GIS and translation

My research project has never been a conventional translation studies project. There will be no hermeneutics, no talk of ‘the other’, no source text and indeed, no translation. So in a project that tests boundaries and challenges preconceptions, why not push it to the extreme?

My research has already dabbled in the fields of linguistics, sociology, deaf studies, law, politics and now, will be expanding the of this interdisciplinary melting pot of a thesis by delving into the world of GIS. No, it’s not a new crime thriller on Sky TV, it stands for Geographical Information Systems (or Sciences, depending on who you believe). GIS in it’s most basic form, which is the only level I’m currently able to understand it, allows the representation of information overlaid on maps. Think google maps. Road networks, local amenities, aerial photography and street names can all be seen overlaid onto the basic map.

Information that would other wise be represented in tables (think census information, if you’re unlucky enough to have trawled through the published data), or in long uninteresting descriptive narrative, can be represented graphically in an engaging way that also allows for more in-depth analysis of the figures.

For this reason, I’m quite excited to be employing GIS techniques in the presentation and analysis of demographics, resources availability and service provision across the country.

Of course, to be able to use GIS effectively, I first need to learn how to use the software so I’ve signed myself up to a week long course to learn Arc10.1 by ESRI. That said, the only GIS course I was able to find is targeted at Geoscientists so watch this space for the next offshoot into interdisciplinary studies where I compare rock types with the language use amongst deaf people in Northern Ireland.

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