Wednesday, June 8, 2016

In conversation with my spectacles, Instructions not included

I don't know how I will pull together all the pieces of this translation project but it is fascinating.

Today on my way to the University of Victoria for a lecture, a fine one, on evolutionary biology, I was angry at my glasses for getting tangled in my pocket. The arms were crossed and I could not pull out one without pulling out the other. Since my cataract operation, and anticipating full blindness eventually from macular degeneration, I have to carry around reading glasses and sun glasses, and I let myself speak to them. It is a bit of a joke. (Maybe this is why I like Zechariah). I lost or don't use a necklace for specs. It gets dangerously caught on too many things.

Anyway, after the excellent lecture, (with the intriguing title: Instructions not included), as I was walking back to the car in the light rain, my glasses arranged themselves in my shirt pocket quite by accident with one arm each outside the pocket. They said to me, This is how to arrange us in your pocket, when your manufacturer is kind enough to include one on your shirt and it's too hot to wear a jacket and the sun is not whining. I was pleased with their collaborative and deeply understanding response. (Collaboration is more powerful than competition as the cellular messages in certain wasps and their host plants will tell you if you listen closely.)

So how does translation work? Or how is it working for me? The process is full of surprises, some of which, with more elaborate software, I would avoid. But then I would spend my time writing software rather than translating. So today I touched Job 1 and 2, correcting a very minor change that was not concordant. I changed three glosses to turn aside rather than turn away. Yea for Job. This touch explains why over the past 9 weeks I have touched over 85% of the chapters I have worked on. Some of these are in the area of semantic domain analysis, still very fluid, and some in the area of correcting glosses and stems and refining which stems I will keep separate in the database. I discovered this touch/publish anomaly by accident with a query of my audit mechanism. I don't do a full audit, but I do time-stamp every significant change to the word and verse tables.

The graph shows these three different measures,

  • words changed in different chapters, (RED) 322 chapters,
  • verses changed (BLUE  using the average to get a single value) 322 chapters,
  • and chapter by blog publication date (GREEN) - 19 months, 175 chapters. 9.2 per month average. Ergo 5+ years remaining in the project at this pace 607/9.2.

Every chapter, including all the psalms, (blogged several times 2006-13) has been touched in some way. Given the merging of the verses touched and chapters published, perhaps I am getting more accurate according to my terms and constraints as I proceed. We will have to measure again in 6 months.

In January to March 2016, I was writing my new book on the music. These days I am occupied 2 to 4 hours a day caring for my wife who is suddenly immobilized due to Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Feel free to look it up on your favorite search engine. It is is truly a frightful syndrome. We are making slow progress with rehabilitation, things like learning to roll over, geting in and out of bed on a slider board, and basic rebuilding of muscular coordination with exercise devices. The body is indeed fearfully and wonderfully made, and fragile in the most unexpected ways.

Don't blame me if I talk to my spectacles.