Botanical Latin Translation

Peter Bostock pbostock at OZEMAIL.COM.AU
Fri Oct 27 20:07:23 CDT 1995

Dear Colleagues,

Since Nick Lander has let the cat out of the bag (I don't mind really) I
think it is time to give a bit of background information re my program
TRANSLAT. It translates [botanical] Latin more or less literally, but by
employing 1-word look ahead and 1-word look behind, it has facility to
decode phrases and also is aware in a dumb sort of way of some verbal
constructions etc. which have meanings beyond the simple translation of the
component words.

The program relies on brute force, aided by binary indexes on various
databases, to match stems and decode endings. Currently handles nouns (c.
1900 entries), adverbs & prepositions (1500), adjectives & participles
(2580), verbs (incl. deponents) (375), pronouns (including compounds) and
2-word phrases (130). The most recent version also has a stab at suggesting
the gender, case, number etc of words not in its databases. It is presently
implemented in Quick Basic 4.5 with various library extensions, and has been
tested (and works) on DOS 3.x to 6.22, and Windows 3.1x. It has not yet been
tested on Win95. I hope to port it to Visual Basic in the next few months,
which will facilitate transfer to 32-bit code for Win95. Currently
decodes/translates at average of 75 milliseconds per word on a 486/DX33.

Finally, it is free! Caveat emptor does not apply, but perhaps 'illud Latine
dici non potest'* (thank to Henricus Barbatus & Lingua Latine Occasionibus
Omnibus) does.

If anyone wants further information, contact me via email, or by normal mail
or phone at Queensland Herbarium. I would like to establish a gopher or FTP
site or sites, so if anyone wants to evaluate the program to see if they are
willing to take the risk of distributing it, please feel free to contact me.
At present, I am unable to deliver the program and data easily to all and
sundry. As a self-extracting zip file, it is between 380 and 450 kbytes, and
since I am on a commercial internet connection, I simply cannot afford to
email encoded information of this size. Thus far, I have only sounded out
ERIN (via Arthur Chapman) in Canberra, Aust., but have not yet followed
through as yet.

* illud    that/it(subj.){n.s.n}
  latine   in latin|in the latin language[adv./conj.]  <-- really a 1 word
  dici     to be said/called[pres.inf.pas.]
  non      not[adv./conj.]
  potest.  (he/she/it) is able

  TRANSLAT: That, in latin, is not able to be said.
  H.Beard:  You can't say that in Latin!

Peter D. Bostock
Senior Botanist, Queensland Herbarium
Meiers Road, Indooroopilly, Qld, Australia 4068
pbostock at  Fax: 61-7-389 69624  Phone: 61-7-389 69327
(note changed phone and fax numbers effective 24 July 1995)

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