Transcription guidelines

Kresen Kernow transcription top tips and conventions

Laying out your transcription

Start each line at the left margin, do not indent anything.

Use a new line to separate the main letter text from the letter date, recipient and senders details, also at the start of a new paragraph for easy reading.

Documents may consist of one or more pages, but treat them as one transcription.

Type what you see

Copy the original spelling and punctuation except for full stops in names and places, e.g. Mr S M Smith not Mr. S.M. Smith, St Ives not St. Ives.

Do not include superscript text such as 2nd or Mc Donald, write it out as normal text, e.g. 2nd or McDonald.
Expand all abbreviations except the St in place names, e.g. Cwall =Cornwall, 3 Dec = 3 December, esq = esquire, 2Ibs = 2 pounds, 3ft = 3 foot. For common abbreviated words, identify the expanded section of the word with square brackets [ ], e.g. affec[tionate] or yest[erday].

Expand full names and places in square brackets as well, e.g. Lord F H [Frederick Herbert] Kerr or Gib [Gibraltar]
If you are not sure of a spelling, if there is missing or unreadable text, or if something needs noting or checking, use square brackets as follows:

  • for unreadable text use […], e.g. […] Smith
  • for editorial notes use [text], e.g. [date from postmark]
  • where there is damage to a document use four lots of brackets, e.g. […] […] […] […]
  • for anything that needs checking use [?]

Identifying formatting in a document

To identify any formatting in a document use the following punctuation around the text:

  • for words or letters that are crossed out (strikethroughs) use: [~text~]
  • for anything underlined use: //text\\
  • for insertions to the main text use: <<text>>
  • for quotations use ‘text’

Extra information that can be added to transcriptions

To help identify old place names include the modern spelling in square brackets directly afterwards, e.g. Drogedia [Drogheda].

Some envelopes have been scanned with the letters, to help provide additional or missing content – check for post marks or recipient details. These can be added to the main text where appropriate in square brackets.