Alignments: Principles and Assumptions

TAN alignments attest to acts of translating, paraphrasing, revising, quoting, summarizing, and so forth. All these are treated as types of text reuse, where one or more texts, usually called in translation studies the source (or sources), are transformed into a new text, customarily called the target. Text reuse has chronological directionality and is asymmetrical (a quoted text affects a quoting text but not vice versa). But many times we deal with texts where the original lines of direction are contested or unknown. In those cases, it is hasty or misleading to refer to either of the texts as a source or a target. Indeed, the two texts may in fact derive from a common source, or be only indirectly related, the result of multiple generations of copying and translating. In these guidelines, therefore, we avoid the term target altogether, and when we use the word source, we are referring only to one of the class 1 files upon which a class 2 alignment depends.

Thus, the order of <source>s in an alignment file's <head> does not imply chronological precedence. The only implication is that of processing order: the first will be the foundation or base against which subsequent sources will be aligned. It is usually a good idea to list as the first <source> the version that is most complete or most important to a given alignment.