TransVis - Working and Playing with Retranslations Corpora

TransVis is a live online system for creating, curating, exploring and analysing corpora of retranslations -- i.e. differing versions of whole or part works e.g. by Aristotle, or the Bible, works by Shakespeare, etc. etc.. We work mainly with c.40 versions of Shakespeare's Othello in German (1766-2012). The system is language- and script-agnostic. Researchers with other corpora are testing the prototype at: www.delightedbeauty.org/vvv

Our ideal of digital access to retranslations combines public experiments in natural language computation, cross-cultural humanities debate, and playful user experience. We seek new ways to promote understanding of (inter)cultural diversity and change, past and present. We aim at enjoyable tools for small- and large-scale researches in world literature, scripture, philosophy, history of science etc. Also, to create interactive resources for teaching languages, translation, global cultural history and diversity -- and computational humanities techniques.

TransVis = Translation Visualization. Innovative visual interfaces enable users to:

1) create corpora (plain text or encoded)

2) define segment types, properties; segment texts; align segments

3) navigate parallel, aligned texts; search, filter, select, compare...

4) explore differences at levels from total structures to individual words (levels between: e.g. n-grams, defined segment properties)

5) explore intertextual relations via comparative algorithmic readings

Our prototype top-level interface, introducing a retranslations corpus, is an interactive time-map of sources, genres, connections. In future we want advanced metadata capture and mapping integrated with comparative analyses (e.g, stylometric comparison), plus curated text sample comparison. Currently we use GoogleTranslate; we would ideally crowd-source (re)(back)translations, commentaries, discussion. We have many desiderata, exciting possibilities.