English Quick Reference for Transcribers, Translators and Proofreaders

From Linguistic Team International Wiki


  • The Venus Project, The Zeitgeist Movement, Resource-Based Economy
  • Proper nouns (John Smith, Washington, )
  • Specific deities (God, Zeus, Athena, etc...)
  • Religious events (the Great Flood, Easter)
  • Titles when followed by a name (President Bush)
  • Days of the week (Monday)
  • Months of the year (July)
  • Holidays (Thanksgiving, Hanukkah)
  • Names of countries (Ireland)
  • Nationalities and Languages (French)
  • First word in a sentence that is a direct quote. (He said “Life is wonderful.”)
  • Major words in the titles of books. (‘The Year of Getting to Know Us’)
  • Members of national, political, racial, social, civic and athletic groups (the New York Yankees)
  • Periods and events, but not centuries. (The Cretaceous, the 20th century)
  • Celestial bodies, planets, stars (Mars, the Moon, Alpha Centauri)
  • Trademarks (Nike shoes)

Date Format

  • Use BC or AD when mentioned after dates (not B.C. or A.D.).
  • Use numerals (May 10) and add ‘th’ or ‘nd’ or ‘rd’ if the month is not mentioned (on the 10th).
  • The ‘80s, the 1950s, the year 1984, pottery from the 5th century BC, a 5th-century pottery.

Do not transcribe:

  • padding expressions (you know, sort of, kind of, hum, well, eh...)
  • onomatopoeia: imitations of sounds (oink, meow)
  • repetitions, hesitations, pieces of text that do not contain any information.
  • audio events not significant to the understanding of the video (ex: Sound of book falling).

Edit the text when:

  • a string exceeds what is an acceptable standards of readability. Convey the meaning of the phrase;
  • the speaker uses grammatically flawed structures. “And then a lot of people that see the film, they get the wrong impression” would be transcribed as “And then a lot of people who see the film get the wrong impression”;
  • the speaker’s inflection does not reflect a correct English structure. Punctuate correctly.
  • Imperial Units are not the standard in your language (60 miles = 96 km). Approximation is accepted to avoid decimals.


  • Do not emphasize a word using all capital letters except to indicate screaming.


  • Use the musical note icon provided in DotSub’s special characters panel to surround music.
  • If the lyrics' flow of text is too fast or too long, indicate only the title and performer in brackets. (Musician performing "The Zeitgeist tune")


  • If the number is over ten, use the numeral (seven, 45 to 50)
  • Use the comma to group blocks of thousands (10,000)
  • Use the period only to indicate floating decimals (304.9 meters above sea-level)


  • Punctuate according to correct English structure and not to the speaker's inflection, which can be misleading.
  • Use ellipses ... only when words are left out at the end of a sentence. (I see constant repeat of the same series of events: war, poverty, recession, again... )
  • Do not use ellipses ... to indicate hesitation in the person’s speech if the sentence is complete.
  • Do not use commas before conjunctions, except when two complete sentences are joined with: and, but, or, nor. (I want the end of unnecessary human suffering, and I can't see it within a monetary-based system.)
  • Do not use spaces before question marks or exclamation points at the end of sentences. (This is final!)


  • Double quotes “...” are used for direct quotations, with no colon or comma before the quote. (A wise man once said "The most profound understandings are often the most obvious.")
  • Single quotes ‘...‘ are used for expressions and titles of book and movie, articles, etc.. (My presentation 'Social Pathology' mentioned that... )


  • You may transcribe slang and profanity to preserve a speaker's persona.

Speaker Identification

  • If the speaker is not visible on screen, use his name (Peter Joseph) or identifier (PJ) in parentheses before the text.
  • In a dialogue where speakers are visible on screen, use a hyphen directly followed by text. Separate each speaker by two spaces. (-Do you like that? -Yes.)
  • In a dialogue where speakers are not visible on screen, use their identifiers+hyphen, directly followed by text. Separate each speaker by two spaces. (PJ)-Do you like that? (JFK)-No, not at all.


  • Use an English or American spellchecker, according to the speaker’s locale or accent. Be consistent!