At a recent meeting, it was agreed that it would help to speed the publication of EasyEnglish documents if we could introduce greater consistency to the style of documents prepared by translators. In order to move towards such a consistent style, I was asked to describe the main elements of such a style. These are covered in the rest of this document.
There may be good reasons why translators cannot always follow them to the letter. However the more closely they can be followed, the easier it will be for us to prepare translations for addition to our web site.
Note: These guidelines assume that documents already fulfil the rules of EasyEnglish itself. A free software package which checks this is available from Bob Hunter (firstname.lastname@example.org). Alternatively, if you use Microsoft Word, then Word’s own Grammar check, set to the most basic level will find out any passive verbs and other things that have slipped through the net. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me at the number or address below.
1. When you are preparing or checking EasyEnglish documents, please try to follow the housestyle described below, unless there is a specific reason why you have decided to deviate from this style.
· Avoid abbreviations as much as possible. If you do decide to abbreviate a term, spell out the first occurrence in full followed by the abbreviation in parentheses. For example: Old Testament (OT). Use the abbreviation every time from then on.
· Do not use e.g., i.e., and etc. You can normally replace these with for example, that is and and so on respectively.
Write the names of the books in full, and use hyphens, colons and spaces exactly as shown.
2 Corinthians 5:1-10
Hebrews 11:1, 6, 13-14; 12:3
When deciding whether to use a capital letter, follow two basic principles:
· Keep capital letters to a minimum.
· When quoting, follow the capitalisation of the original unless you have a good reason not to.
Bible (capital B)
biblical (lower case b)
Catholic (capital C if it means Roman Catholic)
Christian (capital C)
church (lower case c)
crucifixion (lower case c for the crucifixion)
evangelical (lower case e)
fall (lower case f for the fall)
Gospel/gospel (capital G for John’s Gospel; lower case g for the good news)
heathen (lower case h)
heaven (lower case h)
hell (lower case h)
his, him, etc. (lower case h for God)
incarnation (lower case i for the incarnation)
Spirit (capital S for the Holy Spirit)
Word/word (capital W for Christ; lower case w` for the Bible)
N.B. If you decide to try to correct for difference from these elements of style by using a global edit function, then beware! There are circumstances where capital letters would need to be retained, for example at the beginning of sentences.
Do not use can’t, didn’t and other similar contractions.
· Use sentence capitalisation not headline capitalisation. That is, only capitalise the first word in a heading unless another word needs a capital letter in its own right.
· There should be no full stops at the end of headings unless they really are sentences. E.g. Cain and Abel as a heading should not have a full stop.
· List items should be numbered (1, 2, 3…) or bulleted.
· For lists with long items, put a full stop at the end of each list item.
· For lists with short items, do not use any punctuation at the end of the list items.
· Place one tab character (not space characters) between the number and the start of the text.
· For 5-digit and longer numbers, use a space rather than a comma to separate the thousands from the units (this is the international standard). E.g. 30 000.
· For 4-digit numbers, do not separate them at all. E.g. 6000.
· If you have a mixture of 4-digit an longer numbers in the same sentence, use either a space or no space throughout, e. g EITHER "The crowd numbered between 9000 and 10000." OR "The crowd numbered between 9 000 and 10 000."
· Use a full stop not a comma for the decimal point.
· Use digits rather than words, except for 1, 2 and 3 which, depending on the context, can be in words. For example:
One two three 4 500 6000 30 000 26 500 000
Wherever possible, try to avoid beginning sentences with numbers, but this can be difficult.
· Use a colon to introduce a list. Do not put a hyphen after the colon.
· Do not put a full stop after a contraction (such as Mr).
· Single speech marks are the EE standard. Where a complete sentence is quoted, the full stop (or exclamation mark or question mark) is part of that sentence and should come inside the speech marks. For example:
· ‘Come’, he replied, ‘and you will see.’
(This reverses the examples given in the current Manual.) Note that the comma to break the quote comes after the speech mark (‘Come’, …).
· Peter shouted, ‘Stop the bus!’
· The angel said, ‘Come with me.’
· John asked, ‘Did you miss the bus?’
But note that if the reported speech does not end the sentence, normal practice is to omit a full stop (though not a question/exclamation mark) at the end of the quoted sentence, e.g:
· ‘Come with me’, the angel said.
Where only some words or part of a sentence is quoted, the full stop comes at the end of the whole sentence. For example:
· One of Christ’s names is ‘The Greatest King and The Most Powerful Lord’.
Quotes within quotes
Where you have quotes within quotes, the standard single speech marks come on the outside, with double speech marks on the inside. Type a space between the two sets of closing speech marks if they occur together, e.g:
· The man replied, ‘I thought, “We must go home.” ’
· Jesus said, ‘You must tell them, “The Lord needs it.” ’
(Note that you will need to type both closing speech marks first, and then insert a space between them, to prevent MS Word’s ‘smartquotes’ changing the final speech mark to the other way round.)
You don’t need to add any spaces if the two sets of speech marks have the full stop between them, e.g:
· The man said, ‘My home is called “Rose Cottage”.’
Where you have a third level, of quotes within quotes within quotes, indicate this by a colon followed by the reported speech/quote without speech marks.
· Put one space not two after a comma, semi-colon, colon or full stop.
· Please, only one space between sentences. Please do NOT use a succession of spaces to align text. Use the tab key to indent or line up material.
· However, please do NOT use the tab key in the middle of a definition in the Word List. Let it run unto the next line normally.
· Do not put spaces inside parentheses or quotation marks.
· Use British rather than American spelling. For example: colour not color.
· Use ise rather that ize. For example: recognise not recognize.
2. Fix the numbering if possible.
The Bible verses should begin v27 And he said… (Bold but no space or dot in v27).
Comments on the verses should begin Verse 27 This verse means…or Verses 27-29 In these verses… (No full stop after verse number)
3. Please would you suggest a title for your work.
For example, Jonah has been called “The man who disagreed with God” and 2 Peter, “The Promise of Jesus’ Return”.
4. It would be helpful if you could include a list of the books (a bibliography) that you have used in your work, ideally following the style shown in the following example.
Leon Morris ~ Luke ~ Tyndale NT Commentaries
Michael Wilcock ~ The *Saviour of the World ~ The Bible Speaks Today
Bibles ~ TEV, RSV & NIV
I apologise if this seems rather a long list. However, you can imagine how time-consuming it can be to have to amend every translation that comes to us. Checking “housestyle” (point 1 above) is particularly time-consuming. You can be assured that any effort you are able to make towards greater consistency in style, in the ways indicated above, will be hugely appreciated by the Web Preparation Team.
20 January 2003