The goal of the Babylonian Talmud Translation Project is the computerized Italian translation of the Babylonian Talmud, a central text in Jewish culture covering every aspect of human knowledge: law, science, philosophy, religion and even aspects of everyday life.
The commented translation, including the facing-page original text in Hebraic and Aramaic, is supported by highly advanced tools of computational linguistics and an application specifically designed for this project.
The Talmud Translation Project not only enriches the Italian cultural heritage, but is also the key to a crucial work of the Jewish culture that has had a great influence in the European history for the last thousand years.
The project began in 2010, initiated by Clelia Piperno, law professor at the University of Teramo, who met Antonio Agostini, at the time general director for research at the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research, and rabbi Riccardo Di Segni, and shared the idea of translating the Talmud in Italian by using an innovative method: translators and computer experts would have designed a unique software based on the Turing machine principle. The Minister of Education welcomed the idea and turned it into one of the three special projects of the CNR. In order to start the project, the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, the MIUR (Ministry of Education, Universities and Research), the CNR (National Research Council) and the UCEI (Union of Italian Jewish Communities) – CRI (Italian Rabbinical College) signed a protocol agreement to finance the project and, most of all, gain the recognition provided by the support of the Italian institutions.
The project started and is being developed under the scientific and operational guide of rabbi Riccardo Di Segni, Chairman of the project, and by professor Piperno, today Director of the Project.
The translation is being edited by a team of about 70 researchers, among which expert and trainee translators, proofreaders, content and publishing editors, supported by a team of about 10 computer experts and the administration staff.
The innovative computerized system developed by the CNR’s Institute for Computational Linguistics of Pisa is the true key element marking the difference with all existing translations of the Talmud and other ancient texts. This system, called TRADUCO, has been designed specifically for this project to enhance the work of translators, and it’s being constantly supported by CNR’s highly experienced researchers of computational linguistics and computer experts.