Digital approaches to translation history


  • Judy F. Wakabayashi Kent State University


digital translation history, digital humanities, historiography


Digital translation history is defined here as a methodological approach that uses digital technologies to produce, enhance or disseminate research on translation history. This can help translation historians pose fresh questions and answer new and old ones. It entails mastering technical competencies in varying degrees while remaining grounded in the fundamentals of the historian’s craft. This paper outlines the main affordances of digital approaches as applied to the study of translation history (how these can help translation historians do things better and/or differently in some respects), as well as the limitations. It introduces relevant techniques of text analysis (such as distant reading, topic modelling and stylometrics) and data visualization, which can help tease out patterns and relationships (e.g. textual, conceptual, geographic and personal networks) in dynamic ways that potentially create new knowledge and facilitate public engagement with scholarship.