Introduction to Ricettario Vetrario del Rinascimento

Have I lost my mind? Most likely…

First, in the spirit of full disclosure, I do not speak Italian. I do not read Italian. I am in no way even marginally fluent in Italian. That being said, my first project to christen my new project log is to translate a 16th century Italian manuscript into English for the purpose of further research. How? Babelfish baby!

When I first got my hands on a copy of this document, I despaired in ever finding an English translation. I do not know anyone who is fluent in Italian and getting a professional translation done is out of my financial abilities at this time. For anyone who is unfamiliar with it:

the Babel fish is small, yellow, leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the universe. It feeds on brain wave energy, absorbing all unconscious frequencies and then excreting telepathically a matrix formed from the conscious frequencies and nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the brain, the practical upshot of which is that if you stick one in your ear, you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language: the speech you hear decodes the brain wave matrix.
(The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams)

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While I am still excited to learn the secrets of this manuscript, this project has started to take on a more technological/social experiment aspect. Can a computer program really translate something so technical as a 16th century manual on glass working accurately? Does this mean that language barriers are a thing of the past or will the increased reliance on such technology increase our misunderstanding of each other? I would be very curious to have a professional translator take a look at a few random Italian passages and translate them to English for me. I would like to see just how far off my Babelfish translations are.

Next Update: Discussion on the translation process and the first page translated.