occasional mistakes and “hallucinations” common in A.I., the tool significantly reduces the time and labor required for initial processing of the texts.

**The Advancement of A.I.-Propelled Linguistics**
Previous computer-generated translations lacked accuracy and relied on rigid grammatical rules. However, recent A.I. programs, such as the cuneiform translator, have harnessed statistical processing and machine learning, enabling them to learn idiosyncrasies and idioms. This development marks an exciting period for A.I.-propelled computational linguistics.

**Balancing Trust and Reliability**
While the A.I. translation tool is remarkable, it remains unreliable. Human verification of the output is crucial due to occasional errors. However, the tool’s integration with human input allows for substantial time savings, particularly in labor-intensive tasks. The A.I. is most accurate in translating shorter sentences and formulaic texts, providing a promising avenue for future improvement.

**The Role of A.I. in Research and Scholastic Endeavors**
The A.I. translation model serves as a valuable resource by generating preliminary translations for researchers to verify and refine. In the future, the model can be enhanced by training it on larger samples of translations, further improving its accuracy and usefulness. For scholarly purposes, the model could even display a list of sources it relied on for the translations, facilitating comprehensive research.

By leveraging A.I., the translation of ancient languages like Akkadian cuneiform becomes more accessible, unlocking a wealth of knowledge and historical insights. These technological advancements offer hope for erasing the language barriers that have hindered our understanding of the past for so long.

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