Basic English ? Text translation ?

Fair enough, let's start by what Simplish is.

Simplish is the result of an artificial intelligence project led 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 simplifies 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 losing 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 lose 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 ?

Now, why has Simplish been developed ?

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 :

  • the lack of one-to-one word correspondences among languages
  • the existence in every language of homonyms
  • the fact that natural grammars are idiosyncratic

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 understand 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 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 ?

Sure. Check the next section about how does Simplish work. You can also visit our examples page where you will find more translated texts or test it by yourself.

Finally, how does it work ?

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.

Chose your options

And this is the result you will obtain :

Takuya Sato at Yokohama City University in Japan and colleagues extracted germ cells from the testes of newborn mice that had not yet begun producing sperm. They placed the cells in agarose gel soaked in nourishing chemicals and hormones such as fetal bovine serum and testosterone. The team had first engineered the mice so that a protein only present in fully grown sperm would fluoresce green. Sure enough, around one month later, the team spotted the glowing protein in nearly half of their samples.

Takuya Sato at Yokohama City University in Japan and persons having like-position got from germ cells 1 from the testes 2 of fresh after birth small rat-like animals that had not yet started producing sperm 3. They placed the cells 4 in agarose 5 gel 6 made wet in making stronger chemicals 7 and hormones 8 such as fetal 9 bovine 10 serum 11 and testosterone 12. The group had first engineered the small rat-like animals so that a protein 13 only present in fully grown sperm 3 would fluoresce 14 green. sure enough, around one month later, the group spotted the glowing 15 protein 13 in nearly half of their samples 16.

germ cells
Any CELL whose purpose is the producing of a new plant or animal, specially the male or female sex-cell. Continue reading.
testes
The part of the body of a male animal producing SPERMATOZOA. Continue reading.
sperm
SPERMATOZOON or SPERMATOZOID; SEMEN. Continue reading.
cells
Unit of structure of plants and animals having a NUCLEUS small hollow, walled space. Continue reading.
agarose
a POLYSACCHARIDE obtained from AGAR. Continue reading.
gel
Become a gel. Continue reading.
chemicals
Of, to do with, used in, chemistry. Continue reading.
hormones
Any of the substances produced by the ENDOCRINE GLANDS, which are taken by the blood to different parts of the body and have a special effect on their working. Continue reading.
fetal
fetus, See FOETAL, FOETUS. Continue reading.
bovine
Of, to do with, animals of the GENUS Bos, such as the cow. Continue reading.
serum
The water-like part separating from a body-liquid when it goes solid, specially from the blood; any thin, water-like liquid forming part of the body of an animal. Continue reading.
testosterone
A male HYDROXY STEROID KETONE (C19H28O2) SEX-HORMONE produced by the TESTES or made by man by chemical processes. Continue reading.
protein
Any of a great and important group of complex natural substances, forming a great part of all living material, in the form of long CHAINS of AMINO-ACIDS, into which they may be broken up by HYDROLYSIS, needed in food for body-building and got chiefly from meat, cheese, eggs, and fish. Continue reading.
fluoresce
Have the property of fluorescence, or be in the process of fluorescence. Continue reading.
glowing
The process of giving out light as a result of FLUORESCENCE. Continue reading.
samples
A small amount of some material, substance or measurement of a physical quantity taken as an example at some time, for testing purposes and the like, as a sample of ORE. Continue reading.

Here is the color code we use to help you understand the translation :

Black
Words in Black don't change between the two versions.
Green
Words in Green mean they have been translated adequately.
Purple
Words in Purple display a further explanation in foot notes.
Blue
Words in Blue contain two or more possible meanings (a tooltip is provided for these words, place the mouse cursor on top of blue words to see possible meanings).
Orange
Words in Orange are not currently available in Basic English.
Red
Words in Red are names, special terms or not recognized by the translating tool.