I hit upon the idea of WORDLIX back in 2018 when my student Mykhailo Koziy asked me to share some thoughts on a would-be web app. At that time, I had just started translating Arthur Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Representation from German into Ukrainian and immediately faced a huge problem. Schopenhauer's text with its 1500 pages is quite a weighty tome, so you will unavoidably deal with terminological patterns spread throughout the text. In order to manage these patterns, you have to keep in mind all of your terminological decisions, which can be quite challenging. That's how I came up with the idea of WORDLIX as a platform for professional translators of both fiction and non-fiction.
As we currently see it, the project consists of three consecutive phases. In the first phase, we have already created a tool that a translator can use to translate a text, introduce terminological patterns, and write comments on (his or) her translation.
In the second phase, we are going to introduce three separate user-roles (translator, editor, and publisher). Thus, each of them will have a different set of tools to manipulate the translated text. Three types of sign-up should be added with respect to three different user-roles (translator, editor, publisher).
In the third phase, we will launch a professional network for intellectuals and institutions (publishing houses, universities, etc.) in the humanities. I got the idea of the third phase while reading Robert Brandom's Making it Explicit and participating in his seminar at the University of Pittsburgh in the 2018/19 winter term. The main idea of this network is scorekeeping. Scorekeeping is a social practice of keeping track of users' commitments and entitlements in their different WORDLIX-roles. By agreeing to translate a book, the translator undertakes a commitment to accomplishing the task successfully and within the deadline. The translator, however, cannot entitle (himself or) herself to such a commitment, for the entitlement requires a different user-role (the translator can be entitled by the editor or publisher, while each of them can be entitled by the other two. The success of the translation is estimated by the degree of convergence between commitments and respective entitlements. In other words, users in different WORDLIX-roles are keeping score of the undertaken and fulfilled commitments and the corresponding attributed entitlements.
After having used WORDLIX for almost six months, I can hardly imagine approaching a translation project without it. It brings order and systematicity to the chaotic process of working with classical texts, allowing you to store all your files, vocabularies, and comments in one place, easily accessible with a click of a mouse. It spares you the inconvenience of keeping all the technical detail in your head and running tons of different apps simultaneously.
However, WORDLIX doesn’t merely assist you with what might seem a monotonous task. It was created with a specific vision in mind and promotes normative standards for translating nonfiction, such as terminological consistency and thorough dictionary work, which beginners often overlook.
It has positively transformed my attitude towards the material. The highlights scattered throughout the text remind me to keep an eye on my previous terminological decisions. I can assess the passage against the background of the whole work or even the entire tradition by switching between the relevant contexts and observing the patterns. Besides, immediate access to dictionaries is so easy it makes it tempting to look up every word whenever I hesitate to give a suitable equivalent.
As of now, the app hasn’t reached its full potential and is by no means perfect, but I’ve noticed my personal experience with it improving with every update. Occasional minor bugs get fixed in no time, and new helpful features keep being introduced.
Besides, the team is eager to receive feedback and takes every user’s experience into account.
I have been using WORDLIX for translations of philosophical nonfiction from English and German into Ukrainian. I started using WORDLIX after learning about this app from its co-founder, Ivan Ivashchenko, while participating in workshops dedicated to the translation of creative nonfiction that Ivan has been conducting in Kyiv since October 2020. Basically, WORDLIX is intended to help you create terminological patterns that are indispensable to the translation of creative nonfiction of any kind. Clicking on a word gives you direct access to the range of online dictionaries so you can quickly check out its meaning and put it in your database. In WORDLIX, you can create a context for every text you are translating. Words used in the selected context are highlighted in the text. At the same time, you can see different contexts of all terms you have added, which was a little bit confusing but resulted in being practical and handy. I prefer using WORDLIX because it makes the translating process structured and accurate.
Since I first started using WORDLIX two years ago, it has proven itself indispensable for producing high-quality translations of academic nonfiction. I was in the process of translating George Berkeley’s works when I first learned about the app and its possibilities from Ivan Ivashchenko. Back then, the interface looked way different and was less user- friendly. Still, it was already functionally superior to any alternative on the market, and I was eager to give it a go.
WODLIX is especially useful for maintaining meaning consistency throughout the text. It helps you reconcile the different and conflicting meanings of the same term in various contexts and stick to your decisions throughout the text. The comments feature allows you to make relevant notes in the process, which will later serve as the core of your translator’s commentary or afterword. You can switch between multiple languages and contexts to quickly compare your decisions and establish terminological connections between various traditions. The app basically allows you to switch back and forth between the different roles of translator, commentator, and editor with a click of a mouse. You can be the judge of your progress by tracking your numbers and checking the consistency and coherence of the text.
WORDLIX was created with professional translators in mind because it genuinely improves the quality of your work. It spares you a lot of effort by storing and managing all your data and, therefore, prioritizes creativity and thorough research. It is open to improvements and innovations, and every new feature (such as quick access to dictionaries) gives the user further functional and creative freedom.