The software that revives the Talmud by bringing together translators from around the world

A very ancient text, difficult to study and understand. As well as to find, as it hadn’t been printed in Italy for over 500 years. This is the Talmud, one of the pillars of Judaism, which now researchers from all over the world, thanks to a software developed by the CNR, are translating. Above all with the aim of making it more accessible to everyone.

Make the Talmud inclusive

“We immediately thought that the key word of this project should be inclusivity”, explains Professor Clelia Piperno, who has been thinking and taking care of the work behind this initiative for ten years. “It is a fundamental text of Jewish culture not only in the religious field: it touches every aspect of human knowledge from jurisprudence to science, from philosophy to everyday life”. The idea of ​​recovering it also involved the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and the Miur, as well as the UCEI and the Italian Rabbinical College.

A unique software

The Institute of Computational Linguistics of the Cnr has developed “Traduco”, a complex online computer system that allows several translators to work on the text at the same time and to constantly confront each other. “A unique software that is constantly updated and learns from the information entered”, explains David Dattilo, director of the Research Area. When a part of the translation is complete, it is possible to view the preview, the one that has produced the prints of the first treatises so far, about half of the complete text.

Technology as a guide

An innovative tool to understand and explain a text that arises from the discussion around the Bible. The challenge is to try to translate what is conceived as an intellectual training exercise: the only way to do this is to combine the work of technology with the human work behind it. “Studying the Talmud is a two-way job between pupil and teacher”, explains Professor Piperno, “you need a guide to be able to get into it”. And in this case, the spiritual one is also accompanied by the technological one.