Zombie Speech Translators

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The Zombie Speech Translators were created in an effort to promote communication between zombie players in game using Death Rattle, and a code that could be expressed through it.

They began as a thread on an RPG.net forum in which people were discussing phrases one could say while using Death Rattle; the conversation then evolved into discussion of using a code to represent the full alphabet, instead of using the letters available to produce phonetic approximations. Eventually, two codes were created that used a combination of the characters available to represent a single character. After the codes were developed, three scripts were created to simplify the encoding and dechiphering of them, and these are what are known as the Zombie Speech Translators.

The first translator (as originally proposed) used letter case delimiting to allow use of letter combinations which would otherwise result in mistranslations (for example certain letters such as 'w,' would come through the translator as 'lm' when it is translated into Zombie and then back into English without this caps delimiting). This feature of the scheme is often ignored or misunderstood, resulting in a broken scheme. The very first version of this scheme had a couple of duplications in the Zombish codebook; these were quickly rectified. Furthermore, when you type a number, say '9,' into the first translator, it will return the identical character in the Zombish, in this case '9.' The problem is that, if you type a number into the Zombie speech box in Urban Dead, it will be scrambled or deleted, thus the information will be lost when someone attempts to decipher your message on the other end. Again, extensions to the codebook were proposed to handle this; these new codes have been adopted by the latest version of the firefox extension (see below.)

The second translator uses a different code based on ascii characters, translating all letters and numbers correctly, and maintaining capital letters.

How Urban Dead processes Zombie speech

(this information was kindly provided by Kevan)

in order of execution:

  • all occurrences of characters "eiou" (case-insensitive) are replaced with "r".
  • all characters other than "zhrgbmna .!?-" (case-insensitive) are stripped.
  • multiple spaces are replaced with a single.
  • lower-case "r" at the end of words replaced with "rh".
  • an "a" or "A" by itself will be replaced with "hra".
  • the starts of sentences are capitalised (the "start of a sentence" is any occurrence of ".!?", followed by a space, followed by a letter.)
  • spaces preceding any of ".!?" are stripped.
  • the first character is capitalised.

"It's all a bit arbitrary, really..." - Kevan


  • Zombie Translator v1.0
    • uses first code
    • English to Zombish
    • Zombish to English
  • English to Zombie Translator
    • uses bookmarklets to simplify translation process
    • bookmarklets incompatible with Internet Explorer
    • uses a significantly altered version of first code
  • UDTranslate: Zombish/Zombese translator extension for Firefox
    • Does not appear to be compatible with Firefox 2
      • I have made a fix for it to pass the compatibility check in Firefox 2. --Tauron 19:50, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
    • Does not pass the compatibility checks for FireFox --Dylan Mak Tyme 23:28, 18 August 2007 (BST)
    • automatic, Zombie-to-English, translation of Zombish (first code) and Zombese (second code) for other user's speech and graffiti
    • English-to-Zombish (first code) or Zombish-to-English (as appropriate) context-menu translation of text-edit fields (but does not support the second code for English-to-Zombese translation)
    • to speak, type the text you want to say, right-click and Translate to Zombish, then hit Speak
    • now handles numbers and limited punctuation (dash, comma, period, exclamation mark and question mark)
    • correctly handles lower-case 'r's at the ends of words and 'A's or 'a's by themselves.
    • uses first code with additions- see page for details
  • Crude Zomban-English Translator
    • Not a perfect translator (doesn't do "ch, sh, and th" correctly).
    • An overhaul from the Zombese translator to Zomban... or attempt to do so.
    • Uses the Zomban code, with the minor flaws, it's otherwise great.

First Code ("Zombish")

English Zombish English Zombish
a A n N
b B o HR
c ZZ p BZ
d GB q GHG
e HA r R
f MB s RZ
g G t BG
h H u NM
i AR v BB
j GA w MNM
k BM x M
l MN y RA
m M z Z

Second Code ("Zombese")

English Zombese English Zombese English Zombese English Zombese
space aa 8 ga S mh k zh
! ab 9 gb T mm l zm
" ag : gg U mn m zn
# ah ; gh V mz n zz
$ am ? g- W m- o z-
% an @ g, X m, p z,
& az A g. Y m. q z.
' a- B g! Z m! r z!
( a, C g? [ m? s z?
) a. D ha \ na t -a
* a! E hb ] nb u -b
+ a? F hg ^ ng v -g
, ba G hh _ nh w -h
- bb H hm ` nm x -m
. bg I hn a nn y -n
/ bh J hz b nz z -z
0 bm K h- c n- { --
1 bn L h, d n, | -,
2 bz M h. e n. } -.
3 b- N h! f n! ~ -!
4 b, O h? g n?
5 b. P ma h za
6 b! Q mb i zb
7 b? R mg j zg

Third Code ("Zomban")

English Zomban English Zomban
a A p Ha
b Aa q Hb
c Ab r R
d Ag s Ra
e B t Rb
f Ba u M
g Bb v Ma
h Bg w Mb
i G x Mg
j Ga y N
k Gb z Z
l Gg ch Za
m Gh sh Zb
n Gm th Zg
o H " Zh

Note -- "A" alone will appear as "hra" when spoken.

Note -- To capitilize, put a "-" after letter.

This code is a new creation and is still being accepted by the zombie community, though it has a strong logical basis.


Zombies are slowly developing a distinctive language (not code), based on a phonological system of 14 consonants, 2 vowels, and 5 clicks. In English this language is known as zamgrh. Rather than being a symbolic translation as the previous cases, this is a distinct and organic language following simplistic and natural rules within the constraints of the game.

See Also

External Links
Unofficial UD ForumsUrban Dead IRC ChannelsFirefox Extensions
Zombie Speech TranslatorsRelated Games