Ten Transcription Tips

Hello my fellow transcriber! If you are reading this hopefully you’ve already caught the transcription bug. If not, perhaps these ten tips will help persuade you to keep calm and carry on.

  1. Watch out for abbreviations. There are a few that occur regularly (with, which, etc). We’ve included shortcut buttons to make transcribing them easier for you.
    blog pic 1


  2. Watch out for spelling as it was not standardized. You’ll encounter all sorts of crazy and wonderful spellings. Perhaps you’ll even discover a new word for entry in the Oxford English Dictionary! [see Philip Durkin’s blog post on December 17th]. Sometimes it helps to say the word out loud as you see it… and remember we transcribe what we see. We don’t modernize spelling.
    blog pic 2wendsday (wednesday)        blog 3saterday (saturday)


  3. Count your minims. Use the rest of the word to decide if it’s an ‘i’, ‘u’, ‘m’ or ‘n’.                                                                                                                                                                                                           blog pic 4minded

  4. Don’t be put off if there’s something you can’t do. Remember the beauty of Shakespeare’s World is that you can leave out a word, a line, or even a whole chunk of writing if you simply don’t like the look of it! It might be right up the next transcriber’s street…

  5. Be prepared to encounter both majuscules (capital letters) and minuscules (lower case letters) where you wouldn’t expect them.

  6. Watch out for interference from letters above and below the line.

  7. Note the ‘y’ thorn, and the abbreviations it comes with: the, them, that…                                                                                                                                                                                                     blog pic 5the

  8. Use context to help you. If you work out 5 of 6 letters, you might be able to guess the rest. Once you’ve done so check your letter choice in the alphabet. Beware of getting too carried away with guesswork though; if you feel you are guessing a lot move on to a different image.

  9. Picking up on number 8: USE YOUR ALPHABET. Check your letters. It’s easy to use and it’s located in the side bar.                                                                                                                                         blog pic 6           blog pic 8
  10. Finally, and most importantly, enjoy it. Do as much or as little as you like. We are a transcribing community and we are all working together towards the same end. Thanks for contributing!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sarah Powell is the EMMO Paleographer at the Folger Shakespeare Library: @S_Powell

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