Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Voynich & the non-English-speaking world...

The French Voynich mailing list I half-remembered and mentioned before turned out to be an online discussion forum on François Almaleh's website (his main Voynich site is here, which I guess is the skeleton of the Voynich book he was writing back in 2003). However, this died in 2004: you can see a copy in the Wayback Machine here. And therefore I don't think there is an active French Voynich mailing list at the moment, which is a shame after all the publicity gained there by the launch of the [near-]facsimile edition of the VMs "Le Code Voynich". You can even see this in the Google Trends curve for "Voynich": the big spike in the middle was the book release, and France remains at the top of the list of countries Googling for "Voynich".

Some people have posted bilingual Voynich websites: but even if your French is excellent (as Dennis Stallings' plainly is), this is a hard path to take and stick to, and one that removes a lot of the spontaneity of posting and updating web-pages.

Perhaps the simplest modern way to get ideas across to non-native-language readers would be to add a [Translate this page] button to your blog (as I've just done). Recently, I was even pleasantly surprised by the quality of Google's automatic translation from Chinese into English (though admittedly I was expecting it to come out like a mangled shopping list): and doubtless this will keep being improved. But given that quality issues remain, I'd really like to be able to embed translation hints in my text, particularly so that I can continue to post in my polyglot oral tongue stylee: but I somehow doubt that this is on Blogger's radar. I'm probably too early to this ball: but in 10 years' time, who knows...?

PS: I think a link to this blog was posted to the Yahoo mailing list: a big Guten Tag to you all there!

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