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The Texas Czech Legacy Project has received financial support to begin the archiving work from the Czech Endowment in the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and from the Humanities Texas media grant. The technical staff of the Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Center at the University of Texas at Austin have contributed their time and expertise to digitize and process our recordings. We are deeply grateful for their support. Additionally, we thank Hans Boas and his team behind the Texas German Dialect Project for the inspiration to launch the Texas Czech Dialect Archive.
Building a home for our digital audio/visual Archive of this magnitude is a very expensive enterprise, both in time and money that is required. Therefore, fund-raising for the Texas Czech Legacy Project is a necessity to guarantee continued financial support for the documentation, archiving, and analysis of Texas Czech dialect and culture to preserve this fast disappearing but crucial aspect of Texas Czech heritage, inspire school children and college students to learn about the dialect and the community it has served for so long, and facilitate research focused on the sociocultural and linguistic aspects of this fascinating immigrant dialect.
At the same time, we continue to seek grant funding for the Project although funding for any documentation projects focused on dialects of living languages (here, Czech in the Czech Republic) is very limited. As this Project is chiefly for the Texas Czech community, we ask that Texas Czech organizations and individuals able to assist (donating time and/or funds) consider helping us continue this important work. Consider, for example:
-- Svatava Jakobson's recordings from the 1970s and 1980s are still unavailable to the public even though they have been digitized and thus ready to be processed. Volunteers should be able to hep catalog these recordings stored at the Briscoe Center for American History using Lida Cope's notes (stored with the recordings). The Briscoe archivist John Wheat would surely welcome such assistance and Texas Czechs hoping to find interviews Svatava Jakobson conducted with their parents and grandparents would finally have a source to search.
-- Lida Cope's recordings from the late 1990s, likewise, contain interviews with speakers born in the early 1900s through the early 1950s. There are children and grandchildren of these speakers in your community who would be interested in accessing these interviews and their translations to English. Rough transcriptions can be completed by anyone who understands Texas Czech or has studied standard Czech (with some guidance). Such work would help our team speed up the process of making the content available.
What can I do to help?
FUNDING: If you are interested in supporting the Texas Czech Legacy Project, visit the Giving to Slavic page of the Center for Slavic and Eurasian Studies where you will find a link to the Center’s secure web site. No amount is too small!
As you follow step-by-step instructions, please remember to “enter any special information about your gift such as the name of the program, scholarship, or endowment you’re supporting” in order to specify that your gift is intended for the Texas Czech Legacy Project. Donations are tax-deductible.
You can also contact Lida Cope, Director of the Texas Czech Legacy Project, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you may reach her at the following address:
English Department, Harriot College of Arts and Sciences
Bate Building #2207, East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858 Phone: (252) 328-6411
VOLUNTEERING: You can also help by volunteering your Czech language skills and time to help us with the transcriptions. If you are a high school or college student and would like to assist, please contact Lida Cope directly. Ideally, your school will be willing to work with us so that your work translates into high school or college credits. Are you an exchange student from the Czech Republic? Do contact us as well!
SPREADING THE WORD: Lastly, you can help by helping us identify capable transcribers. The job requirements are simple: Interest in furthering a project like this and Czech/Texas Czech and English language skills.
Where does the money go?
Processing of audio recordings is a time-consuming task that requires native-like proficiency in Czech and English and training in transcription and translation using special editing software, ELAN. It takes cc. 60 hours to process one hour of interview. First, each digitized audio recording needs to be edited into smaller segments based on the topics that are being discussed. Second, each edited file is transcribed and translated using the TCLP Transcription and Translation Guide. Transcriptions and translations are checked and checked again for accuracy. Next, the audio data are aligned with the transcription and translation text files. Once all the data are aligned, the material is ready to be put into the database for web-delivery.
Each recording is accompanied by speaker metadata including such information as the date and location of the interview. This information must be entered, for each segment no matter how small, into the Texas Czech Collection which is part of DASe (Digital Archive Services) Collection housed by the Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services at the University of Texas at Austin. DASe serves as the permanent database of all our recordings that any TCLP user will be able to recall by searching the website.
As our "Who we are" page shows, Lida Cope leads the Project. She has a full-time job at East Carolina University and volunteers her time because she believes in this work. Mark Hopkins and Christian Hilchey (as of summer 2015), both full-time Czech lecturers at DSES at UT, are currently the Project's transcribers. Ryan Miller, a full-time employee of LAITS at UT, is the Project's site developer. That is, all of us have full-time jobs and participate in this Project 'after the hours' because we think it's an important -- and lasting -- contribution to the Texas Czech heritage. Additionally, Lida Cope and Mark Hopkins have volunteered many additional hours; and the technical staff of the Liberal Arts Instructional Center at UT have contributed their time and expertise to digitize and safely store Lida Cope and Svatava Pírková Jakobson's databases. Lida Cope returns to Texas once or twice e a year to meet with the TCLP team, to collect additional interviews, and to work on Svatava Pírková Jakobson’s collection stored at the Briscoe Center for American History in Austin and at the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center in La Grange.