Project description Choose a text from the list Meet LiTgloss participants Help

How to use LiTgloss 

On LiTgloss, you can get a quick translation into English for unfamiliar words or phrases by simply clicking on the words or phrases. The texts chosen for this site are presented in their original languages (with the exception of Descartes' text, which was originally written in Latin). They are annotated by experts in the language so that you can read the texts with as little interruption as possible to your train of thought. If you see a speaker icon next to the title, you can click it to hear a recording of the text in .mp3 format. Introductory information is presented under the "Context" tab, while suggestions for further reading are included under the "Resources" tab. (However, most of the secondary pages are still being prepared, and contributions from readers are welcome.)
Fonts and plug-ins for LiTgloss 

Some LiTgloss texts may not display properly on your system if you do not have the proper fonts installed. The procedure to be followed varies from one platform and browser to another. Helpful information is available on this page from the Yale University Libraries. Netscape says that its latest browser will download Asian fonts automatically before the page is loaded; see this page. and this page for details. Microsoft offers Global IME in a variety of languages; see this page for help.

No plug-ins are required to view the texts on LiTgloss, but an .mp3 player is required to hear the audio recordings. Free players are available from and The logo of the site as well as the new poetry section require the Flash 6 player.
Contribute to Litgloss 

Litgloss welcomes contributions of annotated texts from those with knowledge of any of the world's languages and literatures. Text contribution has been temporarily disabled while the site is being redesigned, but will be restored in a new and easy-to-use format.

Choosing a text

"Appropriateness" is perhaps a subjective judgment, but a text which meets some number of the following criteria is an appropriate candidate for inclusion:
  • the text was originally written in any language other than English;
  • the text has literary value; it is artfully written; something valuable is lost in translation;
  • the text has some historical or cultural significance; it is or was widely read, or vigorously censored; it had an impact on subsequent generations of writers;
  • the text is important in or representative of a culture not yet generally familiar to Americans;
  • although perhaps not widely read, the text is enjoying, or deserves to enjoy, a renewal of interest;
  • the text offers undergraduates an interesting historical perspective on topics of current interest to them;
  • the text is engaging, has substantial intellectual content, can serve as the basis for a lively class discussion, and can easily lead to further reading;
  • while perhaps politically controversial in some regards, the text may illustrate historical examples of intolerance or injustice, but publishing the text and accompanying materials on the site will serve to promote enlightenment;
  • the text is not already being prepared by another contributor.

Checking the text itself

When a text is proposed for inclusion on the site, its authenticity and availability should be determined.
  • the text should be made available in a simple text file or word-processing file (such as Wordpad or Notepad) with line breaks (for poetry) and paragraphs maintained but no unnecessary formatting codes;
  • the copyright status of the text should be ascertained;
  • the accuracy of the text should be checked against a reputable hard copy edition and spellchecked (for errors introduced during typing or scanning);
  • the edition on which the electronic version of the text is based should be identified;
  • the web site (if any) from which the text was taken should be identified.

Preparing the annotations

In choosing words and phrases to be annotated, we have adopted the following practices:
  • we assume that the reader for whom the annotations are being prepared has had the equivalent of three or four semesters of college language training and little confidence in reading comprehension in the language;
  • we don't annotate obvious cognates;
  • we do annotate conjugated verbs in tense (rather than in infinitive form) for tenses likely to be unfamiliar to students, even if the verb is very familiar or even a cognate (for example, in "il vécut à Londres," we would highlight "il vécut" and annotate it as "he lived," rather than provide the translation of the infinitive "to live");
  • we do annotate idiomatic expressions;
  • we tend not to provide supplementary information about tense, declension, mode, etc. in the annotation, which is limited to the minimum necessary to allow a student to return his/her attention to the sentence (this rule is suspended for Latinists);
  • since the annotations are invisible unless expressly sought by the student, we do tend to err on the side of overabundance;

Submitting your contribution

Once the text is annotated, please send the files and some supplementary information:
  • any background information about the text, appropriate images (with source indications) and further reading which you would like to recommend should be written up in a few very brief paragraphs (optional);
  • your name as you want it to appear on the site and a brief professional sketch should be prepared (one short paragraph);
  • Submissions will be taken in through the "Contributor" interface on the new version of the website (coming soon).

Here is a short sample of the texts for which we seek annotators, but this list is intended only to stimulate the imagination and not to be limiting in any way:
  • Psalm 23
  • Cervantes, from Don Quijote
  • From the Chanson de Roland
  • Montaigne, from the Essais
  • Bâ, from Une si longue lettre
  • Mahfouz, from Midaq Alley
  • from the writings of Cicero
  • Dostoievski, from Notes from the Underground
  • from the poetry of Cavafy
All contributors will be recognized on the "List of Contributors" page and will receive a letter of thanks.