The Translation

For the translation, it is not required to have any prior knowledge of Arabic as long as you are dealing with one single word at a time, which is also where you should begin. We are capable of figuring out the  words from the manuscript based on my transcription map, or even better, based on the full transcription of the manuscript that was already made (this is a rough draft that was created automatically and must be post-edited in conjunction with the original manuscript).

We then enter the word that was found into “Google Translate”, where Roman letter typing is enabled, and the word itself must (at least) be delimited by a space. When that is done, the translation in English should appear, as well as the corresponding Arabic script.

This script can be verified by entering it into another translation tool (i.e., one that can better handle Classical Arabic). It could be the case that the translation results in useless garble, which would likely mean that several Arabic words are concatenated with each other. If this is the case, then they must be separated in order for the translation to render any useful, accessible result.

Here are a few examples from folio 71r:

.omeoalty. —> “my currency”
.omeolan. —> “accordance”
.otheoaly. —> otheo.aly —> “preaching to”
.omalethy. —> “what that”
.omalsan. —> —> “smooth”
.wsany. —> “and the second”
.omalaly. —> “Mullahs”

It’s an entirely different story if you want to translate a longer passage.

There are multiple complexities involved, such as interpreting the words that are in a specific form, detecting sentences and word delimitations, translating into Classical Arabic, and then translating into the target language English.

The procedure looks like this:
Voynich –> transcription (by character map)
–> morphological adaption, identifying word-, sentence boundaries (by
expert translator)
–> Arabic script (by translator)
–> Interpretative translation into target language (by expert translator).

Another complication manifested itself only after already having translated some material according to this method: The manuscript contains religious texts from Sufism, which indicates a very specific diction.

Fortunately, I was able to find a translator, Ms. Salam Al Kurdi, who has excellent knowledge of Arabic and English, and a great religio-historical background to offer.

Thanks to Ms. Al Kurdi, the sections of the manuscript available up to now are the translations below.

But one important note must be reported here:
It is shown that the content of the text included in the graphical representations is in no way related to the images themselves!

Translated parts of Voynich Manuscript:

1rP1 + translator’s remarks





2vP2 + morphological view + remarks

3r + morphological view + remarks

3vP1 + extensive description of the translating procedure.

10v       Complete:  Original -> Transliteration -> Translation !

11r +morphological view

58rP1 +morphological view + remarks

58rP2 +morphological view

58rP3 +morphological view + remarks

116rp7 +morphological view +remarks (the very last part of manuscript!)

(more to come).


5 Responses to “The Translation”

  1. Diane September 21, 2012 at 04:27 #

    I’m very sorry, but none of the links seem to work properly. When I try to read the translator’s remarks or your work, it doesn’t come out in Roman script. Are the translator’s remarks written in Arabic?

    • jodavoyar September 21, 2012 at 11:01 #

      For the translations: your operating software must supply .docx formats. Remarks are in English of course, at bottom of file.

      Everything else is .jpg or .pdf

      The links work!

      • Diane September 21, 2012 at 12:51 #

        That must be it; perhaps my programs don’t include the one you mention. Diane

  2. Diane January 12, 2013 at 00:40 #

    I think that if you’d like your translation to be read, it would be better to have it appear in Roman script here. I came to look up a section that I thought was near the beginning, about the book being dictated by a very old man. If it had been easily visible, I could have quoted it.

    • jodavoyar January 13, 2013 at 18:52 #

      I don’t understand: all my expositions are made in Roman (Latin) letters, except the translations (in docx-files) that must include Arabic scripts of course. instead of docx-files I have chosen now a new solution for presentation, here on folio 10v.
      The “old man dictating” was just an idea as to theory which was mentioned on the list, not so important for the solution.

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