Göttingen Dialog in Digital Humanities - Yuri Bizzoni, Angelo Del Grosso, Marianne Reboul: Diachronic Trends in Homeric translations

, 5:00 pm to

This field of study is part of the more general “Classical Receptions” studies that try to analyse the influence and adaptation of classical texts in modern and contemporary literature, theater, cinema, and so on. While scholastic analyses of Greek texts are practiced since more than two thousand years, research about classical translations is a relatively unexplored area. In recent years this theme has raised a growing interest in the academic community.
With this intent, we built a program that can align in blocks texts of extended length, such as one book of the Odyssey, without need of previous training, segmentation, or textual tagging. Furthermore, it behaves with reasonable results also on very free and literary translations, a problem that wasn’t generally considered by textual aligners since recent studies . While other programs allow an upper bound for 1-to-many alignments (for example with a maximum of 4 translated elements aligned to the same original element) this algorithm allows n-to-n alignments, with no limit to the number of translated elements that can be aligned to an original, or vice versa. The aligner is based on a implementation of Needleman-Wunsch algorithm and on a string-based similarity approach between textual segments. The aligner works finding anchor words in proper names, that are a relatively stable feature through different translations and generally don't become unrecognizable from one language to the other.
Thanks to the alignments thus obtained, we can explore Homeric translations in a number of ways. We will illustrate the creation of an interface to visualize French Homeric translations making it possible to highlight aligned portions of texts and the translation of single words. We will finally show some resulting syntactic analyses carried out on a small sample of texts taken from a corpus of one hundred unabridged French translations of the Odyssey and we will try to demonstrate that the study of diachronic translations throughout algorithms of computational linguistics can produce interesting results for literary and linguistics studies.

Place: Göttingen Centre for Digital Humanities, Papendiek 16, 37073 Germany