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None of the Above
Q. I am editing a book that contains a lot of terms in the Pali language. None of these terms have made it into standard English dictionaries. Most readers will not initially be familiar with most terms. I have not, so far, been able to draw a coherent or helpful distinction between terms used enough that they become familiar to the reader and terms not used that much. Some terms that appear many, many times are used mostly in the final quarter of the book, leaving readers with only occasional exposure to those terms as they encounter them in the first three-quarters of the book. Also, the chapters of this book treat somewhat independent topics, inviting nonsequential reading. Two paths do seem coherent to me: (1) put all Pali terms in italics, irrespective of how many times they occur or where, or (2) put all Pali terms in Roman type, except where the term is being discussed as a term. For guidance, I have looked at two books with a similar density of Pali terms: a considerably more scholarly book (from a British publisher) follows path 1 above, while a slightly more scholarly book (from an American publisher) follows path 2. What do you folks think?
A. We think you’re doing a great job of using editorial judgment to decide the issue for the document you’re immersed in, and that you are the best person to decide, and that all that’s left is to make your final decision!