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I Googled Vigeneré's "Traicté des Chiffres": no English translations, not even a reference to one. Perhaps someone's Google-wu is better than mine; I can't find it.

I'm slogging my way through a PDF of the 1586 edition of "Traicté Des Chiffres, ou Secretes Manieres D'escrire" by Blaise de Vigenere. The language is early Modern French and doesn't translate easily in Google Translate (the words for 'right' and 'left' back then were droict and gaulche, etc).

I'd love to read it in English. Is an English translation available?

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  • $\begingroup$ It is not even in current french, so maybe first we need a french version if this book. $\endgroup$ – matlink Jul 3 '19 at 14:54
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    $\begingroup$ @matlink I asked our librarian to the "French Literature" department in the university system. If a copy in modern french does exist, they don't have it. A translation would probably be a good senior project. $\endgroup$ – b degnan Jul 4 '19 at 12:58
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    $\begingroup$ @bdegnan Quickly going through the words in the text, I would not be so sure a full translation is called for. The cipher itself seems only part of a larger body of text, most of which seems - um - semi-intellectual ramblings? Historically still interesting of course. $\endgroup$ – Maarten Bodewes Jan 8 at 23:52
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    $\begingroup$ @Maarten-reinstateMonica I should have asked a librarian that wasn't in the USA. I feel there's one hiding in a library in Quebec. $\endgroup$ – b degnan Jan 9 at 15:35
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you @Maarten-reinstateMonica and bdegnan for pursuing this question. I hope some investigation yields results, or leads to someone translating Vigeneré's book. $\endgroup$ – D Mac Jan 10 at 17:29
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There is neither a „modern” French edition, nor an English translation, contemporary or modern. Time to learn some contemporary French. What's the use of attempting cryptoanalysis if you can't manage the historic version of a quite common language, in this case early modern French? Your approach works like the Traicté on its own linguistic grounds, not on yours.

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  • $\begingroup$ Negative answers are fine, the scoffing really is not. $\endgroup$ – Maarten Bodewes Jan 8 at 23:46
  • $\begingroup$ How is this answer supposed to be helpful? "Time to learn some contemporary French"? What good does that do if most people understand and agree that the book is written in Early Modern French, which is different from contemporary French? And what do you think is the relationship between cryptoanalysis and language translation? Cryptoanalysis is the study of messages to extract their hidden meanings; language translation is changing text from one language to another with (near) perfect knowledge of both languages. $\endgroup$ – D Mac Jan 10 at 17:25

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