This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. By clicking or navigating the site you agree to allow our collection of information through cookies. More info

2 minutes to read Posted on Monday August 27, 2018

Updated on Tuesday August 28, 2018

portrait of Zuzana Malicherova

Zuzana Malicherova

Network and Policy officer , Europeana Foundation

Community effort to translate copyright terms into 5 languages

Imagine you’ve discovered a great object on Europeana Collections. You want to use it, but you’re not sure how to do it correctly. Would it be easier for you to understand and share if the copyright and reuse information was correct and available in your native language? We believed it would and our Copyright Community has made it happen.

Hands showing the sign language alphabet. Coloured line engraving, Wellcome Collection, United Kingdom, CC BY
Hands showing the sign language alphabet. Coloured line engraving, Wellcome Collection, United Kingdom, CC BY

Going multilingual

Allowing people to know what they can do with the objects they find on Europeana Collections is what drives our work to help data partners apply the most appropriate rights statements to their published objects. However, it's not enough to correctly apply rights statements, we have to do so in multiple languages. With this goal in mind, we instigated a multilingual translation trial of basic copyright and reuse terms into 28 official EU languages.

Because it is important for us to ensure that the translations are accurate and reliable, we decided to use the goodwill of our Copyright Community and reached out to our members for their expertise and interest in copyright. Starting with a target of five translations of 26 expressions - general, descriptive and commonly used copyright terms -  we’ve taken a conservative approach, to begin with, while being open to new ideas and trying out different things.

 A great community feel

Advertising the trial in the second Copyright Community newsletter brought us much more than we’d hoped for. We got an enthusiastic response from five fantastic community members, who were happy to help us and did a great job translating the 26 copyright expressions into German, Romanian, Italian, Spanish, and Basque language. Not only did they translate the terms quickly and correctly, but most even offered to help us with larger-scale translations and other copyright-related activities.
As we wish to learn from this process and share our progress with the community, we asked them to provide us with a feedback on their impressions of the experience.

Hands showing the sign language alphabet. Coloured line engraving, Wellcome Collection, United Kingdom, CC BY
Hands showing the sign language alphabet. Coloured line engraving, Wellcome Collection, United Kingdom, CC BY

Europeana Network Association Councillor Sara Di Giorgio, from the Italian National Aggregator CulturaItalia, was driven to contribute in order to make the copyright information further accessible in Italian.

‘One one hand, it is very important to share and to build a common vision for developing European digital cultural heritage, and on the other hand, it is important  to guarantee cultural variety that is based on linguistic variety,’ says Sara, ‘The scientific, scholarly and cultural achievements and traditions of the Europeans are preserved in their languages.’

Europeana Network Association and Copyright Community member Irina Mastan from the George Baritiu Public Library Brasov thought it was a great opportunity to give something back to the Europeana community and to help people use Europeana content correctly. We couldn’t agree more.

‘As an active supporter of open access I believe it is also vital to underline the importance of copyright and contribute to help users understand it properly’, says Irina, ‘I found the translation was an extremely useful exercise for me personally since it required a deeper research of the copyright legislation in Romania.’

A big thank you!

Both Sara and Irina found the translation process a very positive experience - it only took them a few hours. We praise them together with the other translating Community members from Germany, Spain, and Turkey for finding the time and interest to do it.

We couldn’t be happier with having such active and motivated community members, and would like to thank them all! This is the kind of community that we need.

Meanwhile, we look for more

We are delighted to achieve our primary goal, but we don’t want to stop here. Can you help? If you speak one of the 28 EU languages other than English, German, Romanian, Italian, Spanish, and are interested in providing a translation, let us know at Every contribution is very much appreciated!

We’ll keep sharing our progress. The changes are being implemented and will be visible in the coming weeks. Keep an eye out for updates and calls for action via our new copyright community homepage and on Twitter.