Google Translate Latine addidit

Google has added Latin to the list of languages supported by Google Translate.

It may not be a language that many of those Philistines out there use in everyday conversation (and where’s the Philistine language capability when you need it, eh, Google?). And we’re quite sure our highly-educated readers won’t ever require outside help.

But Google says it should be useful to the more uneducated amongst us who want to read old scientific texts – and the nation’s favourite bedtime author Virgil, obviously.

“Multi autem vetusti libri de philosophia, de physicis et de mathematica lingua Latina scripti sunt,” says software engineer Jakob Uszkoreit on the company blog.

“Libri enim vero multi milia in Libris Googlis sunt qui praeclaros locos Latinos habent.”

He acknowledges that the system is not without error at the moment – and quite where he got the word ‘programmandi’, we’d really like to know. But, he points out, the company has one head start with so-called dead languages.

As he says, “Cum hoc instrumentum facile convertat libros similes his ex quibus edidicit, nostra virtus convertendi libros celebratos (ut Commentarios de Bello Gallico Caesaris) iam bona est.”

In addition, as nobody much is writing now in Latin, the amount of neologism is far lower than in living languages (though don’t think we’re forgetting bloody ‘programmandi’, Jakob), making it easier to stay up to date.

It needs a little improvement, though. Just try running Uszkoreit’s comments through Google Translate and you’ll see what we mean –  the result is decidedly inelegant compared with the subtle and rhythmic prose to which TechEye readers are used to.

Here, we aim to use a different language every mealtime to keep the little grey cells at their peak. Latin is Tuesday lunchtime, after which we tend to segue into Italian at dinner via cocktail hour chat in Romanian.

Latin then gets another outing for our regular Black Masses, obviously.