Kurodahan Stylesheet


v1.4 posted September 26, 2018

Kurodahan Press Style Guide for English Language Submissions

This document is in two parts. The first part refers to the technical specifications we expect to see in documents submitted to us. The second part covers conventions of usage we prefer to see. As one might expect, the first part is less open to modification than the second part.

Part One: Technical Specifications

Word processing:

Use Microsoft Word; if this is impossible, submit your document in rich text format (RTF). We strongly recommend Word (DOC or DOCX), because the revision tracking feature is extremely helpful. If you cannot meet either of these conditions, contact us first and ask for advice.

Document formatting:

  • Use a common font (such as Times) at 10 or 12 point size.
  • As much as possible, use only one font at one size throughout your document. See part two for a discussion of special accented characters.
  • Do not start paragraphs with tabs, and do not insert an extra return between paragraphs. If you want to have a space between all paragraphs, or an indent at the start of a paragraph, please set the Word stylesheet that way. We can get rid of Word styles easily; getting rid of extra blank lines and tabs is time-consuming.
  • Please only put blank lines in the manuscript where you want a blank line in the printed story.
  • You can use headers and footers if you wish, but do not put important information in headers or footers if it does not also appear somewhere else. If possible (depending on your software), put page numbers in either the header or footer on every page.
  • Indicate source text pagination in the document as (for example): **p67
  • When you insert comments, mark them clearly with ** flags. For example:
**source not clear: this could be a different speaker
**ask author: which town is this?

If you wish, you can also highlight comments with a different color. Whatever you do, always use two asterisks (**) to mark your comments. That makes it easy to find them all, and get rid of them all later.

Document layout (when submitting a proposal):

On the first page of your document, include the following information in the following order. Please put each item on a different line, and center the lines on the page.

  • Title of the work as it will be written in English.
  • Name of the author as it will be written in English.
  • Title of the work in the source language. This is very important to avoid confusion, and to help us track down a copy of the original work if need be.
  • Name of the author in the source language.
  • Publication information for the work in the source language (for example, the edition you worked from to produce this translation).
  • Your name. (This line can also include the translator's assertion of copyright.) You may of course use a pseudonym here, if you prefer.

Document layout (when submitting a contracted translation):

On the first page of your document, include the following information in the following order. Please put each item on a different line.

  • Title of the work as it will be written in English.
  • Name of the author as it will be written in English.
  • Your name. (This line can also include the translator's assertion of copyright.) You may of course use a pseudonym here, if you prefer.
  • Document revision date. Required for Kurodahan Press translation jobs in progress.
  • Document version number and edit status. Required for Kurodahan Press translation jobs in progress (as applicable: we will usually determine this with you). In general, every time a version is delivered, in either direction, the number is incremented.
  • The revision history on the first page of the translation lists each version with the date it was completed, and a brief description of who did what to the prior version. This helps us keep track of the current version of a document. All documents are "version one" or "v1" or "01" on a first submission.

File name conventions:

For an initial submission, choose a file name that makes sense to you. Try to keep it short, and avoid using spaces or special characters in the name. For example, if your name is Janet Singh, and you are translating Soseki's Sore Kara, you might choose the following style:


(translator surname, identifying word in title of work; document version number follows)

Note that these employ a three letter file extension: this tells us which file format you have used. For this example, we have used a romanization of the source text's title in the file name, but you can choose to use your translated title if you wish. Whatever you do, make sure we know what you mean: explain your file name in a covering message when you submit it. See our file submission guidelines for instructions on how to send us files.

Try to include the whole work in one file; if this is impossible, make sure your file name conventions clearly indicate which part of the work is in which file. For example, if Janet Singh's translation of Sore Kara were in five parts, the names might be:

SinSore-01-v1.doc (part one, version one)
SinSore-02-v1.doc (part two, version one)
SinSore-03-v1.doc (part three, version one)
SinSore-04-v1.doc (part four, version one)
SinSore-05-v1.doc (part five, version one)

In general:

Make your document plain and simple. It may not be as attractive as you might like, but it will keep problems and file sizes to a minimum.

Part Two: Style Conventions

In general:

For the sake of convenience and to aid in mutual understanding, Kurodahan Press turns to the Chicago Manual of Style to answer questions as they arise. We will not always follow the Chicago Manual's advice, but we will start there to explain what we prefer to see in print.

For information on handing uniquely Japanese situations, we refer to the style guide of Monumenta Nipponica, which is available as a downloadable PDF from


Kurodahan Press uses American English as the basis of its own documents and most of its publications. If a translator prefers to use a different set of spelling and usage conventions, we will not object; but we will insist on internal consistency. Punctuation will follow American usage as outlined in the Chicago Manual.

We also use the following general reference works as authorities: Encyclopaedia Britannica, and Webster's Third New International Dictionary (the big heavy one that was in your school library). We view matters of style and usage as conventions, not laws, and so we are open to reasoned argument if a translator wishes to do something other than what we initially require. Please be aware that "this is right" and "this is wrong" are not in themselves convincing arguments.

Representing the source language in the translation:

(Note: at present, these guidelines refer mainly to Japanese source texts. Others will follow. Refer to the Kurodahan Press romanization guide for more detailed discussion of our preferred romanization scheme.) It is available as a PDF at


Express long vowels, whether the doubled vowel in hiragana or the extension bar in katakana, with a circumflex in your document. We will replace these with macrons in the final published work.

Try to avoid special fonts such as symbol sets or Unicode characters in your document. Although these are often the best way to get a particular accent, they are also among the first things to go wrong when several different people attempt to work on the same file. If you must use a non-standard accent, make a note in the text, such as:

**S has a dot under it

We may ask you to send a PDF of your document to make sure of our understanding of a particular character or glyph.

Chinese, Japanese, and Korean names are given in Asian order (for example: Asamatsu Ken). Western names are given in Western order (for example: Edward Lipsett). The general principle we follow is this: we wish to represent names as they would be represented in the source language culture. We recognize that this gets tricky sometimes, so discussion is possible in special cases. The name of a character in a Japanese novel is not, in our view, a special case.

Recasting passages:

If you recast a passage, you will usually flag it with a note, such as:

**strange: had to recast
**allusion: had to recast

However, you can use your discretion here: we are not asking to know about every instance where you make an original text read smoothly in English. The following section on allusions will indicate the sort of situation where we will expect to see a note. Our goal is to produce texts that will appeal to general readers: translations should read smoothly, and should not attract attention to themselves in places where their original authors did not intend to attract attention.

Allusions in the source text:

A source text will often refer to a work of art or literature, to a cultural practice, proverb, famous place, or other aspect of common culture that readers of the original can be expected to understand. In cases where English readers could be expected to follow the allusion, the translation should attempt to reproduce it as closely as possible. If the source text refers to something which would be unfamiliar to English readers, the translation should recast the passage to retain the flavor of the original as much as possible. This may involve brief, discreet definitions (something like: "Amaterasu, the sun goddess") or more substantial recasting.

Quoted titles of works in the source language:

If a work makes reference to a publication in the source language, the translator should (a) romanize the reference if the work is not available in English translation, or (b) replace it with a reference to the most recent published English translation. If the atmosphere conveyed by a title, rather than the specific text being referred to, is most important to the meaning of a passage, the translator might choose to translate the title. This applies to works of fiction intended for general readers: specialist texts, nonfiction, and bibliographies require different treatment.

Translators should watch out for cases where a work being referred to is itself a translated work, and should avoid making unconfirmed assumptions about a reference. When in doubt, add a note.

Katakana expressions in quoted titles of works:

Japanese book titles will often include katakana expressions, such as 妖神グルメ. These should be romanized to best make sense to English readers: in this case, "gourmet" not "gurume". This will largely depend on the translator's discretion and judgment.

Unusual dialects:

This is a constant problem, and many attempts at dialect can be way off course. You should try to suggest regional accents or bumpkin-ness through a few well-chosen words and phrases, and leave most of the sentences as standard speech.

Many translators have suggested or used many different ways of doing this, but (in our considered opinion) none of them is really successful. For example, "Them people up there" as opposed to "those people" is preferable to "Them people uppa yonder." We want to suggest something of the flavour of the original, but we can't slow readers down, or make them laugh when the scene isn't funny, or (the worst) make them stop and think "that's odd." Using prohibition-era gangster slang for a yakuza speaking Osaka dialect just doesn't work.

Some specific cases:

Chicago (at 15.16) says that abbreviations such as Dr., Mr., Mrs. Ms. etc. get periods following and are only spelled out when used alone.
Also, note that you can write James Watson, M.D. or Dr. James Watson, but NOT Dr. James Watson, M.D.

Generally commas and periods are placed inside quotation marks, and colons and semicolons outside of them. Exclamation marks and question marks depend on context for placement. The final serial comma is strongly recommended by Chicago (for example, "He had toast, sausages, and eggs for breakfast."). En and em dashes normally do not have spaces between them and the adjacent words.

For ellipses we follow the rules laid out in Chicago 16th edition sections 13.48 through 13.56, but translators may use single-character ellipsis glyphs if they prefer.

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