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Because English is the language of Science and Business and that not everybody speaks it, it could be frustrating to not understand an interesting technical text. That's when Ogden Basic English comes in.
We use a different approach for translation. When translating from one language to another, you lose information sometimes crucial. With Simplish, you lose nothing.
We are constantly working on Simplish. The more translations we make, the more Simplish learns and becomes more accurate. The good thing is that we never stop.
Simplish is the result of an artificial intelligence project realized by AVNTK. The main objective of this team effort is producing a means to reduce the number of words employed to convey knowledge, while substantially maintaining the information content. The Simplish wizard is an online tool that translates any text in English into its Basic English version, that is the same content written using only the 1,000 essential words in English that Charles K. Ogden defined for Basic English.
Making available this tool for use by the general public, through this site, we provide a useful service that our team is very happy to offer to those whose mother tongue is not English – particularly in the global scientific community – or people who need to understand quickly technical, complex texts without the help of an external person and without loosing any information of the content.
? That is cool, but what is that «Basic English» thing that you can't stop talking about ?
Good point. Basic English stands for British American Science International Commercial English. It has been developed by Charles Kay Ogden, an English linguist and philosopher, in the 1920's. The idea behind it is that you can say almost anything in English using a reduced vocabulary of 1,000 words and by redefining every concepts using those essential words. It has also some simplified grammar rules that allows you to express in a correct but easy way. Let's hear what Wikipedia has to say about it.
Basic English, also known as Simple English, is an English-based controlled language created (in essence as a simplified subset of English) by linguist and philosopher Charles Kay Ogden as an international auxiliary language, and as an aid for teaching English as a Second Language. It was presented in Ogden's book Basic English: A General Introduction with Rules and Grammar (1930). [...] What survives today of Ogden's Basic English is the basic 850-word list used as the beginner's vocabulary of the English language taught worldwide, especially in Asia.Wikipedia about Basic English
? Hey ! It says 850 words, not 1'000...
I can't loose you, well done. We used 1,000 words because Mr. Ogden himself precised that, even though those 850 words allows you to understand and say almost everything, you can complete the list with international and technical words to have the vocabulary necessary for the everyday work and life. So we added 100 words required for any general field such as Science and 50 internationally recognized words to obtain a total of 1,000 words that enable successful communication.
? Nice, do you provide a list of those words ?
Of course we do. You can find such a list in the alphabetic listing that we made up. We also provide the entire Basic English course that Charles Ogden invented. Oh, it's online and free. Isn't that great ?
English is the international language. Moreover, in technical fields such as Science, Medicine, Business or Law, English is the official language. In 2012, 55% of the internet content was written in English. These are sufficient reasons to know English if you want to understand text in those fields. Of course, you can use translation tools to translate a text in English to any other languages. But they are in general of very low quality due to the complexities of correctly deriving the equivalence between words and phrases in two distinct natural languages. Translation is difficult for numerous reasons, including :
It is toward a computational «understanding» of these idiosyncrasies that many artificial intelligence research efforts have been directed, and their limited success testifies to the complexity of the problem. An alternative is to interact in a language which is widely understood and which many people wish to learn, even if at a basic conversational level, in order to interact and be entertained, as it is the case with the English language. The difficulty then arises of how to assimilate complex material even if only a colloquial level of knowledge is available.
? So basically, you are telling me that you translate from English to English ?
You are right. And this is because when translating from a language to another, you are losing information. What we found out is that, using Basic English, even though you lose in readability of text, you lose much less information. Which is precious. Actually, where complex or ambiguous material is being turned from English into a reduced-vocabulary representation, there will be some loss of semantic content. However, material of a legal, business, scientific and technological nature is normally specifically produced in a way that seeks to be both precise and clear, and is therefore amenable to a reduced-vocabulary representation. You should read the section Basic English for Artificial Intelligence if you are interested by the topic.
?It is getting clearer, but can I see examples ?
Nothing is better than a concrete interactive example. When entering a text in the field above and after clicking the Translate button, you will be asked to chose between various options. Change them in the box below to see the difference.
Your text contains XX words.
Translation estimated time is YY seconds.
And this is the result you will obtain :
Neurons continue to grow throughout human life. For years scientists and doctors thought that brain and neural tissue couldn’t grow or regenerate. While it doesn’t act in the same manner as tissues in many other parts of the body, neurons can and do grow throughout your life, adding a whole new dimension to the study of the brain and the illnesses that affect it.
Neurons1 go on to grow throughout mankind living. For years men of science and medical experts thought that brain and of the nerves tissue couldn’t grow or regenerate. While it doesn’t act in the same way as tissues in many other parts of the body, neurons1 can and do grow throughout your living, adding a complete new measure to the work-room of the brain and the diseases that act on it.
Here is the color code we use to help you understand the translation :