Laocoön and Languages

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By Robert Rich

At least twice in the last month or so, I have found myself transcribing an object that contains writing in a language other than English. Both times I was told that the best way to find out how to handle the foreign language text would be to find an earlier instance of an object with such text on it and look at the BAD file for that object. Laocoön has become the go-to source when I go looking for a precedent for transcription of foreign language text.

As can be seen in the image above, Laocoön contains just about everything that has ever existed, including writing in several different languages.


So according to this precedent the process goes something like this: 1) Transcribe the foreign text as it is, presumably copying and pasting from a site that allows you to type non-Latin letters if the language uses a non-Latin alphabet. 2) Within the in which the text appears, add a . 3) Within the add . Within the tags provide the following information:

(a) What the foreign word or words translate to in English
(b) The direction the language reads if not apparent (ex. …read more