Review: Identify unfamiliar languages with Polyglot 3000 (x64)

Identify languages from text with this free tool.

Polyglot 3000 answers the question, "What language is that, anyway?" It can identify more than 400 different languages in a wide range of characters (including Unicode fonts) from text. That's this free tool's only job, but it's an important one. It's not only free but also small: At 2.7MB, you probably have snapshots larger than Polyglot 3000. We tried the 64-bit version of Polyglot in Windows 7. Polyglot 3000's standard (32-bit) edition runs in Windows 95 to 8.

Polyglot 3000 (x64) Automatic Language Recognizer's user interface is small and easy to understand, with a window for pasting or typing text and a "Recognize Text" button. We could open a Unicode font tool and change the interface language (lots of choices!) and color, and the brief Help file offers clear instructions. Polyglot 3000 has few additional options, nor does it translate text; it just identifies it with maximum confidence. But once you've identified a language, Google and other sites can usually translate it.

Polyglot 3000 can tag many tongues with a single word, but larger clips produce more accurate results. We found the "Clear Text" button invaluable for speeding up the process. We browsed to a site offering Thai language and characters, copied some text, and pasted it into Polyglot 3000. Clicking "Recognize Language" produced almost instantaneous results: Thai, with 99 percent Recognition Accuracy. Polyglot 3000 identifies better-known languages more accurately than languages with fewer records. For instance, it handled Swahili with ease, but not Yoruba, flagging it as similar to Karelian, Estonian, and Tagalog(!) but with only 17 percent accuracy for our short clip. Of course, you can often paste text directly into Google and identify it with a little research. But if you often encounter new and unexpected languages, Polyglot 3000 (x64) is quicker and more accurate.

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