What Language Is This? 5 Tools to Identify Unknown Languages
Have you come across a language that you can’t identify? Even if you don’t speak multiple languages, it can be useful to know what a language is just by looking at it.
Let’s look at some language finder services to show you which language you’re looking at.
You’ve probably used Google Translate before. But did you know that it has a “detect language” feature that lets you work with unknown languages?
To use it, copy some text in the unknown language and head to Google Translate. Paste your text in the box on the left. Above this, you should see a Detect Language option. If this doesn’t appear, click the dropdown arrow to show all supported languages and select Detect Language.
After a moment, the Detect Language text should change to [Language]—Detected. This lets you easily identify a language and see what the text says, to boot.
Google Translate offers a lot of cool features on its mobile apps , too. There you can translate handwriting or even use your camera to translate text in front of you.
This aptly named tool identifies any language when you paste or type text into it. It doesn’t translate the text, but that’s not a big deal if you only want to know which language the text is in.
After entering your text, give it a second and you’ll see what language you have. In cases where several languages are similar, the tool will suggest possible other languages. When this happens, you should try pasting a different sample from the source so you can confirm which language it is.
Here’s another simple tool to help you find out about unknown languages. Simply enter some text and you’ll see its best guess instantly. The service supports 102 languages, so chances are that whatever you’re looking for is here.
There aren’t any frills, aside from the Pick a random language button if you want to challenge yourself to identify languages on your own.
Looking to detect a language from an image? Yandex Translate’s image translation tool makes this easy. Simply upload an image from your computer or drag it onto the page and the service will detect the language in the image.
Like Google Translate, auto-detect should be enabled by default. If it’s not, click the language name at the top-left and check Auto detect. The text will then change to show which language is in the image.
If you like, select the language you want to translate to on the right. Then you can click text in the image to display it in your language.
5. Language Identification Games
You’ll find many tools to help you tell what a language is that are almost identical to the above. For something a little different, why not try a website that challenges you to identify various languages? Not only is it enjoyable, but spending a bit of time with these languages will help you to identify them in the future.
LingYourLanguage is a great site for this. It allows you to play by yourself or in multiplayer mode in four difficulty levels: Easy, Regular, Hard, and Omniglot.
On each stage, you’ll hear a clip in a certain language and must pick the correct answer from a few choices. After you answer, click a language to learn a bit more about it if you like. You only have a limited number of lives, so see how high you can score!
The game contains over 2,000 samples in 80 languages, so there’s plenty to discover.
Another fun game like this is Language Squad. It offers both Audio and Alphabet challenges. Audio is a lot like LingYourLanguage, and offers four difficulty levels that progressively include more languages to increase the challenge level.
Alphabet, as you’d expect, presents you with a text sample of a language and asks you to identify it from several choices. Pick from Easy or Hard mode depending on the number of languages you want in the pool.
If you’re interested in general language identification, these will help you spot certain characters and phrases more easily.
Learn Language Basics to Better Identify Them
We’ve looked at five ways to quickly identify what language you’re looking at. Whether you want to identify a picture or text on a website, it’s not hard with these resources.
If you want to take this a step further, consider learning the basics of several languages. This will increase your knowledge of the world’s tongues and help you identify the differences between languages more easily. Have a look at the best language learning apps to get started.
Image Credit: Kanko*/Flickr
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