Author Archives: zbei

About zbei

Hi. I am Zhang Bei. I come from China. My major is English interpretation. I am now an exchange student in UiO for one semester.

Voyant Exploration of an Academic Writing

 Zhang Bei

I chose an English paper from The International Journal for Translation and Interpreting research. The paper is entitled “Towards understanding interpreter trainees’ (de)motivation: An exploratory study”, and this study is about profiling interpreter trainees’(de)motivation and examining the correlation of (de)motivation factors in a Chinese context. As this paper will be one of the references in my postgraduate thesis, I find it both interesting and useful to be explored by Voyant Tools.

I first transformed the file format from pdf to text and then deleted footnote, page footer and information about the author and the journal in the text. In this way, I will have a more content-focused text without interferences of irrelevant words to the Voyant Tool revelation and I saved this text as “1. Full text”. After I uploaded the file and clicked “reveal”, I found five most frequently used words—“motivation”, “trainees”, “interpreting”, “interpreter”, “self” and these words show up respectively for 106, 97, 76, 75 and 50 times.

Compared with the keywords in the paper, these five most frequent words are not so revealing. The keywords in the paper can immediately make me understand what the paper is about while the most frequent words counted by Voyant are a little confusing and redundant. Because “self” does not associate readers with anything about the topic of the paper unless they know “self” is one of internal motivators. And “trainees” and “interpreter” overlap a bit in their meanings. Hence this finding reminds me that keywords do not equal to the most frequent words in academic writings.

An interesting thing is that “(De)motivation”, “(de)motivators”, “(de)motivate” show up 20 times in total. However, I did not find these three words at the “Terms” on the top left column on Voyant interface. I think it is because Voyant cannot distinguish compound words with parentheses and automatically regard the “de” within the parentheses as one word and the “motivation” as one word. That means Voyant will automatically ignore words in the parenthesis. Although I did see terms like “demotivation” and “demotivator” which appear for 40 and 7 times separately as counted by Voyant “Terms”. But it’s because these two words are written like such (namely, without parenthesis) in the text. And I used “search” function on the adobe acrobat 9 Pro to search and counted the two words and the results proved my thought.

I also checked the “Correlation” on the right bottom of the Voyant interface. And I found although those terms are highly correlated, they do not represent anything because these words are just statistically correlated but not meaningfully.

In conclusion, I read all the tutorials on Voyant tools and tried all the tools on different panels at the Voyant interface. I also made adjustments to the text by cutting it into several new files according to its sections. This way allowed me to learn more specifically about how the author composed different sections and integrated these sections into one paper. (Due to words limit, I will not discuss those findings.)  Every time I adjusted the file, the revelation on Voyant would change. I found it interesting but in the meantime I think convenient as Voyant is, it is still just a tool. Users should not completely believe the statistical results and try all means to interpret those results which would sometimes lead to far-fetching explanations. After all, words sometimes do not mean their literal meanings because sometimes authors say something while means another, especially in literature. Therefore, it is better to interpret Voyant revelations with a grain of salt.



Sinclar, S. & G. Rockwell. (2018). Voyant Tools. Retrieved Febuary 11, 2018, from http://voyant-tools. org.

Sinclar, S. & G. Rockwell. (2018). Voyant Tools. Retrieved Febuary 11, 2018, from,reader,trends,summary,contexts.

Wu, Z. (2016). Towards understanding interpreter trainee’s (de)motivation: An explanatory study. The international journal for translation and interpreting research. 8(2): 13-25.

Scholarly communications via digital means

In the chapter 23 “Dissemination as Cultivation” of the book “Doing Digital Humanities. Practice, Training, Research”, James O’Sullivan, Christopher P. Long and Mark A. Mattson explore the underlying principles of scholarly communications and publishing in the digital age.

Web platforms, intuitive interfaces and content delivery systems have brought about shifts in the ways of communication between scholars. People now have “open access” (James O’Sullivan, Christopher P. Long & Mark A 2016: 384 ), which Martin Paul Eve notes, to online public scholarship. Against such background, scholars should think about cultivating the habits and practices of digital communication and collaborative network of research.

The great affordance of the digital humanities provides the chance of engaging the dynamic relationship between form and matter in a sophisticated way. Now there is emerging emphasis on design in the digital humanities. The advent of World Wide Web marked a great leap in performative scholarship. “Performative” here means publishing is a way of performing ideas effectively in the way that reflect on how the arguments and ideas are best set into action. And other dynamic modes of digital scholarly communications enable authors to tailor their content to the forms in which they appear in public.

New digital modes of communication also open unforeseen new opportunities for scholars to collaborate and to engage a wide public. Scholars need to cultivate abilities to accurately describe what animates the scholarship under review, and engage the community in ways that enrich the scholarship that are produced together, and have the willingness to invest expertise, experience, insight and ideas to improve the scholarship under review. These are called “hermeneutic empathy”, “transformation” and “generosity” in short respectively.

The virtues of the traditional aspects of scholarly communication, including publishing, peer-review, discovery, and professional networks, remain intact in the digital era. However, the mechanisms of scholarly publishing, such as journals, monographs, and published conference proceedings, truly have moved to the digital realm, which is the most intuitive transition into the digital world of scholarly communications. In addition, self-publishing platforms and services are readily available today. Each digital tool has its merits and demerits and no single tool can be applied as a solution for every project, so it is important to carefully choose and construct a platform. The proliferation of online digital repositories sponsored by institutions is an extra venue for self-publishing scholarly works and makes it possible to open access to traditionally published works.

There are several strategies scholars should follow for social media. Bear in mind that everything you disseminate should be a reflection of your identity as an academic. In this respect, content should be about taking control of your scholarly profile, building a network, practicing uniformity and monitoring yourself. Scholars should familiarize themselves with a variety of technologies and select a form appropriate to the content; which is also a way of recognizing the implementation potential of platforms. The chief concern on the flexible open-source platforms should be their usability and support.



Crompton, Constance, Richard J. Lane, and Ray Siemens, eds. Doing Digital Humanities. Practice, Training, Research. London, New York: Routledge, 2016.