Google’s Fabricius culture tool translates words into hieroglyphs

Google has introduced a new Arts & Culture tool called ‘Fabricius’ that enables anyone to learn about the ancient Egyptian writing system known as hieroglyphics, which are symbols used to represents words and phrases. Only a small group of people understood how to write in this system thousands of years ago, but it has since been decoded thanks to the Rosetta Stone discovery.

Fabricius is the latest experiment from Google’s Arts & Culture Lab; it uses machine learning to translate hieroglyphics. The tool contains three sections total, one that offers a basic understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphs and another called ‘Play’ that lets anyone send messages coded with these symbols.

The third option is a work tool for desktop that helps researchers translate hieroglyphs; this won’t be of much interest to the average person. Google puts the hieroglyphs into context by approximating them to emoji, explaining that each symbol has a meaning.

The Fabricius tool suggests the best option for users as they type their message into the tool, but there’s a limitation — Google says Fabricius can only translate the emojis and words that it has listed in its related dictionary. Translated messages can be shared using email and social media platforms.

The tool provides interesting insight into how the writing system was used and the kind of expressions that would best match their equivalent in English and Arabic, the two languages the tool supports. This is the latest content related to ancient Egypt offered by Google’s Arts & Culture tool.

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