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Leet translator :
Leet Speak (1337 5p34k), which means elite speak or eleet speak, is an alternative alphabet that replace usual letters with different ASCII characters. This alphabet is used to translate a text so it can be very hard to read for someone that isn't used to leet speak. It was firstly used that way to avoid people like lamers, crackers, script kiddies, ... to read texts that were destined to the "eleet".
This "language" (which isn't really one) find its origins into the Bulletin Board Systems (or BBS), in the 80's. Some people say that it was actually first used to pass through text filters in these BBS, that doesn't allow people to talk about subjects as hacking, cracking, pornography, etc. A simple substitution would then break the filter rules, and allow people to freely discuss about any matter. The hackergroup "Cult of the Dead Cow" (or CDC) would have been the first to use the leet speak in their text files.
Then people made the alphabet grow, so that each letter have a lot of different translations, which makes the advanced leet speak (try the 3rd level here) very difficult to understand as in some alphabet there's no letters or number. This very advanced alphabet could allow someone to make a basic "encryption" of texts for people that don't know leet speak. The translation from leet to normal text can be complicated because as I said there's a lot of different alphabets, and no official one. That's why you won't find any tool to decode leet speak on this page, only a translator.
Since those days, the nerd culture being modish, leet speak is being more and more used by people who wasn't concerned in the first place. A lot of leet terms are now very common for those interested into nerd culture. For instance the simple term 1337 is very common, even in some ads, as is the term "h4x0r", and other words. A lot of people now use leet speak to choose their online pseudonym in games, forums, etc. But there's not a lot of them who its origin and its original purpose.
Some people consider ASCII art and textual emoticones as being part of the leet speak, while other people says that leet speak was only created for text. As for now, if leet speak was riginally used to isolate "elits" from other people, it is now being used by a lot of people as part of the basic nerd culture.
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