Punctuation Troubleshooting

They don't sound very certain
They don’t sound very certain

One of the principal reasons for a style guide is to ensure consistency. Our translators work from a wide range of languages and are based around the world. The style guide is what helps ensure all Dragoman output is presented in a professional, clear and uniform manner.

Adhering to Dragoman style isn’t difficult; it just takes the self-discipline to reference. That said, when it comes to punctuation and formatting, there are some recurring issues that are nevertheless time consuming to edit.

Problem areas (italics used for emphasis):

  • Bullet points: phrases don’t required periods, but full sentences do. AP states that if there is a bulleted list of both phrases and complete sentences, for consistency it is preferable to use a period at the end of all the bullets.
  • Colons: ordinarily lowercase the word after a colon, unless it is a proper noun or it begins a complete new sentence.
    Capitalization after colons: This is wrong.
    Capitalization after colons: this is correct.
  • Commas and periods: these go within the quotation marks for all copy (more here).
    Correct: GarantiBank received the EU Award for the “Best Bank in Turkey.”
    Incorrect: GarantiBank received the EU Award for the “Best Bank in Turkey”.
  • Dashes: use either the en dash (–) with spaces, or the longer em dash (—), without any spaces. Not to be confused with the shorter hyphen (-). You can read more here.
    “The incoming president will face a range of issues – rising inflation, regional instability and water shortages – over the coming year.”
    “The incoming president will face a range of issues—rising inflation, regional instability and water shortages—over the coming year.”
  • Ellipses ( ): ellipses should only be used in quotations. Turkish texts make liberal use of ellipses in a way that English texts don’t. Ellipses cause text to look incomplete. Unless there’s a specific stylistic justification, cut ellipses out.
  • Exclamation point (!): lose impact when they are overused. Use sparingly and feel free to cut from the source text.
  • Quotation marks: should be reserved for quotations, or phrases that are unique or not commonly known. They should not be used to add emphasis to words, as is commonly done in Turkish. Their use can look euphemistic and condescending (see above). In journalism, these are often referred to as scare quotes to denote something which has be claimed but is not necessarily true.

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