Multilingual Access to Cultural Heritage Resources

Irina Oberländer-Târnoveanu

CIMEC - Institute for Cultural Memory, Bucharest, Romania.

Cite this as: Oberländer-Târnoveanu, I. 2005 Multilingual Access to Cultural Heritage Resources, Internet Archaeology 18.


For the visitor to the ARENA Portal for Archaeological Records of Europe Networked Access, the first option is to choose the language of the interface: Danish, English, Icelandic, Polish, Norwegian or Romanian. These are the languages of the six partners in the European project developed between 2001 and 2004. We expect a significant number of visitors from these countries, which made the choice of each respective mother tongue a natural one.

Is the option of several languages just a courtesy for our public? It is more than that - it is a tool to facilitate access to multilingual archaeological information. Before we were ready for visitors to our sites, we had to understand each other, to index our digital resources using common terms, to find the right equivalents for archaeological realities described in several languages, to explain the concepts behind the words. Language is related to culture, identity and memory. There is a growing concern about the dominance of English as a global language of communication, while probably the majority of known languages are in danger of disappearing and cultural diversity is menaced. If we wish to make cultural heritage resources accessible to more people and to share knowledge, language is a key. My article is an attempt to address these issues. I will explore the role of language in scientific communication, multilingualism on the Internet, language policies, and also have a closer look at terminological tools for cultural heritage, especially for archaeology.

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