Having no prior knowledge of the language I am working on a project that requires me to name things using languages similar to ancient Egyptian. So far I have been using this website:


I assume I cannot just piece things together and have them be readable however what I am working on is fiction and so it doesn't need to be 100% accurate. I do however want to make it feel authentic and for that to work I need to be able to name things with them being able to be translated back.

As a bonus question What other languages that can be translated to English share characteristics with Ancient Egyptian pronunciation?

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    There is a Linguistics Stack Exchange. It's definitely a better fit for this question than History.
    – two sheds
    Aug 10, 2015 at 13:44
  • Ah! I didn't know there was a linguistics one, I only found this website through searching the net for historical resources on Ancient Egypt, I might try there as well however the answers I have received on this post cover pretty much all information I needed, Thanks anyway though!
    – Cripstat
    Aug 10, 2015 at 14:51

1 Answer 1


Unfortunately this problem is not specific to ancient Egyptian and automatic translation will generally not really be anywhere near understandable. Ancient Egyptian also has the problem of being a language for which no automatic translation software exists, as far as I'm aware (translating things into Ancient Egyptian is not really a common problem).

If you want a semidecent translation of English into Ancient Egyptian, you can try several things :

  • Pick up an Egyptian textbook and try to grasp the basic grammar and try to construct a sentence from it. "Middle Egyptian" by James Allen is the most common one, I believe. A good Egyptian dictionary might also be useful.
  • Check Egyptian texts for any similar sentences, if it exists. This is a pretty good resource of Egyptian texts, although the transliteration isn't always provided but you can always try to find one via the references given.
  • Ask someone knowledgeable in Egyptology to give you a hand for it.

Of note, the British Museum produced an Ancient Egyptian translation of Peter Rabbit

The notes about it are quite useful to see some of the general difficulties involved into translating modern day texts into Egyptian, such as the lack of words for a variety of objects (umbrellas, wheelbarrows), plants and animals which did not exist in Egypt at the time, as well as words that are just unknown.

Also you should decide what era of Ancient Egypt you use. Written Egyptian was mostly stable through its rather long life, but it went through several eras still with different grammars. The main stages are Old Egyptian, Middle Egyptian, Late Egyptian, Demotic and Coptic.

If it is supposed to be spoken Egyptian, also remember that for the most part, we do not know what Egyptian sounded like. Egyptian did not write down most vowels and sounds have changed through its history as well as with regions. Some words were also not actually written down and were supposed to be grasped from context (for instance it is suspected that articles, "pa" and "ta", were used in spoken language but were not written down until demotic).

As for a language sounding like Egyptian, its closest relative today is Coptic, which unfortunately is almost dead. Coptic is nowadays only used as a liturgical language for the Coptic church, and as such may not have a very extensive literature for translating into English, but you can always give it a look. The closest living relatives of Egyptian are the Afro-Asiatic languages (such as Hebrew and Arabic), but they are separated by almost 5000 years.

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    Backing up this answer. There is not a one-to-one mapping between any two languages, that goes double for unrelated languages like English and Ancient Egyptian since the grammars are totally different, and double again (quadruple?) when the languages are separated in time by 3,000 years, where a large proportion of the concepts expressed by the newer language simply did not exist at the time&place serviced by the old one.
    – T.E.D.
    Aug 10, 2015 at 14:35

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