Volunteers with excellent Latin sought

December 8th, 2013 by Gabriel Bodard

Ostrakon from Bu Njem

A few volunteers have started gathering for an interesting project, and it occurs to me that others may like to join us. This might be especially appropriate to someone with excellent Latin, a love for the subject, but no current involvement with the classics, and some spare time on their hands. A retired Latin teacher might fit the bill, or someone who completed an advanced classics degree some years ago, but now works in an unrelated field and misses working with ancient texts. Current students and scholars are also more than welcome to participate.

The Papyri.info site includes some 52,000 transcribed texts, of which about 2,000 in Latin, very few translated into English or any other modern language. The collaborative editing tool SoSOL (deployed at papyri.info/editor) allows users to add to or improve existing editions of papyrological texts, for example by adding new translations.

If you think you might like to take part in this exercise, take a look for instance at O. Bu Njem, a corpus of 150 ostraka from the Roman military base at Golas in Libya. The Latin texts (often fragmentary) are already transcribed; do you think you could produce an English translation of a few of these texts, which will be credited to you? Would you like a brief introduction to the SoSOL interface to enable you to add the translations yourself (pending approval by the editorial board)?

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7 Responses to “Volunteers with excellent Latin sought”

  1. Jennifer Sons Says:

    I am interested in translating some of the Papyri texts. I am a Latin tutor for homeschoolers in Level 1-3 and I want to work on advanced texts to keep up my skills more than I am now. This is an excellent way for me to continue to be part of the scholarly world and keep my skills current.

  2. Laura Camp Says:

    I would like to volunteer to help with this. I am currently a visiting instructor at a university, and I am applying to doctoral programs with an intent to work in palaeography/papyrology. My Latin is very good, and I would be happy to help.

  3. Gabriel Bodard Says:

    @Jennifer and @Laura, please drop me an email (email address at my bio link above) if you want any more guidance. You may just be able to follow the help pages yourself, of course, in which case, brilliant!

  4. Terry Walsh Says:

    Would love to help, but find the translation-instructions cryptic, not to say delphic. The following will be helpful to translators:

    http://www.youscribe.com/catalogue/presse-et-revues/savoirs/sciences-humaines-et-sociales/les-ostraca-de-bu-njem-article-n-3-vol-123-pg-436-452-1066688

  5. Gabriel Bodard Says:

    @Terry, that’s very useful, thanks! Sorry my instructions are still cryptic. (I tried to keep them simple.) If you’d like to get in touch (email as above) I’d be happy to discuss how to clarify them. Thanks so much.

  6. Stella Livaniou Says:

    I would like to help with the Project. I’ve been teaching Latin to High School pupils (preparing them for University entrance exams) for over 20 years. My Latin knowledge is good enough, I think. I am about to retire, therefore I’ll have the time needed for the Project and the opportunity to keep up with the language.

  7. Gabriel Bodard Says:

    @Stella: Thanks for the offer to help! I suggest you try to work through the Basic Instructions document linked above, and feel free to get in touch with me if there’s anything you hve a problem with, and I’ll try to improve the document.

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