New-to-me: Israel National News: Epic quest to document ‘miracle’ of Hebrew language. “Called the Historical Dictionary Project at Israel’s Academy of the Hebrew Language, it will serve as an invaluable resource for scholars, writers and linguists. But it will also act as an anchor for Hebrew, the ancient language revived in spoken form in the 19th century after some 1,700 years. Work completed so far is already available to the public online.” More information about the project is available at http://en.hebrew-academy.org.il/historical-dictionary-project/ .
The Atlantic: The Invisible Poems Hidden in One of the World’s Oldest Libraries. “The library at Saint Catherine’s Monastery is the oldest continually operating library in the world. Among its thousands of ancient parchments are at least 160 palimpsests—manuscripts that bear faint scratches and flecks of ink beneath more recent writing. These illegible marks are the only clues to words that were scraped away by the monastery’s monks between the 8th and 12th centuries to reuse the parchments. Some were written in long-lost languages that have almost entirely vanished from the historical record. But now these erased passages are reemerging from the past.”
Digital Trends: The British Museum Publishes The First 3D Scan Of The Rosetta Stone Online. “You no longer have to visit the British Museum in London to see the Rosetta Stone in detail. Last week, the museum published the first 3D scan of the famous slab of hieroglyphics online at Sketchfab, where it’s accompanied by the website’s new sound support feature.”
Batchelor Institute: First Nations Digital Language Archive Launched . “An exciting new website and digitisation project for collecting and archiving of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language materials has been launched at Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education June 29th. Known as the CALL Collection and jointly managed by Batchelor Institute’s Centre for Australian Languages and Linguistics (CALL) and the Batchelor Library, the archive includes materials that have been collected over the past 40 years by communities, students and staff.”
CNBC: Amazon is planning to rival Google with a service that translates languages. “Amazon already has machine-translation technology that it uses across the company to do things like provide product information in multiple languages. Now, the company is preparing to make it available through Amazon Web Services, said a source familiar with the matter. Amazon could announce the service before its annual re:Invent conference in Las Vegas in November.”
Inverse: Duolingo is Keeping Dying Languages on Life Support. “A language goes extinct every 14 days. Globalization hasn’t been kind to local cultures or their mediums of expression, but endangered languages may find a surprising digital hero in the app Duolingo. The president of Ireland certainly thinks so. In November 2016, he publicly thanked Duolingo for helping to save the Irish language (also known as Gaelic or Irish Gaelic): While there are only 100,000 native speakers of Irish, an incredible 3 million people are using Duolingo to learn the language.”
Digital Trends: This Font Translates Into 93 Languages Without Those Odd Missing Characters. “A font is just a font, right? Well, when fonts are translated into different languages, missing characters are often turned into empty boxes, with the result being text that is not exactly lost in translation, but lost within the limitations of the typeface. Massachusetts-based font company Monotype launched SST typeface earlier this week, a font that can be translated into 93 different languages without the hieroglyphic boxes.”