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between subtle shading and the absence of light lies the nuance of iqlusion

Lingua Translation Project

In Fall 2003, a new Sanborn sculpture was dedicated at the new Washington D.C. Convention Center. The sculpture is called "Lingua" and consists of two 16-foot tall cylinders. Each cylinder is covered with four rings of text, meaning there are passages written in 8 different languages: French, Spanish, Latin, Greek, Chinese, Iroquois, Russian, and Ethiopian.

This Project is an attempt to transcribe and translate all 8 sections. If you are interested in helping with this project, please bookmark this page so you can see the latest status.

The Transcripts and Translations

Note: Most of the following are first draft attempts. If you would like to create your own transcript or translation, feel free! The more independent attempts, the better. Simply edit this page to add a link to your version.


Transcribed and Translated


Transcribed and Translated


Transcribed but not yet entirely translated

  • Transcript

  • Note: in order to read the above file, you will need to download the font file "TSC JSONG S TT" from and install it on your computer. Instructions are on the website.
  • There is no specific translation yet, but the text is recognized as being from: Lan Ting Xu ("Orchid Pavilion") by Wang Xi Zhi.


  • Transcribed 12/22/2003 by David Wilson (Note: this file is RTF, and may only read correctly if read in "WordPad")

  • The Iroquois translation


    Transcribed, but not yet entirely translated

  • JPG transcription, by David Wilson (for a larger version of the above image, suitable for printing, please check here)

  • Phonetic transcript by David Wilson

  • Alternate Phonetic transcript by Stevo, 2005

    No definite translation has been provided for certain, but, so far, the other 7 translations all relate to "meetings" of some sort, and, seeing as this is a sculpture in a Convention Center, along with the fact that the word "Solomon" appears 3 times, and the Amharic "question mark" symbols appear, I (David Wilson) believe that this text can be related to 1 Kings 10, 1-13 .


    Transcribed by Giezr, translation probably from Tolstoy


  • Transcribed and Translated

  • Additional transcript


  • Transcribed and Translated


  • David Wilson's translation

  • Patrick Thompson's translation


  • Transcribed and Translated

  • Updated transcript

  • Possible source, paragraph 56:

    Image Library

    These images are not yet sorted, but all of the images currently available of the Lingua sculpture are available in the following three directories:


    Many of the above images can also be seen in a neat "magnifier" format (zoom quickly from thumbnails to medium-size to large images) at:


  • Quickstart Guide
    (last modified 2005-11-04)       [Login]
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