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The Dialectizer

How It Works

Several people have asked how The Dialectizer works. It works this way: you type in a URL at the main Dialectizer page. Then you hit the Dialectize button to submit. This causes the URL that you typed to be sent to my CGI script, which is a computer program that makes this site work. It does this by encoding the typed URL into the URL that calls the CGI script.

At this point, my CGI script physically goes out onto the net and downloads the page specified by the user-entered URL. If this URL is your web page, my script contacts your server and downloads the page. It will register as a hit in your hit logs as if your page was downloaded in the regular manner. And in essence, it is being downloaded in the regular manner. The Dialectizer script downloads web pages using the exact same protocol used by your browser.

After the page is finished downloading, the script performs the dialect conversions. It will also change all links on the downloaded page such that they point to converted versions of the pages they point to rather than the "real" versions. (And if the user clicks on one of these links that point to converted versions, this same conversion process happens all over again.) Then the converted document is displayed to the user. At that point your web page is gone completely from my server and my script.

At no time, under no circumstances, are any web pages other than my own stored on my web server on any sort of permanent basis. My CGI script can be considered a relay point but nothing more. At no time are anyone else's pages specially "singled out" for dialectization. That is strictly the choice of the end user. By hitting the "Dialectize" button, the end user is actively and purposefully performing the dialectization him or herself, using The Dialectizer as a tool only.

The translation is done via a huge series of search-and-replace operations. The translation programs do not analyze sentence structure or keep track of parts of speech. They merely look for certain sequences of characters and replace them with other sequences. For example, in the Redneck dialect, occurrences of ing are replaced with in', and occurrences of potato are replaced with patootee, and so on. The search strings are sometimes whole words, sometimes parts of words, or sometimes more than one word.

The least complex dialect is Elmer Fudd, which consists of only about 20 search strings. The most complex are Cockney and Redneck, which have between 600 and 900 search strings.