[XeTeX] (Xe)LaTeX output in a non-(Xe)LaTeX scholarly community

John Was john.was at ntlworld.com
Sun Oct 24 09:36:31 CEST 2010

Actually it was Syriac and the compositor was John Bowley...


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Gareth Hughes" <garzohugo at gmail.com>
To: "Unicode-based TeX for Mac OS X and other platforms" <xetex at tug.org>
Sent: 23 October 2010 17:41
Subject: Re: [XeTeX] (Xe)LaTeX output in a non-(Xe)LaTeX scholarly community

> On the matter of declining skills in typesetting I'm reminded of an
> Oxford apocryphon of a printer who was preparing a Sanskrit grammar. The
> printer contacted the author, an esteemed professor, with a crucial
> error in the Sanskrit text. The professor first felt angry at being
> questioned on matters of Sanskrit by a printer, but verified the
> reported the error in his own copy. Returning to the printer he asked
> how he'd managed to spot the error. The printer replied that, after
> setting pages and pages in a script he could not read, he had learnt
> that one of them never follows one of them! Ah... attention to detail;
> they don't make them like that anymore!
> Gareth.
> John Was wrote:
>> Well I'm still in the Press once a week at least (for choir practice!)
>> so I shall make sure these comments reach the right ears.  They
>> correspond, unfortunately to my own impression.  Leofranc
>> Holford-Strevens works heroically on critical editions but he is the
>> sole in-house editor left and can't possibly handle them all.  I think
>> he is pretty well full-time on large projects with extensive commentary
>> (and still finds time to publish and lecture extensively on an
>> astonishing range of topics).
>> Getting back to TeX-related matters, the hyphenation patterns available
>> in XeTeX (even to 'plain' users like myself) are an enormous help, even
>> if I disagree with the English at frequent points (the Latin rarely lets
>> me down, aside from a few rogues - is hucusque one? - which I guess are
>> analagous to Knuth's 'manuscript' in refusing to comply with the
>> algorithms).  No one bothers to read people like Priscian on what should
>> be done with Greek and Latin, and no one at OUP involved in passing
>> proofs would have the faintest idea about this subject.  Neither, alas,
>> do authors - with the Dictionary of Medieval Latin (which I have just
>> relinquished with completion of Fascicule XIII in the middle of letter
>> 'R') it was left entirely to me, and I fear that laxity in this matter
>> will pervade future fascicules as it did in some of those that preceded
>> my involvement.  When I asked the compilers  to keep a look-out for any
>> bad hyphenations that I might have missed in perusing and correcting the
>> proofs, they asked me to explain the rules!
>> John
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: <jherrman at allegheny.edu>
>> To: <xetex at tug.org>
>> Sent: 23 October 2010 15:05
>> Subject: Re: [XeTeX] (Xe)LaTeX output in a non-(Xe)LaTeX scholarly
>> community
>>> Yes, as you would guess, the copy-editor marked up my files by hand
>>> and sent me the hard copy.
>>> Recent OUP critical editions in Greek prose could use a lot more
>>> copy-editing; I would assert that their production standards in this
>>> area have fallen drastically in the last decade. We have new editions
>>> of the Greek orators Demosthenes and Lysias in the Oxford Classical
>>> Text series, all filled with rampant flaws in hyphenation and line
>>> numbering in the apparatus. Reviews have also identified numerous
>>> slips of a more substantial nature, that seem to suggest very little
>>> copy-editing is happening on these in house. It seems that OUP has
>>> adopted new modes of production for these critical editions that
>>> create these problems, and authors (and copy-editors?) don't regularly
>>> take the time to fix it all. I know in the case of my book the
>>> copy-editor, who was otherwise very attentive, didn't seem to have
>>> looked at the Greek at all.
>>> The other major series of critical texts in Greek (and Latin), on the
>>> other hand, the Bibliotheca Teubneriana, has been shuffled from one
>>> publisher to another in the last decade. It's now in the hands of De
>>> Gruyter, who seems devoted to its revitalization. They're requiring
>>> all editors to submit camera-ready-copy, and recommending that they
>>> use Critical Edition Typesetter (<http://www.karas.ch/cet/>). I have
>>> the impression they only really care about the appearance of the CRC,
>>> though, and wouldn't really care if authors prefer other typesetting
>>> systems.
>>> Jud Herrman
>>> On 2010-10-23, John Was
>>> <john.was at ntlworld.com> wrote:
>>>> OUP will normally be amenable if saving money is in prospect!  I
>>>> think the
>>>> barrier here has always been the copy-editing process (now more
>>>> vulnerable
>>>> since house style is not seen as so important and indeed there is no
>>>> longer
>>>> any copy-editing department at OUP).  A critical edition will normally
>>>> require a rather small amount of copy-editing, though there is still 
>>>> the
>>>> introduction and commentary to consider - but if a TeX-savvy author is
>>>> willing to implement those copy-editing changes and suggestions s/he
>>>> agrees
>>>> with, there is no real difficulty.  The copy-editor would then
>>>> presumably
>>>> work by pen(cil) on a draft PDF printout in the traditional way (or by
>>>> annotating the PDF electronically, which can be tedious).
>>>> Or of course one can simply trust the author not to make any mistakes 
>>>> at
>>>> all, and forgo copy-editing.  Even twenty years ago this was
>>>> mentioned as a
>>>> possibility at OUP but no one dared to do it in my time there.
>>>> But I hope this doesn't become too much of a trend or I'll have to
>>>> look for
>>>> something else to do!  In the meantime, I must dust down my old brown
>>>> OCT of
>>>> Hyperides...
>>>> John
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