Mapping the Words: Experimental visualizations of translation structures between Ancient Greek and Classical Arabic

Torsten Roeder


The article deals with presentation forms of linguistic transformation processes from ancient Greek sources that were translated into classical Arabic from the 9th to 11th century AD. Various examples demonstrate how visualizations support the interpretation of corpus structures, lexical differentiation, grammatical transformation and translation processes for single lexemes in the database project Glossarium Graeco-Arabicum. The database contains about 100,000 manually collected word pairs (still growing) from 76 texts and their translations. The article discusses how the project utilizes Sankey diagrams, tree maps, balloon charts, data grids and classical coordinate systems to point out specific aspects of the data. Visualizations not only help beginners to understand the corpus structure, they also help editors and specialized users to identify specific phenomena. A well-documented interface design is crucial both for usability and interpretative work.


lexicography; classical philology; linguistics; translation studies; visualization


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