• Translating Text to Digital

    I’ve been working on a project that translates Euripides’ Medea into Inform as a side project/experiment dealing with issues I’m researching for my dissertation (narrative theory). Various problems and questions have come up during the process, so I’d like to propose a discussion session to talk about some of them and also explore the uses (or whether there are any) of this kind of project in both research and classroom practice. Below are a number of questions/topics I could see us talking about, but not by any means an exhaustive list.

    1. Digital and the text: How does the meaning of “the text” change when moving from a purely textual format into something like Inform that not only blends text and code (a form of text itself), but also deconstructs (or perhaps, metaconstructs?) the original linear format of the work.

    2. Pedagogy: How can a tool like Inform be used with literature (like Medea) to engage students in the text? Is it useful to have them translate into a digital format? Can a digital translation of a work provide a better learning experience for students? Can it help them come to a deeper understanding or does it distract from close and/or thematic readings of the text?

    3. Narrative: How does our idea of storytelling change when we look at the same work in both a linear, textual format and a multi-linear, digital format? (There is another session on this so maybe everything under this heading will be covered there!) Can we find new insights into the text or into narrative itself through an exercise like this? On what particular aspects can a digital translation shed light?

    4. Inform: Is Inform the best choice for a project like this and/or for a pedagogical exercise? What are its strengths and weaknesses? What place should aspects of interactive fiction (like puzzles and world exploration) have in a translation from traditional text?

    5. Authorship (and Translation): How does translation, but a digital translation in particular, undermine the idea of authorship? Is it ethically problematic for a translator to take the limited world of the text and populate it for exploration and discovery?

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  1. kimlacey says:

    I just started playing around with Inform so I’m interested in talking about this topic! Count me in.

  2. harriettg says:

    Sounds intriguing and I’d be interested in participating in this discussion –

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