I was just thinking today... I was reading a book called "Forecasting: Principles and Practice", and found myself reading mostly the theoretical paragraphs, and skipping most of the mathematical equations due to lack of time (and also a bit of laziness).

I had an idea.

What if the equations could somehow be converted into text?

I mean readable, English text - so that instead of having to pause on every equation and spending a lot of time to understand it, one could simply read it as a paragraph, e.g. "Add together p(t) and q(t), and divide it by x. Then take f(...) over (...) and finally do (...) to get y".

It may make it easier to understand!

I know I'm not being very precise with my example, but does anyone know of a tool like this so that people new to a topic or having a hard time understanding an equation can get some help?


  • 3
    $\begingroup$ It's usually the other way around, in which ambiguous and/or difficult to parse English text is rendered more readable by the use of symbolic expressions. For example, in your example you write "it", which might refer to something in a previous sentence or something else. Of course, "it" refers to the sum of $p(t)$ and $q(t),$ so my first reaction is that you should have said "divide the sum by $x.$" But what if $q(t)$ had previously also been obtained by a sum? Then you'd have to say "divide the resulting sum by $x.$" And does "over" mean "divide", and what does "do" mean? And so it goes. $\endgroup$ Nov 15, 2019 at 10:29
  • $\begingroup$ I agree, but I see no reason why a textual explanation couldn't be as precise as the equation itself (especially when auto-generated using the equation). What do you think? $\endgroup$
    – Hassaan
    Nov 15, 2019 at 11:13
  • $\begingroup$ See Is there a definitive guide to speaking mathematics? and my comments about JAWS in my comments to the answer to How should students say in words the notation for a limit? $\endgroup$ Nov 15, 2019 at 11:40
  • $\begingroup$ It says Mathematica has a built-in tool for this. But I wonder if someone has done it on the web... $\endgroup$
    – Hassaan
    Nov 20, 2019 at 17:03


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .