Style Guide for Preparing Transcriptions, Translations, Annotations, and New Original Work

Contribute a translation Translation (English)

In every case, we defer to the contributor’s preferred style in contributing their work, whether it is an original work, or a translation or transcription of an existing work.

However, we do suggest the following style as a baseline standard for all contributed works.

Transcriptions

  • Lacking access to a manuscript image, transcribers should use a critical text whenever available.
  • Transcribers should endeavor to transcribe either the earliest textual witness of a particular textual unit, prayer, or prayer related work.
  • Please vocalize all text as it appears in the work being transcribed.
  • For all unvocalized text (text without vocalization points — niqud), please provide (or solicit) a separate edition of the text that is completely vocalized.
  • When seeking a source for a translation, transcribe to the closest published variant rather than the earliest witness. Provide images for both the source variant and the earliest witness.

Transliteration (Romanization) of Hebrew

  • For vocalized Hebrew texts, please avail yourself of any of the transliteration schemas currently available in our transliteration engine.
  • All names, place names, and complex terms should be romanized (transliterated with the Latin alphabet). For example, יעקב becomes Ya’akov or Ya’aqoḅ (rather than Jacob).
  • Transliterate all divine names with the first letter in Uppercase. For example, אלהים becomes Elohim (rather than “God”), etc.
  • In the case of the Tetragrammaton (the Four-Letter Name), we recommend it simply being rendered as “YHVH” (rather than translated as “LORD”, “the LORD”, or “the Eternal”).
  • Generic terms for divine entities should be identified in transliteration in lowercase. For example, אלים becomes elim.
  • For the pharyngeal ħ (ח) which does not have an equivalent letter in Roman script, we recommend the use of a diacritical mark under the letter, rather than employing the German “ch” as in Bach. So, for example, ח becomes Ḥ or ḥ (as in Ḥanukkah).
  • For other fricative letters in Hebrew that do not have an equivalent letter in Roman script, we recommend the use of combined letters: ‘ts’ for צ/ץ (as in, ‘tsitsit’ and ‘tsedakah’) and ‘kh’ for כ/ך (as in, ‘barukh’).
  • For Hebrew words that end with a silent hey (ה), we recommend ending the transliteration with the corresponsing ‘h’. Where there is a mapiq hey (הּ), we advise ending the word with two or even three ‘h’s in order to emphasize the breath pronounced in the hey.
  • For the letter quf (ק), we recommend using the letter ‘q’ to distinguish the letter from the כּ.
  • Reasonable minds differ on such conventions for the romanization of Hebrew. The overarching rule is: be consistent in your use of a transliteration schema in any given work.

Translations: Names, Divine Names, and Generic divinities

  • Any indirect reference to divinity may be treated as a generic. For example יהוה אלהיך becomes “YHVH your elo’ah (rather than “YHVH your God”) and אלהי יעקב becomes “elo’ah of Ya’akov” (rather than God of Ya’akov”).

Divine Name Circumlocutions

  • Please avoid using circumlocutions for shemot (Divine Names) in original works.
  • Transcribers should retain divine name circumlocutions as they appear in historical works. For example: ה׳, יְיָ, and ייי are transcribed as they are found.
  • Circumlocutions found in original works should be replaced with the divine names they signify in the translation. For example, יקיק becomes ‘YHVH’, א-לי becomes ‘My El’.
  • If there is an ambiguous case, such as when השם is not being used as a circumlocution in place of the Tetragrammaton but rather as a reference to the Ineffable Name, please simply translate as ‘the Name’.

Annotations

  • Provide citations for all quoted references within brackets or parentheses.
  • Provide all comments and citation references inline rather than as footnotes or endnotes. Begin and end references with reference tags, <ref> and </ref>, respectively.

בסיעתא דארעא