Hieroglyphics Translator

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This is an Egyptian hieroglyphics translator. Put your English text in the first box and it'll do it's best to translate it to Egyptian hieroglyphics in the output box.

Important Notes

A few important things that you should be aware of regarding this hieroglyphics translator:

Firstly, this translator does a phonetic translation (or more accurately, transliteration). The Egyptian "alphabet" was never official, but amongst the many hierglyphic symbols there were about 24 different symbols which represented simple vocal sounds and which were used very much like the letters of the English alphabet. Each of these 24 characters are called "unilaterals" - "uni" coming from the fact that they represent a single sound. There are Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbols for combinations of sounds too, like this one:

nfr hieroglyphic trilateral

Which represents a cluster of three consonants: "nfr" (which was the sound of the Egyptian word for "good, beautiful, perfect"). Since it represents 3 sounds, it's called a trilateral. This translator only converts to the 24 basic unilaterals, since higher level -laterals like "nfr" aren't common sounds in English. There's more info on trilaterals and phonetic reading on this wiki page. The bit about "phonetic complements" is very interesting.

The word "nfr" also gives you a clue about another aspect of the ancient Egyptian writing system: very few vowel sounds are included in written words. The reader is expected to fill in the vowels when pronouncing the word. Historians and linguists apparently tend to insert the "eh" sound between consonants to make words pronouncable in English.

I've tried to make this translator as accurate as possible, but it's a work in progress (please let me know if you spot errors!). It's almost certainly more accurate than the other translators available right now if you Google "hieroglyphics translator" - they just do a direct substitution and don't even consider the English pronunciation of the words during the translation. On top of that, they often get the substitions wrong too! This translator certainly isn't perfect, but it's at least based on up to date research on the topic, and consideres English pronunciation during the translation process. I'm no expert with this stuff, just an interested amateur, so again, if you spot any errors please let me know!

Another important note is that spaces and punctuation weren't a thing in the Egyptian hierglyphic system. This is common across ancient writing systems, but I've included spaces because I imagine most people using this would like to see some word boundaries. If you'd like to translate to hieroglyphics without spaces, then just translate as normal, but then click into the hieroglyphics box and remove the spaces manually.

Also, the reading direction varies across the historical corpus, but right-to-left was the most common. However, left-to-right (like English) was used as well, and so I've followed the left-to-right for ease of reading (many scholars do the same). One crucial point though (no matter which was it's written) is that the animal and human hieroglyphs myst face the start of the line. That is, the must face in the opposite direction that the text is read.

Okay, that turned into a bit of a wall of text, but I hope it was useful if you've read this far. And if you're interested in this stuff, and how this translator works, then check out this phonetic table and this wiki page for more details on hieroglyphs in general.

Thanks

A huge thanks to Lene Kristiansen for creating and publishing a hieroglyphics font! I had to edit the font a bit to include the "ch" and "sh" sounds.

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