Translating The "Gibberish"

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This topic contains 45 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Dimple 1 month ago.

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  • #3477 Reply


    Glad to hear it.

    Bab came from the pattern that many “cryptic-like” languages use monosyllabic names for their language.
    Babellian just sounded nice.
    Librarian is a more logical interpretation of this language.

    I’ve been interested in languages since I was 11 or 12. Latin was my first love. Later Arabic, then Russian, followed by Mandarin Chinese, Dutch, Lojban, and recently Chippewa/Ojibwe. Roughly a language from each corner of the world.

    #3484 Reply


    I just thought of a FANTASTIC method of gaining more words. I’ll have to do a bit more thinking into it. It may screw up a couple rules, but I believe that a larger vocabulary for a library so vast is important.

    Once I think it through, I’ll draw up a diagram and post it.

    #3514 Reply

    Jeff Vass

    This thread shows an exciting and positive line of research. I am excited anticipating the realisation of many ideas here. I am not sure if I am too much of a Library purist if I were to ask whether any of the translation codings refered to here should be sought among the extant volumes in the library? Seeking the volume containing the translation code…hmmm is that better than imagining the code in advance (and commiting a kind of plagiarim)? So many questions this amazing site raises!

    #3523 Reply


    I thought I might contribute to this, ciphers are great. I had an idea for representing strings of binary in a language format. (here)

    If we thought of the letters as numbers, while it could be quite complicated, encoding, combining, then translating the words could be a quite safe system of coming up with something. For example, every string of letters between symbols could be a single word.

    The best way I can think of for listing words would be by using a list of lemmas lemmas, especially due to the fact they are very code compatible, and sorted by frequency. Perhaps a system that substitutes the most often found patterns may substitute them for the most frequent words.

    I can imagine many combinations we could come up with that could easily translate into words.

    #3596 Reply


    I translated a random page, and skipping long strings of letters, I got this:

    “jsrt, ehkdb, tph, oly”

    Woman Dream About Leader-You,

    Think About Colors, They Touch You.

    You, Writer, Taste-

    See- Love- Faithfully.

    However, I’m not sure if I did it right. It’s an amazing idea, though, truly 🙂

    #3732 Reply


    This is a great idea! I believe that the language should simply be named “Babel”, thus The Library of Babel would be a place for writings in Babel. Just my thoughts though.

    #3947 Reply


    Why not use the top 26 words of each part of speech for the translation tables?

    #3960 Reply

    Jonathan Basile

    It’s also interesting to use a vocabulary that produces more mystical-sounding or even Borgesian statements.

    Of course, ultimately, there’s no need to settle on just one language or just one vocabulary.

    #3977 Reply


    PWRBTTN – Thanks again for the suggestions, Librarian is my favorite so far. I also like languages, but I don’t generally have the patience for them. Oh well… I can’t what to see what you have in mind!

    Mr. Vass – Searching for the translation tables in the library would be like searching for anything, it would take a very long time. But I understand what you mean.

    Eli – Such a system would be complicated, but you’re right about what one could come up with. I wanted to make a language, however, that would be simple for humans to read or write.

    Julia – I’m not sure you’re doing it quite right, but you have the right idea! ‘oly’, for example, is ‘it faithfully loves’.

    Mark – Thanks for the suggestion, I like getting input from people! I am honestly thinking that Librarian could be the best name, especially seeing that, in the book, it was mentioned that it was once thought that the first Librarians wrote the books.

    TheNuclearNewt – I had to design the vocabulary so that it would flow coherently. I also don’t want too much repetition of certain words, while others should be more common.

    Mr. Basile – You are absolutely correct about using different vocabularies and even languages. This seems like it could definitely become a part of an overall community language, and could evolve with it as such. If others would like to create different systems, to create pictures, mathematics, or even more out of the randomness, an entire system could be created to translate the entire library.

    #3988 Reply


    I would really like to write an algorithm to decode any “gibberish” with this language! As I have already stated I would want to use it with librarians in the 3D library who could then translate what they find in the books. I’ll try to make it scalable so that you could easily change around the vocabulary and also increase the size of the word-IDs in combination with a much bigger vocabulary; That way the librarians might also have different sets of vocabulary and therefore translate the same passage in different ways. For example one might have a mystical set of words while another would only use very technical vocabulary… Creating these different vocabulary sets does sound like a great community project to me!

    #4002 Reply


    While I think this would make a wonderful community project, I think we should make sure that it is consistent, with one, community managed standard, or maybe a few different dialects. I also want to make it so that the same text can be read the same way each time, mostly regardless of interpretation (there are of course, things which require interpretation, but they should be relatively minor, just like in translating natural languages).

    Take, for example, Linux. There are hundreds of different distros, but there are a few which stand out as the main ones (Debian, Fedora, Linux Mint, etc.).

    I don’t think that it would be a good idea to let this project splinter into a thousand different pieces. So let’s go ahead and develop a new coherent system, with multiple vocabulary tables, new grammar, etc. I’m just saying that we should make it into a sort of single standard, which could have a few dialects in the future.

    #4047 Reply

    Jonathan Basile

    But its the library OF BABEL! Language splintering into a thousand different pieces is what it’s all about!

    Seriously though, I think it’s a good idea for folks who work together on it to have a unified goal in mind, but I also think that we should encourage everyone to create the languages most interesting to them.

    I have a github account we can use to get things started if folks want to – although I’m in the middle of some writing projects right now and probably can’t contribute much to the coding in the near future. If someone else has an account they want to use to get the collaboration going that’s fine by me too.


    #4115 Reply


    Remember the story of the Tower of Babel: when the languages split, their entire project was ruined. Being able to translate something into something meaningful to yourself is great, but it still isn’t much use to everybody as a whole if everyone has their own language, because no one would be able to communicate! Of course, everyone has ideas, and some of them are really great. That’s why I think we should try to develop one single standard which works, more or less, for everyone. And, like I said, a few (4-5 at most) different dialects could be developed for slightly different purposes just like the aforementioned Linux example.

    #6480 Reply


    To address the problem of not having enough letter translations: What if each letter had tiered meanings? As in, there would be primary meanings, secondary meanings, tertiary meanings, and so on. This is a concept somewhat akin to that of Phillip Pullman’s alethioneter, where each symbol on the device has a “ladder” of meanings (as he describes it). The only problem would be determining which tier, or “rung”, you are on when translating a sentence. Perhaps there can be 26 translations for each letter, and the letter that immediately follows the first letter is translated into a number (I.e. a=1, b=2, etc.), which corresponds with which translation tier the first word is interpreted as. I don’t know if this makes any sense from a linguistics perspective, but maybe someone more knowledgeable than I could refute or improve upon this idea.


    #6481 Reply


    Alethiometer, sorry.

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