transcription (level)

“Levels of transcription” means, essentially, how much of the information in the original document is included (or otherwise noted) but the transcriber in his or her transcription. […] At one end of the spectrum are transcriptions that may be called strictly diplomatic, in which every feature that may reasonably be reproduced in print is retained. These features include not only spelling and punctuation but also capitalization, word division,and variant letterforms. The layout of the page is also retained, in terms of line division, large initials, and so on. Any abbreviations in the text will not be expanded, and, in the strictest diplomatic transcriptions, apparent slips of the pen will remain uncorrected. Such editions are often so close to the originals as to be all but unreadable for those unfamiliar with early paleographic or typographic conventions, or in any case no easier to read than the originals. At the opposite end are fully modernized transcriptions, where the substantives are retained but everything else is brought up-to-date, in some cases to such an extent as to make it questionable whether they are to be regarded as transcriptions at all. Between these two extremes a number of levels may be distinguished–semidiplomatic, seminormalized, and so on–depending on how the accidentals of the original are dealt with.

(Driscoll 2006, 254)

Contributed by Caroline. View changelog.