1 October 2011
Dear Fellow Tailors!
You are very welcome. Up to this point, this site has just been an ambitious idea. Now the tools are in place for us to put that idea into practice.
A great inspiration for the site is the author of The Long Tail and Free: The Future of a Radical Price, Chris Anderson. In the former, Chris details the amazing feats that communities of skilled amateurs have achieved in Astronomy and science etc - see his blog for more: http://www.longtail.com/the_long_tail/2005/01/the_proam_revol.html. In the domain of languages, www.wordreference.com and www.lingro.com are great examples of what Chris calls “the Pro-Am revolution.” The people who have made these sites a success are amateurs in the true sense of the word: ordinary people who have an extraordinary passion for a something (a lover of something = amotor in latin). I hope that Tailored Texts will be a place where those passionate about literature and languages can meet, hone their skills and put them to good use.
So, what is the basic idea? To allow people to read public domain texts in a foreign language and to record and discuss any thoughts/discussions that might arise from these readings (at a level of vocabulary, grammar or pure literary concerns). We have tried to provide for this by including some essential resources (dictionaries and translations) whilst permitting users to ensure anything else of relevance can be placed a mere click away from the text itself. Here are what we believe the main strengths of the site to be:
- Tailored Texts provides margins/a notebook for e-books. These are a language learning reader's best friend – where we note down any vocab/ideas.
- Readers will be able to discuss all the different ways one could translate a word in context. This allows users to experience that stage where a translator of a full text must review all possible translations before making his final choice of one word/phrase. One is therefore in a position to understand all the nuances of the original, an impossibility when reading full translations.
- Language learners may keep track of and discuss any areas of difficulty they encounter within a text. This is an essential process when reading literature and/or when revising language.
- Tailored Texts is a place where literature and language enthusiasts can flock together and meet in an environment where their shared point of interest is central. Why not make social what you enjoy doing? Our Projects feature, in particular, allows for focussed group work.
- Tailored Texts allows the author’s interior world to be brought to the reader. References can be explained, ambiguities discussed and outside knowledge of the author’s life or times shared in order that all discussions be informed.
- Books can be tailored to their user. One may read/write only those notes suited to you (with filters).
- User’s who are stuck when reading one text may ask a question to the wider community. Our Questions page brings together all questions from across the site and organises them in once place.
Introduce yourself under this blog in the comments section. We'd love to hear from you and know what you think of the site!