Us is riht micel ðæt we rodera weard, wereda wuldorcining, wordum herigen, modum lufien. He is mægna sped, heafod ealra heahgesceafta, frea ælmihtig. Næs him fruma æfre, or geworden, ne nu ende cymþ ecean drihtnes, ac he bið a rice ofer heofenstolas.
Right is it that we praise the King of heaven, the Lord of hosts, and love Him with all our hearts. For He is great in power, the Source of all created things, the Lord Almighty. Never hath He known beginning, neither cometh an end of His eternal glory.
— Old English Book of Genesis
The problem I’ve encountered as I’ve gained an interest in Old English is that there is an extremely limited literary base and there are not very many people studying it. As a result, the best kind of “translator” one can find online for Old English, or Anglo-Saxon, is an online dictionary—which, while helpful, cannot translate complete sentences in the wondrous fashion of Google Translate and friends.
I wanted to change that by designing an accessible algorithm for statistical machine translation and make it easier to translate dying, extinct, or just defunct languages with limited written text available, and I wrote a pretty cool paper on my process, below.