As already discovered by Huitfeldt and Sperberg-McQueen (2008, 296) the term transcription has been used to denote both an act (the act of transcribing) and also ‘the product of that act, that is, a document‘, or even ‘the relationship between documents – one document may be said to be a transcription of another document’. This ambiguity has lead to some confusion in the literature. Meulen and Tanselle (1999) have used the word transcription in opposition to critical text as possible parts of an edition (203). Similarly Gabler (2007) seems to imply that transcriptions and diplomatic editions are the same thing, speaking as he does of ‘diplomatic transcription‘ (204). In contrast, it is argued here that the terms transcription and diplomatic edition identify two different objects: one a derivative document that holds a relationship with the transcribed document, and the other a formal (public) presentation of such a derivative document. The editor will first transcribe a primary source, thereby creating a transcription; this transcription will be corrected, proofread, annotated, and then prepared for publication. Once published, this new object will become a diplomatic edition. The two products will possibly contain the same text, but while the first will be a private product, the latter will be a publicly published one. These two objects therefore represent two different stages of the same editorial process, although the first can exist without the second.