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!