SOURCE: University of Advancing Technology

August 23, 2007 06:00 ET

UAT Instructor Creates Cuneiform and Hieroglyphic Translator

TEMPE, AZ--(Marketwire - August 23, 2007) - University of Advancing Technology (UAT) instructor and senior web developer Joe McCormack has completed work on a web-based application that translates English words into cuneiform script from the Assyrian, Babylonian, Sumerian and the hieroglyphic script of Egyptian. The tool may be seen at his website,

The translator works by converting cuneiform and hieroglyphs, both used in the earliest forms of writing, into English words. For example, typing "I am a father" into the Ancient Egyptian translator yields hieroglyphs that roughly translate to "I am" and "father." The translator has been featured on several museum websites around the world and websites specializing in resources for the ancient world.

McCormack, a UAT web developer by trade, worked more than 1,000 hours on researching the cuneiform and hieroglyphic and building the tool and its accompanying website. Inspiration for the project stemmed from his fascination with the science fiction television series "Stargate SG-1," which featured ancient Egyptian mythology and symbols as plot points. These caught McCormack's eye and lead to his research.

The website translator engine took approximately an hour to create, with the language database occupying two hundred hours to line up cuneiforms and hieroglyphics with text descriptors and make a hierarchy to prioritize the information.

"One of the reasons something as big as what I've done hasn't been done before is that there are thousands and thousands of symbols," said McCormack.

McCormack is talking with museums and institutions to garner further exposure. In particular, the Egyptian translator has been a hit; more than half of the 1,100 daily hits stem from the Egyptian hieroglyphic alone. More than 30 countries in six continents are using the website for translations.

About UAT: The University of Advancing Technology is a unique, private college that serves its student body by fostering knowledge creation and academic excellence in an environment that embraces the young technophiles of the world. With three centers of research and a suite of technology-centered undergraduate and graduate degrees, the University is a recognized leader in technology education.

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    Alan Hromas
    University of Advancing Technology
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