Right from the beginning I picked up the habit of adding [square brackets] round unclear or illegible words / letters in transcriptions and < angle brackets > round words / letters that I added myself to make the transcript clearer. However, I am totally unclear where I got this idea from and I have never found anyone else advocating this standard.
As I wish to continue to distinguish the two cases, I intend to carry on doing it and will explain my convention in a note to the transcript. But I'd like to justify it if I can - so can anyone point me to a standard that distinguishes the two? Or justify why I shouldn't do so?
Example for clarity: I would transcribe a will with an unclear signature from the testator thus:
"This is the Last Will and Testament of ... ... ... < signed > John [Dee]" The word "< signed >" is not present in the original text, it simply indicates that the name following is a signature. "[Dee]" represents text that is unclear so it could be our old friend John Doe.
Many books would transcribe this as "This is the Last Will and Testament of ... ... ... [signed] John [Dee]" This would leave me to query whether the word "signed" is present in the original text (as it could be if I were transcribing what is already a transcription).
Grateful for any thought on this distinction.