Transcription is the systematic representation of language in written form, based on the utterances of speakers. In order to protect endangered languages, our Commission encourages all speakers (individuals and communities) to write their language in a simple system and find the utmost consensus to make written products accessible to as many people as possible. In addition to popular transcription for widespread use, there are scientific transcriptions that aim to provide accurate documentation and to make the data comparable. For this purpose, VLACH follows the phonetic principles of the International Phonetic Alphabet in the subtitles of its videos. Since many different regional traditions and models exist worldwide, there are numerous deviations of the transcription systems, which is why, in the following, common principles for all transcriptions on VLACH are first compiled. After that you will find the transcription principles and examples for each language. Our main principles when making scientific transcriptions are as follows:
- We write what we hear: Texts are transcribed as they sound in the utterances of the speakers.
- Pronounciation errors are usually not corrected.
- Slang words and regionalisms are kept as used.
- We avoid italics and bold.
- We do not use more than one space between words.
- We do not use the tab button.
- Write in capital letters what usually is written in capital letters: beginning of sentences, toponyms, words like Bible. Follow the standard, if there is one, e.g. Serbian language uses upper cases for ethnic groups, Bulgarian languages does not.
- We do not use abbreviations and numbers in the original language, but write the way they are pronounced.
- As the names and roles of our interviewed persons are known in the metadata, we do not mention the speakers in the subtitles.
- Mentioning sound events and body language is optional.
Common symbols in all languages
Common symbols in all languages
|´||Main stress: ✎ dáyroom|
|`||Secondary stress: ✎ ìntonátion|
|˝||Stress with emphasis: ✎ My gőd, that-s me̋!|
|ː||Length: ✎ gooːd!|
In case of extreme length, esp. in songs, the symbol can be repeated: ✎ tralaláːːː
Alternatively, lenght may be indicated also by repetition of a letter: ✎ tralaláá
Attention: this symbol (ː) is not a colon (:).
|" "||Introduction of concept, technical term or very unusual word. An English equivalent or explanation may be added in the translation in round brackets:|
✎ She invited us to their "wigwam" (dwelling) and we drunk until the morning.
|< >||Direct speech. Punctuation is to be introduced within the direct speech signs and after when the direct speech is embedded. Use colon after the introductory clause:|
✎ The Goddess said: <You must make a choice.>
Do not use the full stop when the direct speech is at the beginning:
✎ <You must make a choice,> the Goddess said.
Do not use a comma when the quotation ends with a question mark or exclamation mark:
✎ <Did you make your choice?> the Goddess asked. The Goddess asked: <Did you make your choice?>
✎ <No!> she replied. She replied: <No!>
Internal dialogues are seen as direct quotations as well:
✎ And then I thought to myself: <What if I can't make it?>
The same symbol is used for quotations in quotations:
✎ <Cleopatra told Caesar: <All strange events are welcome,>> said the teacher.
|[?]||Not deciphered segment; impossible to hear what is being said; to be indicated in original languages and translation:|
✎ We went to a really [?] club.
|[...]||Omission of not relevant segment. This symbol should be used as rare as possible. For longer omission, the duration in seconds can be mentioned: ✎ [...10 sec...]|
|[ ]||Introductions of the annotator in the original text or the translation:|
(a) omissions: ✎ Today [we don’t prepare] neither meatballs nor anything else.
(b) giving wider accepted form: ✎He was talking a load of gobbledygook [nonsense].
(c) corrections for better understanding: ✎ All of chai mildren [my children]
(d) notes on sound events and body language: ✎ [laughs] [coughs] [crosstalk] [applause] [phone ringing] [dial tone] [nervous] [uncertain] [whisper]
|( )||(a) phoneme reduced in quantity: ✎ ri(n)g, when ‘n’ can hardly be heard. |
(b) not pronounced elements, necessary for understanding:
✎ we came by air(plane)
(c) confusing elements and repetitions:
✎ <Ye-, yes,> he said, <he will go>, he said, <tomorrow.> can be reproduced as:
✎ <() yes,> he said, <he will go () tomorrow.>
|-||(a) pair words: ✎ pot-belly|
(b) contraction (in some languages): ✎ s-o dus (Romanian: he went)
(c) additional morphemes (in songs, poetry, colloquial speech): ✎ I am singing-ing.
Stuttering we indicate like this: ✎ Why is this m-m-moist?
(d) change of speaker: ✎ How are you? - Fine!
|--||(a) unfinished word (-- without white space):|
✎ Most of them were rent--
The adding of the assumed missing elements is optional:
✎ Most of them were rent[ing]--
(b) unfinished idea (␣--␣ with white space):
✎ We went to -- and forgot to take the keys.
|---||unfinished sentence (␣--- with white space):|
✎ Most of them had no ---
|ǁ::ǁ||elements between these symbols are repeated:|
✎ And so he killed the dragon ǁ: and fled to the forest :ǁ
= And so he killed the dragon and fled to the forest, and fled to the forest.
✎ ǁ: And so he killed the dragon, :ǁ: and fled to the forest :ǁ
= And so he killed the dragon, and so he killed the dragon, and fled to the forest, and fled to the forest.
Further punctuation marks such as commas, semi-colons, exclamation marks and question marks, when outside the square brackets, are used as in standard punctuation.
As for the spelling of geographical names, we follow UNGEGN recommendations and geonames. Where there are usual exonym forms in English language, we prefer them (e.g. Athens instead of Athina).
Names of persons are written in the form the speaker prefers to be published.
|a||▶||near-open central unrounded vowel|
|ɐ||▶||open front unrounded vowel|
|ã||▶||open front unrounded nasal vowel|
|ɑ||▶||open back unrounded vowel|
|ɒ||▶||open back rounded vowel|
|æ||▶||near-open front unrounded vowel|
|ʌ||▶||open-mid back unrounded vowel|
|b||▶||voiced bilabial plosive|
|ɓ||▶||voiced bilabial implosive|
|β||▶||voiced bilabial approximant|
|c||▶||voiceless palatal plosive|
|ç||▶||voiceless palatal fricative|
|ɕ||▶||voiceless alveolo-palatal sibilant|
|d||▶||voiced alveolar plosive|
|ɗ||▶||voiced alveolar implosive|
|ɖ||▶||voiced retroflex stop|
|ð||▶||voiced dental fricative|
|d͡z||▶||voiced alveolar sibilant affricate|
|d͡ʒ||▶||voiced palato-alveolar affricate|
|d̠͡ʑ||▶||voiced alveolo-palatal affricate|
|ɖ͡ʐ||▶||voiced retroflex affricate|
|e||▶||close-mid front unrounded vowel|
|ɛ̃||▶||close-mid front unrounded nasal vowel|
|ə||▶||mid central vowel|
|ɘ||▶||close-mid central unrounded vowel|
|ɛ||▶||open-mid front unrounded vowel|
|ɜ||▶||open-mid central unrounded vowel|
|f||▶||voiceless labiodental fricative|
|ɸ||▶||voiceless bilabial fricative|
|ɡ||▶||voiced velar plosive|
|ɠ||▶||voiced velar implosive|
|ɢ||▶||voiced uvular stop|
|ʛ||▶||voiced uvular implosive|
|ɣ||▶||voiced velar fricative|
|h||▶||voiceless glottal fricative|
|ħ||▶||voiceless glottal fricative|
|ɦ||▶||voiceless pharyngeal fricative|
|ʜ||▶||voiceless dorso-palatal velar fricative|
|i||▶||close front unrounded vowel|
|ɨ||▶||close central unrounded vowel|
|ɪ||▶||near-close near-front unrounded vowel|
|ʝ||▶||voiced palatal fricative|
|ɟ||▶||voiced palatal plosive|
|ʄ||▶||voiced palatal implosive|
|k||▶||voiceless velar plosive|
|k͡x||voiceless velar affricate|
|l||▶||alveolar lateral approximant|
|ɫ||▶||velarized alveolar lateral approximant|
|ɬ||▶||voiceless lateral fricative|
|ɭ||▶||retroflex lateral approximant|
|ʟ||▶||velar lateral approximant|
|ɮ||▶||voiced lateral fricative|
|ʎ||▶||palatal lateral approximant|
|o||▶||close-mid back rounded vowel|
|ɔ̃||▶||open-mid back rounded nasal vowel|
|ɵ||▶||close-mid central rounded vowel|
|ø||▶||close-mid front rounded vowel|
|ɞ||▶||open-mid central rounded vowel|
|œ||▶||open-mid front rounded vowel|
|œ̃||▶||open-mid front rounded nasal vowel|
|ɶ||▶||open front rounded vowel|
|ɔ||▶||open-mid back rounded vowel|
|ɤ||▶||close-mid back unrounded vowel|
|p||▶||voiceless bilabial plosive|
|p͡f||▶||voiceless labiodental affricate|
|q||▶||voiceless uvular plosive|
|ɺ||▶||alveolar lateral flap|
|ʁ||▶||voiced uvular fricative|
|r̝||voiced palatal vibrant|
|s||▶||voiceless alveolar sibilant|
|ʂ||▶||voiceless retroflex sibilant|
|ʃ||▶||voiceless palato-alveolar sibilant|
|s͡f||voiceless labio-dental alveolar fricative|
|t||▶||voiceless alveolar plosive|
|ʈ||▶||voiceless retroflex stop|
|θ||▶||voiceless dental fricative|
|t͡s||▶||voiceless alveolar sibilant affricate|
|t͡ʃ||▶||voiceless palato-alveolar affricate|
|t̠͡ɕ||▶||voiceless alveolo-palatal affricate|
|ʈ͡ʂ||▶||voiceless retroflex affricate|
|u||▶||close back rounded vowel|
|ʉ||▶||close central rounded vowel|
|ʊ||▶||near-close near-back rounded vowel|
|v||▶||voiced labiodental fricative|
|v̊||semi-voiced labio-dental fricative|
|w||▶||voiced labio-velar approximant|
|ʍ||▶||voiceless labio-velar fricative|
|ɯ||▶||close back unrounded vowel|
|ɰ||▶||voiced velar approximant|
|x||▶||voiceless velar fricative|
|χ||▶||voiceless uvular fricative|
|y||▶||close front rounded vowel|
|ʏ||▶||near-close near-front rounded vowel|
|z||▶||voiced alveolar sibilant|
|ʑ||▶||voiced alveolo-palatal sibilant|
|ʐ||▶||voiced retroflex sibilant|
|ʒ||▶||voiced palato-alveolar sibilant|
|z͡v||voiced labio-dental alveolar fricative|
|ʡ||▶||voiceless epiglottal plosive|
|ʕ||▶||voiced pharyngeal fricative|
|ʢ||▶||voiced epiglottal fricative|
|ǁ||▶||alveolar lateral click|