Category Archives: Translation Project


Translating to Belorussian…

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from Patricia C., asking me if she could translate my post Hey Lasers – Happy 50th Birthday! into Belorussian (her mother tongue).  Of course I was happy to agree, asking as my only ‘payment’ if she would send me the Belorussian translation of “Space Elevator”.

A few days ago, she sent me another email saying that this was complete.  You can find her translation of my blog post here.

And, the Belorussian equivalent of Space Elevator is “???????? ????”.

Thanks Patricia!

Videos from Japan’s first Space Elevator Games

What does the above screenshot (which I absolutely LOVE) have to do with the Japan Space Elevator Games?  Bear with me…

One of the items which recently popped up into my RSS Reader was a story discussing Japan’s first Space Elevator Game competition (JSETEC).  This competition took place just a couple of weekends ago (August 8th and 9th) and I had previously posted about it (here) and included some pictures that Shuichi Ohno, President of the Japan Space Elevator Association (JSEA) had sent me.

This news story (from – addicted to Japan!) had a video from the competition, a very interesting one which gave a climbers-eye view of the winning entrant.



When I saw this video, I immediately thought of the similar-type video that was shot from the Kansas City Space Pirates’ Climber during the 2007 Video Games.



The video of the climber from the Japan Space Elevator Games was from the winning entrant, WARRSETEAM, a team from Germany.  I think I’ve posted about this team before, but I’m not sure it’s them – when I click on the link in my previous posting to their team website I get the infamous ‘404‘ message.  Anyway, the WARRSETEAM video in this post shows them climbing 120 meters in 25 seconds, about 4.8 meters / second.  To be eligible for the $2 Million prize in the US Space Elevator Games, the climber has to travel 5 meters / second.  Yes, I know, it has to be over a full kilometer and it has to be beam powered (the Climbers in the Japanese Games were battery powered), but it’s very instructive to see what nearly 5 meters / second looks like.  The Climber is zipping right along, no doubt about it…

Anyway, if you go to YouTube and do a search on WARRSETEAM, you see that they have their own channel with 5 videos in it.  The first three show their climber in various stages of development while the other two show competition runs.

Now, to relate this back to the Moose, before I got smart and searched on WARRSETEAM, I first tried using “weltraumaufzug” (the German translation of “Space Elevator”) as my search term and turned up this gem;



This is apparently a German-language news show, which gives a quick overview of several subjects.  One of the was the Space Elevator and Space Elevator Games and they showed a) where the competition is being held this year and b) a photo of the winning USST team from the last Games.  The lead-in to the story was the picture at the beginning of the post.  Next to the moose and his girlfriend is the term “Weltraumaufzug”, which is German for “Space Elevator”.

So you see?  It all relates.  Incidentally, there are several other “Weltraumaufzug” YouTube videos, so I’ve got some more stuff to search.  And it occurs to me that I have the translation of Space Elevator in several other languages so I can do even more searches…

Finally (and totally off topic), I’m adding this blog to my RSS feeds – there is some really cool stuff on it.  They have a video of two teenage girls “popping”.  These girls can dance!


New ISEC Team Member

In March of 2008, I started a project to translate the phrase “Space Elevator” into as many languages as possible.  You can view the current state of this effort by clicking on the “Translation Project” tab at the top of this blog.  I’ve not had time to pursue this lately, and we at the International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) decided to a) find someone who would volunteer to take charge of this project and b) move the project from the Space Elevator Blog to the ISEC website.

I am very pleased to announce that Jan Bilek, a long-time Space Elevator enthusiast, has volunteered to take on this task.  Jan will be actively soliciting translations through his contacts and I’m confident that he will be able to move this project forward.  The Space Elevator will benefit all humanity and I think it is only fitting that we who are actively promoting this idea be able to communicate at least the name of the concept in as many languages as possible.

I asked Jan to ‘say’ a few words and here is his response:

“Thank you for the opportunity to join the ISEC team, I’m very much looking forward to working together. I hope that our work with other volunteers will help to bring this great idea, and an understanding of it, to a worldwide audience.”

Thanks Jan – we welcome you to the ISEC team and we truly appreciate your willingness to do this.

Those of you who have translations for the phrase Space Elevator can send them to Jan-public [at]  Extra credit for translations into Klingon, Vulcan or Romulan… ?

More Space Elevator news catch-up…

Continuing from the last post, here are a few more odds ‘n ends relating to the Space Elevator which have occurred lately…

And what is this, you might ask?  It’s how you write “Space Elevator” in Armenian.  At the July Space Elevator conference in Redmond, I had the pleasure to meet Karen Ghazaryan.  He gave a talk on Sunday entitled; “Stability of Superconducting Cable Used for Transportation of Electrical Current from Space“.  In the lunch period afterwards, I chatted with him and took the opportunity to ask him to add Armenian to my Translation Project.  He graciously consented and now we have it.  Oh, by the way, the pronunciation is “Tiyezerakan Verelak”.  Thank you Karen!

The Space Elevator skeptics are having their say…  Recently I linked to an article on Discovery Space from Spaceward‘s Ben Shelef, discussing benefits that a Space Elevator will bring.  Discovery Tech has now posted an ‘opposing viewpoint’ from Italian professor Nicola M. Pugno.  His objection is that inherent defects in carbon nanotubes will prevent it from ever being strong enough to create a Space Elevator tether (he’s weighed in on this before).  But he’s not an opponent of the idea as he says that his team has come up with a plan to build a ‘flaw-tolerant’ tether.  Professor Pugno is my kind of skeptic – find an objection and then find a way to overcome it.

Here is a posting from another skeptic, (‘Space Elevator’ idea almost as stupid as the ISS), in which the author gives no reasons it won’t work – just quotes one of the of the articles which came out of “Japan is building a Space Elevator craze” and says that we need to restart Project Orion if we really want to get to space.  And in the same vein, here’s a skeptic who argued that a Laser powered climber isn’t practical, only to then have a REAL laser expert (Dr. Jordin Kare – a member of the Lasermotive team, among other distinctions) disagree.  Dr. Kare’s money quote: “There are certainly reasons to be skeptical about space elevators, but the laser power transmission system really isn’t one.”  Read the whole exchange and make up your own mind.  I don’t mind skeptics, I just mind those who haven’t bothered to do their homework.

Speaking of Dr. Kare, he was recently a speaker at the Space Solar Power conference in Florida.  Some of his remarks were captured (by blogger Transterrestial Musings) along with other, relevant, power-beaming comments.

And for our final “skeptic” note, here’s someone who is not a skeptic that Space Elevator can be built, but is afraid that it won’t be we Americans who do it.  I hope he’s wrong – he might not be.

I’ve already talked about the swell of publicity that surrounded the Online Times story about the Japanese “building a space elevator’, but one more article, this one from the Russian media, is worth noting.  The author, Yuri Zaitsev, talks about the Space Elevator, in general, (and notes that it’s a Russian invention) and he also talks about tether experiments in space – which I found interesting.  I love to hear what the Russians have to say about the Space Elevator.  In some ways, their space program equals or exceeds ours.  They have everything they need to build a Space Elevator (except the tether, of course, which we’re all waiting on).  I’ve previously posted about the ‘Russian perspective’ (here, here and here) which is very valuable, of course, but who can forget the travesty that they visited on Madonna…

And, moving from Madonna to Dr. Bryan Laubscher, Bryan recently gave a talk at the Bellevue Community College about the promise and challenges of building a Space Elevator.  Let’s hope that he has inspired at least one or two people to join this effort.

Finally, here’s an article from the Saskatoon asking the public which of five proposals would they support for a ‘destination center’ (a Canadian euphemism, I think, for ‘tourist stop’).  One of the possibilities is; “Innovation showcase: U of S is interested in partnering with the museum and creativity centre in one connected space. The university is looking at showcasing the innovative projects students create, such as components for the space elevator, for example.”  ‘U of S’ is, I’m sure, the University of Saskatchewan and THAT means the USST team.

And that nearly catches us up.  My next post will have some cool new space-elevator graphics that I’ve found – along with a few other bits and pieces that have showed up in my search engines…

(Picture of Madonna from here.  Picture of Dr. Laubscher from here.  Picture of Professor Pugno from here.  Click on any of them for a larger version.)

New translations…

Additional translations for “Space Elevator” have been added to the Translation Project tab.

First, we now have the pronounciation for the Hindi translation, ‘Anthariksh elevator’.  This was sent to me by Ravi Shankar (he of KC Space Pirates fame, not the Sitar player 🙂 )

Next, we now have a Latin translation; Ascensor ad astra.  This was sent to me by Martin Lades, an organizer of the recent Space Elevator Conference and also a member of the KC Space Pirates team).

We now also have a Hebrew translation (ma’alit Khalal) courtesy of Ben Shelef (he of the Spaceward Foundation).

Finally, Ben introduced me to “Leet speak” – something which I was unfamiliar with.  There are several possible versions of Space Elevator in “Leet”, but the one from the Speak Converter gives us 5P4(3 3L3\/470R

This makes 31 translations – only about a million more to go 🙂

More translation updates

I’ve added three more translations on my Translation Project page; Estonian, Esperanto and Pig Latin 🙂

The Estonian translation (and it’s English pronunciation) was kindly sent to me by Marko Mänd – thanks Marko!

The Esperanto and Pig Latin translations came from some translator programs on the web…

Tom Nugent, of LaserMotive fame, suggested that I get a Klingon translation – what a great idea!  I visited all of the web-based Klingon translators I could find and they either a) did not work or b) did not provide me a translation.  So, all of you Trekkies out there, if you can provide me with a Klingon (or Vulcan or Romulan) translation of “Space Elevator”, that would be uber-cool…

Incidentally, I’ve added a new “Post Category”, that of “Translation Project”.  This way readers can see the evolution of this project over time.

Two other notes:

First, AA (who sent me the Greek translation and also the incredibly detailed English pronunciation guide), also pointed me towards a Greek-language article on the Space Elevator.  You can find it here.

Second, one of the presenters at the conference, Dr. Karen Ghazaryan, was Armenian.  He gave a talk (“Stability of Superconducting Cable Used for Transportation of Electrical Current from Space“).  While perfectly understandable, it was obvious that English was not his first language.  At the end of his talk, someone from the audience asked him a question.  This person, I believe, was Russian.  They quickly switched into Russian for their dialogue while the rest of us looked on.  However, I was able to understand one phrase he used, “Cosmeecheski Leeft”, as that is Russian for “Space Elevator”.  So this project has already produced a tangible benefit for me 🙂

22JUL08 – Correction:  Tom Nugent of LaserMotive suggested Latin while I thought of Pig Latin.  And it was Martin Lades, one of the Conference organizers, who thought of the Klingon idea…

Translation project updates

As most of my readers know, I have started a project to translate the phrase ‘Space Elevator’ into as many languages as possible.  You can see where this project is at by selecting the ‘Translation Project’ tab at the top of this blog.

Two of the languages this phrase has already been translated into are Norwegian and Greek.  However, in the last few days, I’ve received emails from readers telling me that my Norwegian and Greek translations really should be different.  Below are their comments:

Reader Nils Egli Lie lets me know about the Norwegian translation that “Just wanted to let you know that “romelevator” is not the most used word in Norwegian. Although it’s the technically correct word, the more popular “romheis” is the most commonly used one, specially in media. Checking google, “romheis” gives about 26.000 hits, while “romelevator” gives you 426. Maybe you should put up both? The word “romelevator” comes from the direct translation of Tsiolkovskij project. “Elevator” was a term more commonly used before WW2, however, the Norwegian language has changed, and we’re using “heis” instead of  “elevator” now. “Heis” is “lift” in english, and I see a lot of the other languages is using lift as the translation as well.  Best regards…”

Thank you Nils – I will take your suggestion and put up both of them.

And, regarding the Greek translation, reader AA (who maintains this blog) tells me that “I am sending this email regarding the Greek “Space Elevator” translation you cite at your website as being “?????????? ???????”.  Coming originally from Greece ? must say that “???????” is not a Greek word. It is a “greekification” of the French word “ascenseur” which means of course elevator. We do use it in every day Greek but “foreign” terms should be avoided when translating terminology from another language to Greek.  The Greek word for “ascenseur” is ??????????” (anelkistir) or as we would say it today (modern Greek) “????????????” (anelkistiras).   It is literally translated as “a device that is used to pull items upwards” and i think that it is a perfect fit for the Space Elevator 🙂  The complete term now reads: Space Elevator -> ??????????? ????????????.  (By the way Space -> ???????? (diastima) is literally translated as “The space between” 🙂 )”

I then emailed AA back to ask him how to pronounce this and he sent me this long and detailed explanation:

Now…Two words:

Diastimikos pronounced as:


*I refrain from using DEE because the sound of Delta (the first letter of Diastimikos) is much closer to what your mouth does to pronounce THE

**Double S means, pronounce it as a clear S as in Super, Stimulating, Science (!!! I did not mean this it just happened) rather than S as in “The Blues” or “Barrows”

Anelkistiras pronounced as:


Again try to focus to the primary sounds of the letters rather than letting accent take over.

AN as in “ANarchy”, ELK like the animal but a simple raw E…like “Ebony”, double S as above, TEER as in “LanTIRn”, ASS as in “Carcass”

Altogether now 🙂

?? (THEE)
?? (ASS)
??? (TEEM)
?? (EEK)
?? (OSS)

?? (AN)
??? (ELK)
?? (EESS)
??? (TEER)
?? (ASS)

You might not want to put it like this on your post, i can see this “An Elk Is Teer Ass” ending up all wrong in some readers minds 🙂

I tried to record it but i think it’s better explained in the text :-/

You might notice some letters above being accented in one word and not in the other. The accent is practically used in the Greek language. It tells the reader where to emphasise the word and is always put on a vowel. To understand the concept, consider the word spAce. It is emphasised on A. Elevator is emphasised on the first E.

Therefore, ??????????? sounds different than ??????????? exactly as “Elevator” would sound different if it was emphasised on O, in which case it would sound like elevatOr.

The language used to have many different decorations over the letters with rules on how you use them, all of them helping the reader to read the words as they were supposed to be sounding. We only use one accent now though (and call this system monotonic, rather than the “older” one which was the polytonic one).

This guy is amazing – I wish my college professors were as painstakingly clear as he is.  As my original translation was from the Google translator, I’m sure that AA’s is a bit more accurate 🙂 and am so going to use it instead of the one I originally had, and, I’ve put an abbreviated version of his ‘Pronounciation Guide’ up with it.

Thanks everyone!

We’re up to 25…

With the addition of the Hungarian version of ‘Space Elevator’ (?rfelvonó), sent in by reader Tony Wright, we’re now up to 25 translations for it.

Thanks Tony!

The Translation Project is now beginning to get a bit respectable.  I have hopes of getting at least 100 different translations for the phrase “Space Elevator” and we’re now a quarter of the way there.

Thanks to all of you who have helped me on this project, and, if anyone has a translation of “Space Elevator” in another language, please email it to me at Ted [AT] (along with a pronunciation guide, if possible).

Update – I think I’ve been remiss in not previously thanking Dan Leafblad (of the KC Space Pirates) for providing translations in Hindi, Korean, Finnish, Czech, Greek and Romanian.  Thanks Danny!

We’re up to a dozen…

I now have twelve translations of “Space Elevator” on the Translation Project tab at the top of this blog.

One of the latest ones is the Dutch translation (ruimtelift) provided by reader Simon Vanden Bussche.  I’m singling Simon’s contribution out because he wrote an article for ‘Euroavia News’, the newspaper of the European Association of Aerospace Students (Euroavia) and also posted on his blog, discussing the Space Elevator and also talking about the First European Space Elevator Conference held last September in Luxembourg.  At the bottom of his posting, he links to one of the more comprehensive articles I’ve seen about the recent advances in carbon nanotube technology.

Thank you Simon!  And thank you to the many others who have sent me translations – keep them coming!

How do you say “Space Elevator” in different languages?

A recent post I put up had as it’s title “Weltraumaufzug” – the German translation of “Space Elevator”.  I recently discovered a website that had the Croation translation: “Nebesko Dizalo“.

It occurs to me that a worthwhile exercise would be to translate “Space Elevator” (or perhaps “Elevator to Space”?) into as many different languages as possible.  I think that doing so might help us to internationalize the concept and broaden it’s appeal.

To that end, I am making a request of all of my readers:  If you know how (or can find out how) to say/write “Space Elevator” in a language other than English (or German or Croation), can you please email it to me at:

(Ted [AT]

When I get a respectable number of these (at least 30 to start, I would think) I’ll put up a web page with them and link to it in my sidebar.

Please, only send me something that you’re fairly sure of – I don’t want the page to become a subject of ridicule.  We all know and love Babelfish to be able to give us a quick and dirty translation of something, but it’s not anything that we would use for serious work.

Thanks everyone!

(Beautiful picture of the earth from here – click on it for a larger version)

(Update: I decided to not wait until I have 30 translations before I put them up on the blog – by the time I have that many, it will be a big project and I’ll find an excuse to put it off. 🙂  Also, rather than make it an entry on the sidebar (which is getting pretty crowded), I added it as a page to the top of the blog – you can now click on “Translation Project” and see where we stand with this.)