Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A bit about collaborative translation at Tufts

Classicist Marie-Claire A. Beaulieu has conscripted undergraduate and graduate students -- now over a dozen of them -- to identify and translate orphan texts in the Tisch Library Miscellany Collection from Latin to English. According to a "five-minute" interview with her at Chronicle.com, she has turned these students into "historical sleuths, opening the cold case of the centuries-old texts." From the interview:
Q. Do you think such "crowd" translation, in which the participants aren't experts but just students interested in the subject, is the future in your field?

A. Definitely. With the humanities becoming so digitized, we're working with larger and larger collections. Someone doesn't need to be an absolute expert on a manuscript to translate it. If you give an undergraduate the proper tools, they can do a fantastic job. This is something my colleagues in the sciences have realized for a very long time. Undergraduates frequently work in labs on major projects. So, absolutely, I think in the humanities that is the future as well.

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