Classics and minority languages should grab this chance immediately

German TV channel ZDF has published a series of excellent, high quality documentary clips under a Creative Commons by licence, meaning anyone can translate, edit and reuse them.

Here is a clip about Roman law, there are many others about the classical world.

These are already being used on Wikipedia, but perhaps one of the really significant uses would be for high quality, intermediate video content, suitable for language learners. While this project is firstly asking that question of the all the Latinists out there, especially those capable of making good use of these like Scorpio Martianus, there is nothing to stop anyone using this video in any way they see fit.

We will also be reaching out to people who speak minority languages in the UK, like Welsh, Scots Gaelic, Cornish, and Manx.

Many of these – like Latin – lack easy and interesting content aimed at learners. Of course, for Welsh there is a great deal aimed at either children or fluent adults, but far less designed for learners.

It would make things easier and faster for translation work if ZDF could release transcripts. We hope they can take up this suggestion.

Meantime, ZDF have stolen a march on other state broadcasters like the BBC. If the public pay for their television channels, don’t we deserve some of the content back for people to use and build upon?

Image from ZDF documentary cc-by

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