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

  • Torsten Roeder (Autor/in)
    Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg Institut für Musikforschung

    Torsten Roeder studied Musicology and Italian studies in Hamburg, Rome and Berlin. He apprenticed to historically oriented Digital Humanities projects at the Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and worked freelance as database and website programmer. Currently he specializes in Digital Scholarly Editions at the University of Würzburg.

Identifier (Artikel)

Identifier (Dateien)


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.




Alexander (2010): Marc Alexander, “The Various Forms of Civilization Arranged in Chronological Strata. Manipulating the Historical Thesaurus of the OED”, in: Michael Adams (ed.), Cunning passages, contrived corridors. Unexpected Essays in the History of Lexicography, Monza, 2010.

Arzhanov/Roeder (2013): Yury Arzhanov and Torsten Roeder, “The Glossarium Graeco-Arabicum. Linguistic Research and Database Design in Polyalphabetic Environments”. Lecture at the Digital Classicists Berlin Seminar on November 19, 2013. (permalink).

Arnzen et al. (2012): Rüdiger Arnzen, Yury Arzhanov and Gerhard Endress, “Griechische Wissenschaft in arabischer Sprache”, in: RUBIN Wissenschaftsmagazin, spring 2012, 14–21. (March 5, 2017).

D’Ancona (2013): Cristina D’Ancona, “Greek Sources in Arabic and Islamic Philosophy”, in: Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2013. (March 5, 2017).

Endress/Gutas (1992): Gerhard Endress and Dimitri Gutas, A Greek and Arabic Lexicon (GALex), Leiden, 1992ff.

Endress et al. (2013): Gerhard Endress, Rüdiger Arnzen and Yury Arzhanov, “Griechische Wissenschaft in arabischer Sprache. Ein griechisch-arabisches Fachwörterbuch der internationalen Wissensgesellschaft im klassischen Islam”, in: Studia graeco-arabica 3 (2013), 143–156. (March 5, 2017).

Leydesdorff/Welbers (2011): Loet Leydesdorff and Kasper Welbers, “The semantic mapping of words and co-words in contexts”, in: Journal of Informetrics 5, No. 3 (July 2011), 469–475.

Lüdeling/Zeldes (2009): Anke Lüdeling and Amir Zeldes, “Three Views on Corpora: Corpus Linguistics, Literary Computing, and Computational Linguistics”, in: Jahrbuch für Computerphilologie 9 (2009), 151–180. (March 5, 2017).

Nasr (1976): Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Islamic Science. An Illustrated Study, World of Islam Festival Publishing, 1976.

Oakes/Ji (2012): Michael P. Oakes and Meng Ji (ed.): Quantitative Methods in Corpus-Based Translation Studies. A practical guide to descriptive translation research (= Studies in Corpus Linguistics 51), Amsterdam/Philadelphia, 2012.

Roeder (2015): Torsten Roeder, “Alpha into Alif. Schnittstellen zwischen Schriftkunde und Informatik am Beispiel von Unicode im Glossarium Graeco-Arabicum”, in: Studia graeco-arabica 5 (2015), 345–363. (March 5, 2017).

Roeder (2016): Torsten Roeder, “Mapping the Words. Experimentelle Visualisierungen von Übersetzungsstrukturen zwischen Altgriechisch und Hocharabisch”, in: Zeitschrift für digitale Geisteswissenschaften. (March 5, 2017).

Roeder/Arzhanov (2016): Torsten Roeder and Yury Arzhanov, “Experimental visualizations of translation structures between Ancient Greek and Classical Arabic”, Lecture at the Digital Classicists Berlin Seminar on January 19, 2016. (permalink).

Shneiderman/Plaisant (2009): Ben Shneiderman and Catherine Plaisant, “Treemaps for space-constrained visualization of hierarchies”, 2009–2014. (March 5, 2017).

Thudt et al. (2012): Alice Thudt, Uta Hinrichs and Sheelagh Carpendale, “The bohemian bookshelf: supporting serendipitous book discoveries through information visualization”, in: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’12), New York, 2012, 1461–1470. (March 5, 2017).

Tufte (2001): Edward R. Tufte, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Creshire, 2001.

Zusätzliche Inhalte

Beitragende/r oder Sponsor
Yury Arzhanov; Ruhr-Universität Bochum; Rüdiger Arnzen
lexicography; classical philology; linguistics; translation studies; visualization