In a joint press conference with Google and The Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, representatives from both corporations announced an exciting new translation project. Google will use its Google Glass technology in conjunction with Google Translate to assist in the translation of characters from the Anthon Transcript.
Joseph Smith claimed to have “copied a considerable number” of characters off the Gold Plates, and translate them “by means of the Urim and Thummim.” Joseph Smith writes:
Sometime in this month of February, the aforementioned Mr. Martin Harris came to our place, got the characters which I had drawn off the plates, and started with them to the city of New York. For what took place relative to him and the characters, I refer to his own account of the circumstances, as he related them to me after his return, which was as follows:
“I went to the city of New York, and presented the characters which had been translated, with the translation thereof, to Professor Charles Anthon, a gentleman celebrated for his literary attainments. Professor Anthon stated that the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian. I then showed him those which were not yet translated, and he said that they were Egyptian, Chaldaic, Assyriac, and Arabic; and he said they were true characters. He gave me a certificate, certifying to the people of Palmyra that they were true characters, and that the translation of such of them as had been translated was also correct. I took the certificate and put it into my pocket, and was just leaving the house, when Mr. Anthon called me back, and asked me how the young man found out that there were gold plates in the place where he found them. I answered that an angel of God had revealed it unto him.
“He then said to me, ‘Let me see that certificate.’ I accordingly took it out of my pocket and gave it to him, when he took it and tore it to pieces, saying that there was no such thing now as ministering of angels, and that if I would bring the plates to him he would translate them. I informed him that part of the plates were sealed, and that I was forbidden to bring them. He replied, ‘I cannot read a sealed book.’ I left him and went to Dr. Mitchell, who sanctioned what Professor Anthon had said respecting both the characters and the translation.”
The “Caractors” document, which includes characters copied from the Anthon Transcript:
How the Ensign magazine typically depicts Joseph Smith’s translation process:
Some of the “Caractors” have already been translated. The “H”-looking character has been associated with “the” and “a”. The “S”-looking squiggly line has been associated with “them” and “y’all”. The unnecessarily long, straight lines with repeated perpendicular lines above have been associated with, “It came to pass.” One prominent Mormon apologist, Dr. Peter C. Son, sees this as cause for triumph:
“Joseph Smith hit the nail on the head. This is a bullseye. The odds of him getting this right by chance our infinitesimally small. We now have abundant reasons to take the Book of Mormon as an authentic ancient document — indubitably. It is as though Joseph Smith had the gift and power of Google.”