Author Topic: WOK: Navani's Notebook Translation *MAJOR SPOILERS*  (Read 22502 times)

Harakeke

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WOK: Navani's Notebook Translation *MAJOR SPOILERS*
« on: September 20, 2010, 06:52:19 AM »

Edit,TLDR: to skip right to the translation & summary, click here.



Whew!  I've finally decipered the Alethi scipt used in the Navani's Notebook illustrations.  It's a very beautiful writing system -- I particularly like the way it resembles visual representations of sound waves and incorporates the Vorin appreciation of symmetry.  The phonemes aren't quite the same as in English, which made it a frustratingly fun puzzle.

I've translated all of the first page so far, and parts of the second.  The results are quite shocking, though perhaps not unexpected.  It definitely explains why Syl has such a dislike for Shardplate.

Quote from: Navani's Notebook, Page One
The cut and type of the gem determines what kind of spren are attracted to it and can be imprisoned in it. There must be thousands of possible combinations.
Once a spren is captured and the gem infused with Stormlight the fabrial can be used in machines.

Pain Knife
The pain knife is used as a means of protection. Sharp blades pierce an attacker’s clothing and cause crippling pain.

cold gravity pain heat wind
(These are labels describing which spren are attracted to different gem cuts.)

Flamespren trapped in emerald

Removable outer covering to infuse fabrial with Stormlight

Fabrial

Retractable blades cause crippling pain.
Dial pushes blades to four set lengths.

I'm only partway done with Page 2, but it's getting late and the smaller font is giving me a headache -- so I'm going to take a break.
The gist of it seems to be that the bracelet is an Altering fabrial, based on the inclusion of the ten Polestones arranged in the Double Eye of the Almighty.  But -- the labels in the diagram in the lower left aren't gem names, numbers, or colors -- they're emotions!  An emotion augmenting/diminishing fabrial? 
Stay tuned...

Quote from: Navani's Notebook: Page Two
Examples of stormlight patterns

Patterns of stormlight filtered through the fabrial determine the power of the gem

Fabrials allow creation of things like the emotion bracelet made of ten fabrials working together

The pattern cannot be seen by the naked eye

Man betrayed by a close friend
Woman who has just been proposed to
Man who discovered his betrothed lies to him
Mother at wedding of only son

Anticipation
anger
disgust
sadness

love
hate

joy
trust
fear
surprise

The trick of the emotion fabrials is first learning to read it and second learning to tell if the bracelet is reading your emotions, your subject's emotions, or the emotions of the people in the next room over

« Last Edit: October 12, 2010, 07:31:36 AM by Harakeke »

Erunion

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Re: WOK: Navani's Notebook Translation *MAJOR SPOILERS*
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2010, 07:24:14 AM »
Hol-crap....  :o

Capturing spren? In Fabrials? That makes so much sense.

BTW, you have talent. Thank you for the translation.


Stormblessed

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Re: WOK: Navani's Notebook Translation *MAJOR SPOILERS*
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2010, 08:14:38 AM »
Harakeke you are a genius. What you have done is incredible, and I think that everyone on this forum will be thanking you from the bottom of our hearts.

I agree with you, this system of writing is both beautiful and interesting. Hats off to Brandon, Isaac and anyone else who had a role in designing this language. You have done an incredible job. Something that is mysterious and exciting that will get most fans going crazy.

I think its just amazing how a fabrial works. They reproduce the bonds created between knight radiant and spren so any average person can use it. But how do the spren feel about being imprisoned? A spren is suppose to be free, to ride the winds. Will there be an attack of the spren in a latter book? Spren slaughtering humans? Spren will definitely be playing a very large role in later books, thats for sure.

I understand the emotions being tied to spren. I see spren as being a physical representation of an idea. And as we know, thoughts, ideas and memories are defined and stored in our minds as emotions. When you think back on an event, you don't so much picture the event as you picture the emotions. The stronger the emotions the better the memory of the event. Following this logic, spren would thus be physical manifestations of emotions. That's why spren are attracted to certain emotions in people.

Harakeke, when you're finished translating the second page I would love to see how you cracked this language. It looks very interesting. Maybe there is something in those pages which will better help us understand the front and back covers.
"You've killed me. Bastards, you've killed me!
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zebobes

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Re: WOK: Navani's Notebook Translation *MAJOR SPOILERS*
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2010, 11:19:38 AM »
Wow... that's incredible. How does the translation work? Are the words in English still, just in a different alphabet? I imagine that must be the case, because how else could you translate completely different words. Did you find any typos, out of curiosity? :-)

rjl

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Re: WOK: Navani's Notebook Translation *MAJOR SPOILERS*
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2010, 04:17:42 PM »
I've translated all of the first page so far, and parts of the second.  The results are quite shocking, though perhaps not unexpected.  It definitely explains why Syl has such a dislike for Shardplate.
It was actaully Dalinor's shardblade that Syl disliked, not his shardplate (middle of page 981). And we haven't yet seen proof that shardplate uses/is any sort of fabrial.

Also, can we ask how sure you are on your translation?
« Last Edit: September 20, 2010, 04:24:41 PM by Rhuan »

Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: WOK: Navani's Notebook Translation *MAJOR SPOILERS*
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2010, 10:04:19 PM »
OK, I want to see your notes.

I told Brandon someone might have it within 10 days, but it lasted almost 3 weeks. Pretty good.

(Not that the decryption is that difficult. It just depended on when the right kind of person would sit down and try to crack it.)
All Saiyuki fans should check out Dazzle! Emotionally wrenching action-adventure and quirky humor! (At least read chapter 6 and tell me if you're not hooked.) Volume 10 out now!

mycoltbug

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Re: WOK: Navani's Notebook Translation *MAJOR SPOILERS*
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2010, 10:44:14 PM »
That makes 2 of us and I'm sure all the rest.

CtrlZed

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Re: WOK: Navani's Notebook Translation *MAJOR SPOILERS*
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2010, 11:09:21 PM »
I'm impressed.

@Stormblessed  Peter also had a huge impact on the creation of the script.  His insights were invaluable.

Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: WOK: Navani's Notebook Translation *MAJOR SPOILERS*
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2010, 11:25:56 PM »
Brandon says we'll have a blog post about it once fans completely decrypt it and post their explanations.
All Saiyuki fans should check out Dazzle! Emotionally wrenching action-adventure and quirky humor! (At least read chapter 6 and tell me if you're not hooked.) Volume 10 out now!

ryos

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Re: WOK: Navani's Notebook Translation *MAJOR SPOILERS*
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2010, 11:30:42 PM »
Yes, do please post notes on your thought process. I love stories like that. :)
Eerongal made off with my Fluffy Puff confections.

rjl

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Re: WOK: Navani's Notebook Translation *MAJOR SPOILERS*
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2010, 11:51:20 PM »
I guess we can take this as confirmation that Harakeke is dead on with the so far posted translation. Sorry for doubting you, epicness.

Cheese Ninja

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Re: WOK: Navani's Notebook Translation *MAJOR SPOILERS*
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2010, 11:52:44 PM »
Very impressive, wish I had a physical copy of the book to look at these pages, the computer version is a bit tiny.

Is it just me, or does this manner of writing seem a bit impractical? I mean, every line you make has to be duplicated across because of the top/bottom symmetry.  You could actually write twice as fast if you just wrote the top, and since the bottom is just its mirror image, you don't actually need to draw/write it.

One thing I'm a bit confused about throughout this book, in order to recharge gems, is there some technique besides leaving it out in a highstorm?  Like just transfering it from one stone to another using some sort of fabrial? 
There was this bit near the end where they mentioned repairing Dalinar's shardplate on the way back from the Tower:
Quote
For now, he wore Adolin’s. They had collected all of the infused gemstones among his twenty-six hundred men and used that Stormlight to recharge and reinforce his armor. It was still scarred with cracks. Healing as much damage as it had sustained would take days, but the Plate was in fighting shape again, if it came to that.
Did they just hold up all the gems a few at a time in the place that the gems fit into the shardplate?  How do the moneychangers do it if there's on highstorm?
« Last Edit: September 21, 2010, 12:02:51 AM by Cheese Ninja »

Harakeke

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Re: WOK: Navani's Notebook Translation *MAJOR SPOILERS*
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2010, 01:19:10 AM »
Updated the first post with the text of page two .

Here's a photo of my notes for those who are curious:


I've been working on translating the text off and on for about a week, ever since I finished reading the book.  I literally turned the last page and thought to myself, "Okay, now I NEED to know what was on those sketch pages." I was actually surprised no one had cracked it yet -- the first thing I did was hit the forums, figuring someone had already worked it out.  I started to get excited when I realized that I had the chance to be the first person to decipher this "lost text".  ;D

The very first thing I did was to scan and print the pages, so I could scribble all over them without defacing the actual book. (sacrilege!)

There were a few observations I made right off the bat:
There was enough of a pattern that these were probably words and not just pretty-looking soundwave sketches.
There seemed to be a mix of short lables and longer sentences.
Multiple lines tend to be left-justified, so I assumed the text was written left to right.
One particular sequence seemed to pop up all over the place.  It looked sort of like this:  <,,|
The tall I shape seemed to mark the start of a formal sentence

For a while, I puzzled over the Double Eye diagram in the lower right of page 2, trying to link it up with the illustration inside the front cover.  Turns out that was a blind alley -- but I was able to piece together various sources to positively identify half of the gems on the inside cover. Going clockwise from the upper right they are: Sapphire, Smokestone, Ruby, Diamond, Emerald.  This follows the sequence in the table in the Ars Arcanum, so presumably the sequence continues all the way around.  But I digress.

After exhausting any chance of a quick and easy correlation between the table of essences and the Double Eye diagram, I turned back to the "brute force" method.
To begin, I needed to determine how many graphemes the Alethi alphabet had so that I could construct a key.   (A grapheme is the smallest unit in written language -- i.e. letters in the English alphabet, Chinese characters, individual symbols in a Glyphward, etc. It generally, but not always, corresponds to a single sound, or "phoneme".)
I picked a couple of the lines and practiced copying them down to get a feel for the letters.  I noticed that the letters seemed to come in three heights, which I ingeniously labelled: 1, 2, and 3.  I also identified three basic shapes: left arrow, right arrow, diamond, hash, and fancy.  The hashes were particularity tricky to differentiate, because it was pretty clear that sometimes multiple hashes made up a single grapheme.

Once I had a notation system worked out, I drew up a key of possible letters and converted a chunk of sentence-looking script.  This yielded something like: 2L 113 3F 211 3L 2 1R 2L 3L etc.

I used this data to run a character frequency analysis, which is essentially counting how often each letter comes up.
Character frequency analysis is based on the fact that given a random chunk of text, some letters tend to be more common than others.  (For example, there are way more E's in this post than Z's).  Fortunately, there are online cryptography tools for doing this sort of thing, so I was able to feed in my typed notation and get a pretty chart. 
I did this mainly to verify that the text was in English and not Native Alethi or indecipherable gibberish.  I suspected it was English because of the lack of palindrome words and the fact that Shallan's pages were in English, but I didn't want to launch into a code-breaking session using all the wrong tricks.
Fortunately, the results of the distribution came out sufficiently close to English that I was encouraged to move forward. 

Given a large enough body of text, you can use character frequency analysis to crack any simple cipher via the mighty power of statistics.  I didn't feel like typing up all the notation that would require -- and it didn't have nearly the allure of poring over the beautiful illustrations themselves.  I also wasn't 100% confident that I had properly identified the hash graphemes, which would throw off all the statistics -- potentially making such an exercise a complete waste of time.

I did get one useful thing out of the frequency analysis, because it told me which Alethi graphemes were most common.  I highlighted those on my key, because they would probably end up corresponding to the English letters etaoin shrdlu.

Blank key in hand, I went hunting for small words.  Small words are great for codebreaking because they are simple and common -- words like the, is, and, etc.  They're an excellent place to start looking for patterns.
Right away, I focused on the sequence I had circled earlier: <,,| (3L 113)
The thing that caught my eye was that in addition to coming up often, it occasionally came at the start of a sentence, and it never came at the end of a sentence.  It seemed extremely likely that it was the word THE.  The tricky part was that the Alethi word had four symbols, which I had initially grouped into two graphemes.  I suspected that written Alethi might have a unique grapheme for the phoneme TH, because of the way palindromes like Alethela are formed.  I also noticed word further down the page that included the string of symbols I had decided was THE, along with a few extra letters.  Presumably it was something like THEIR or THERE, but I couldn't pin it down exactly because I was still trying to get my TH grapheme to work.

This threw me for a while, so I took a break and worked on the other page.
My second big break came from Page 2, where I noticed a couple of long words that all ended with the same symbol (3R).  The only thing this could really be was S.

Armed with my key consisting of TH, S, and E, I attacked the list of small words that I had copied.  I didn't make much headway, so I split the TH into separate T and H graphemes and gave that a try.  This helped me narrow down the possibilities.  "This letter is either I or A, and that's an N  or T.  But T is already taken... and so on."

The first word I actually translated (not just assumed the meaning of like THE) was "SPREN".    ;D
The rest of the line was still a mess: ?HRPESPREN LRAPPET ?N ?ERAR?R -- but that was the point at which I knew I was on the right track.  From there, everything swiftly fell into place.

It turns out that Alethi script is written partially phonetically, and the correspondence between English and Alethi phoneme/grapheme pairs is not 1:1.  For example, the English C is written as either K or S depending on its pronunciation. The text I've posted here has been cleaned up somewhat for the ease of reading, and is not an exact transliteration.   Sometimes it's hard to tell individual letters apart, because they share similar forms. The sequence RI, for instance looks very similar to LO.  It makes translation somewhat of an art, and ambiguous words need to be verified by context -- which made the shorter labels tougher to work out than the long sentences. 

((Note: the following speculative paragraph is... wrong, as is pointed out later in the thread. =P))
For instance, the English letter F is written in Alethi as PH, while  The similar-looking Alethi letters for T and D seem to be largely interchangeable, while the letter H can have two different forms depending on neighboring consonants. Several letters (j, l, v) are written as another consonant followed by a vowel.  For example, the word fabrial is technically spelled PHABRIARO

The Alethi alphabet is rather elegant in the way it organizes phonemes, and graphemes seem to be systematically derived from the sound properties of their corresponding phonemes, rather than simply being abstract symbols.  Each grapheme has two elements that describe its sound properties: shape and size. The different shapes correspond to the location in the mouth the sounds are produced: hashes are vowels, left and right arrows are various alveolar consonants, diamonds are bilabial consonants, and fancies are velar consonants.  Height relates to breath control - the amount of stress and voicing the sound recieves. The taller the line, the greater the stress.
Reading written Alethi script evokes speaking the word aloud in a much more direct fashion than English letters, with the sound rising and falling with the letters' curves.

I thoroughly enjoyed not only learning the intriguing revelations hidden on these secret pages -- but the entire process of deciphering them.  My sincere thanks to everyone involved with including them in the book.  This is the sort of attention to detail that makes a truly great work of art.  :)
« Last Edit: September 21, 2010, 08:35:44 PM by Harakeke »

Inkthinker

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Re: WOK: Navani's Notebook Translation *MAJOR SPOILERS*
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2010, 03:38:13 AM »
I'm exceptionally impressed. Someone was bound to crack it, but I wouldn't have been surprised if it took longer than this.

Harakeke, did you find out it was an actual script before you tried to crack it? Or did you just try it out on your own? Either way, good job!

Harakeke

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Re: WOK: Navani's Notebook Translation *MAJOR SPOILERS*
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2010, 04:55:37 AM »
I'm exceptionally impressed. Someone was bound to crack it, but I wouldn't have been surprised if it took longer than this.

Harakeke, did you find out it was an actual script before you tried to crack it? Or did you just try it out on your own? Either way, good job!

Thank you.    ;D
I sort of figured it just *had* to be meaningful -- anything else wouldn't live up to the level of epicness the rest of the book contains!