Deadline: 2016-04-30
Value of Scholarship: Swansea
Level Of Study: PhD

Fully Funded PhD Studentship: Big Scripture: Tracking Translations, Citations and Paraphrases in Multilingual e-Corpus Text Data

The College of Arts and Humanities and the College of Science, Swansea University, invite applications for a fully funded PhD in Digital Humanities.

The project’s objective is to create new ways of discovering, tracking and understanding past and present uses of scriptural texts (Bible, Quran) in massive text corpora, leveraging multiple translations in diverse languages in diverse sources. The sub-objectives are: (a) to track the translational (in)stability of concepts, passages, events, and named entities; (b) to track citations/paraphrases across linked e-corpora (archives of books and newspapers, new web corpora); (c) to develop techniques using dynamic, interactive visualisations to support exploratory analyses of this kind of big, fuzzy natural language data; (d) to encourage public engagement with this research.

Corpora of complete or near-complete scripture texts include (1143 Bible texts in 822 languages, including 42 English versions: corpus total c.800m words) and smaller online Quran corpora. Fragments of scripture are extant in translations in vast numbers in diverse online sources, and new ones constantly appear. Multimedia (audio/visual) corpora may also be exploited.

Translations vary due to language usage changes, differing interpretations by translating organisations and individuals, differing purposes and differing target audiences. Differences in selections of citations and paraphrases, and differences between versions used and/or adapted, reflect theological and political controversies around concepts, events, characters and places. Innovative digital methods can make this rich research material accessible. This is of very wide public interest, from ISIS to GOP.

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Translations corpora will be used to train automated searches in other corpora, to discover which elements of which versions are cited (and adapted) in what contexts. Modelling intertextualities among corpora at scale requires use of Wales’s High Performance Computing facilities, testing different combinations of different analytic models and their approximations to “ground truthâ€.


Dr Tom Cheesman (College of Arts and Humanities, Dept of Languages, Translation and Communication) and Dr Robert S Laramee (College of Science, Dept of Computer Science). Both are co-directors of Swansea University’s Centre of Digital Arts and Humanities (CODAH) and collaborate on a project enabling research on variant translations.

This is a great opportunity to carry out leading research in a supportive environment with top facilities and an internationally recognised track record of success. Swansea offers an excellent balance between city and country life and a great working environment with comprehensive training opportunities for PhD candidates both at University level and in the College of Arts and Humanities and the College of Science.

Academic Requirements:

Candidates should have a good Bachelors (2.1 or higher) or Masters degree in Computer Science or a closely related discipline such as Digital Humanities, or computer-based Textual Studies.

Applicants with proven humanities research software skills and some relevant domain knowledge (scripture, languages/translation) are highly desirable.

Candidates should be highly motivated, ambitious, focused, like to collaborate in a team and have:

  • Solid programming abilities with a strong interest in improving their software development skills
  • An interest in carrying out internationally leading, scholarly research including dissemination through conferences and journals
  • Experience in computer graphics, e.g., OpenGL and an interest in improving their computer graphics programming skills
  • Fluent and articulate communication in both written and spoken English – particularly with experience in academic writing.
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Residency Criteria:

Due to funding restrictions, this studentship is open to UK/EU candidates only. 

Apply Now

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