|Why is it not possible to use google translate for
the lain words of elements of the periodic table?
|Question Date: 2017-12-12|
You can! However, the success of the
translation depends on the element. For example,
if you go to the wikipedia page for the element
lead, you will see its periodic table symbol,
Pb, comes from is the latin word
plumbum. If you put the word plumbum into
google translate latin-->english it will translate
it to lead.
Remember, not all elements have a latin root! For
example, the element lithium, comes from
the greek word lithos, which means stone.
Of course in that situation, you cant google
translate latin-->english starting with a greek
Hope that helps!
A lot of the elements' names aren't in
Latin. For example, various higher elements
are named for famous scientists or their labs or
countries. When I put words like 'carbon' or
'oxygen' in the Latin google translate, it gives
me the English translations of carbon and oxygen.
For 'Natrium', the English translation is
'Sodium,' so the Latin google translator seems to
have worked for me.
Some of the Latin-looking words for the
elements may actually come from Greek or other
languages such as Spanish. For the words that are
really based on Latin, most of them take a
Latin root - "root" meaning a small part of
a word, a base/platform that already had some
meaning in Latin - and add prefixes/suffixes or
even change the form a little so that typing the
word directly into Google doesn't give back the
meaning of the original root or base. The other
reason is that Google Translate is not
comprehensive in terms of all the possible
meanings and combinations of meanings in
Latin. This tool is meant to be a fast
resource for everyday usages of commonly occurring
languages, but not for detailed studies of
languages. However, Google Translate does have
some. For instance, the name for the element
silicon comes from the Latin word "silex", which
in Latin means "flint". Typing "silex" into Google
Translate, translating from Latin to English,will
give you the meaning "flint", but typing "silicon"
in will only get back the word "silicon".
In short, part of the reason is that we're not
using the right roots, and part of the reason is
the nature of Google Translate. The other thing to
point out is that we have names for elements that
are different from their abbreviations. An example
is tin, which has the abbreviation of Sn. Sn is an
abbreviation for "stannum", which means "tin" in
Latin, but we don't say "stannum" in English for
this element. Languages are complex, the
translation between languages is oftentimes
difficult, and science is no exception to the
quirks of languages.
Great question! Elements and their abbreviated
symbols are mostly determined by the belement
discoverer. In today's world, elements and
their symbols must be approved by the IUPAC
(International Union of Pure and Applied
Chemistry). The full acceptance criteria can be
found on the IUPAC :
Many element names are derived from Latin, but
many are also derived from Greek, French, Russian,
Swedish, Italian, English, and others. Some names
are derived from other words, and are not based on
a specific language at all. Elements named in
Roman time used the suffix (or word ending)
"-um," and that practice is continued today
with the suffix "-ium." Thus the element
aluminum would not translate from its Latin word
"alumen." Language is further complicated because
the Latin word alumen is based on the root "alum"
which translates to "bitter salt."
The key point is that element names are based
on words, but rarely use the actual word. So
element names are internationally recognized and
do not translate to any other words. You have to
understand what the root word is to be able to
translate an element's name.
There is a long and rich history of how
elements got their names, and a great summary can
be found in this BBC Science article:
how we name them . This article from
Scientific American also provides a great
explanation for how element symbols are
Because the makers of the Google search engine
didn't program it to be able to translate elements
of the periodic chart. Fortunately, if you want to
look up the origins of the words for the various
elements, Wikipedia can do what Google can't
(Wikipedia is not an authoritative source, but it
will have links to the references that are).
Click Here to return to the search form.
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