The Buccaneers of America: A Multilingual Comparative Electronic Edition

poster / demo / art installation
  1. 1. Cynthia Speer

    Electronic Text Center - University of Virginia, Libraries - University of Virginia

Work text
This plain text was ingested for the purpose of full-text search, not to preserve original formatting or readability. For the most complete copy, refer to the original conference program.

In 1678, the Amsterdam printer Jan ten Hoorn
published De americaensche Zee-Roovers, a historical
(yet understandably sensational) account of the
pirates who preyed upon the Spanish treasure fleets and
Caribbean colonies of the seventeenth century. Although
somewhat obscure in origin, the text was later able to be attributed to Alexandre Olivier Exquemelin, a
Huguenot ship’s surgeon to the buccaneers who witnessed
most of the events he describes. The book proved suitably
tantalizing to readers to ensure its rapid translation into German (1679), Spanish (1681), English (1684), and
ultimately French (1686). While making the text (known as The Buccaneers of America in English) available to readers in new countries and cultures, the translators of these editions also accomplished a second, somewhat
more duplicitous, task: adding new material of their
own which transformed the texts completely to suit the purposes of the societies for which they were printed. Subsequent editions of each different language version have thus only continued to corrupt the original text,
further complicating the history of textual transmission of the original but ultimately elucidating the socio-political
and ideological climates out of which they arose.
Participants in the Buccaneers of America project are
attempting to prepare an interlinked “meta-edition” of the
original Dutch text and its early translations into German, Spanish, English and French. The Dutch, English and French texts have been digitally photographed and
tagged in basic TEI at the University of Virginia Library;
German and Spanish editions from the Library of
Congress have been photographed and will be TEI-
encoded. One of the primary goals of the project being to aid scholars in their comparisons of the texts across
different language versions, several means of interlinking
the texts -- linguistically, structurally and thematically -- will be attempted. First, a selection of keywords from the texts will be encoded with cross-references to period and modern translations occurring in other parts of the editions: therefore searching and/or browsing for the key title term “bucaniers” in English will also retrieve results for “aventuriers” in French, “piratas” in Spanish,
“See-Raeubers” in German, and “Zee-Roovers” in Dutch, plus the usual twentieth-century terms used in published
titles. In addition, further structural and thematic
comparisons between the editions will be made by the use of descriptive text collations. The web interface of the collations will feature passages of text encapsulated in brief summaries, categorized by narrative and thematic divisions, and presented in the order they occur in the text. Corresponding passages that “track” between the two editions will be linked to represent their association to the reader. Readers will also note that for some passages
in one edition, there is no corresponding passage in
another edition, as well as remarking that even when
passages occur in both comparison editions, they may have
been reordered. Links from each of the text divisions in the collation will take readers off to the corresponding
section of the edition itself, or to desired paratextual
Although such keyword indexing as mentioned above is able to be at least partially automated, it still requires a certain amount of manual manipulation of the data (thus being somewhat labor-intensive), and remains at best
an incomplete solution to the key issue of linguistic transparency across the editions, pointing to a key
concern of project participants: accessibility and utility of
the editions to interested scholars everywhere, especially in the Caribbean itself, with the smallest barriers to use possible. Related to this is the larger issue of cultural
heritage and its “appropriation,” however unintentional, by outside cultures and agencies involved in the editions’ organization and execution.

If this content appears in violation of your intellectual property rights, or you see errors or omissions, please reach out to Scott B. Weingart to discuss removing or amending the materials.

Conference Info



Hosted at Université Paris-Sorbonne, Paris IV (Paris-Sorbonne University)

Paris, France

July 5, 2006 - July 9, 2006

151 works by 245 authors indexed

The effort to establish ADHO began in Tuebingen, at the ALLC/ACH conference in 2002: a Steering Committee was appointed at the ALLC/ACH meeting in 2004, in Gothenburg, Sweden. At the 2005 meeting in Victoria, the executive committees of the ACH and ALLC approved the governance and conference protocols and nominated their first representatives to the ‘official’ ADHO Steering Committee and various ADHO standing committees. The 2006 conference was the first Digital Humanities conference.

Conference website:

Series: ACH/ICCH (26), ACH/ALLC (18), ALLC/EADH (33), ADHO (1)

Organizers: ACH, ADHO, ALLC

  • Keywords: None
  • Language: English
  • Topics: None