Posted by Greta Franzini (not authored).
The Open Philology project is looking for ways to encourage the distribution of translations from Greek and Latin into modern languages. Many authors are simply happy to put their materials on their own websites. Our goal at this point is to elucidate some issues for those who want their materials to be more widely used and to gauge how many people might produce new materials if they had some sort of support. We see (at least) three topics for producers to consider:
- Making your materials available under a Creative Commons license: Many producers make their materials freely available on a website but do not include an explicit rights statement enabling third parties to make use of their work. This also prevents their work from having the impact that they often actually wish. There are various CC licenses to choose from. A CC-BY-ND-NC prevents anyone from modifying your work or using it for commercial purposes. Such a license is conservative and relatively easy to accept but a bolder approach, using a CC-BY-SA license, which allows for derivative works and for third-parties to include your work in a commercial service, makes it easier for your work to reach more people. The BY feature requires that you receive credit, while your original version can remain available as a point of reference. The SA feature means that anyone who modifies your work has to share the results — thus preventing a commercial enterprise from making a new version of what you have done and hiding it behind an exclusive subscription wall.
- Making your materials available in TEI XML: Producing TEI XML requires learning how to go beyond using a word processor but, once a text is in TEI XML, it can be queried and represented in more sophisticated ways. If a document is in well-structured TEI XML, then versions in PDF, HTML or e-book formats can be produced as well.
- Making sure your work has a citation scheme: Few, if any, translations of poetry try to align each verse with the original but it still helps to be able to show roughly where line X in a Greek or Latin source corresponds to your translation. With prose works, alignment is much easier and you may choose to keep sentence boundaries where section breaks occur in a Greek or Latin source edition.
We are posting this preliminary query to elicit public discussion from those who have produced, or would like to produce, translations. Mastering enough Greek and Latin to produce translations is far and away the hardest task. The issues above require some thought and training but they are relatively minor tasks compared to the work of translating a single play of Sophocles or a speech of Cicero.
Feel free to get in touch with us either by email or by leaving a comment below!