when I needed to use APA style for the citations and for the
references section of my Masters assignments, I changed the
Punctuation / symbol level to All in the speech settings, and turned
Font Attributes on in the Document Formatting section.
However, I agree that it can be information overload! What I did was
to set up a profile called Formatting where those are the settings.
Then my normal configuration didn't have that level of detail but I
could turn the Formatting profile on when I did need it.
I guess that, if it's too much information even doing it that way,
then your best option would be to turn the Font Attributes on because
you'll need those to make sure that whatever needs to be bold or
itallic is bold or itallic, and then read each reference character by
character so you can hear if there are dashes and commas in the
correct places without having the Punctuation / symbol level set to
A third option that might work for you is simply not to worry about
the bold and itallic aspects until you have finished the References
page. Then go through it line by line, selecting the text where it
needs to be bold or italic, and using the CTRL+b to make it bold, or
CTRL+i to make it itallic. Since NVDA says "Bold on" or "Bold off" and
"Italics on" or "Italics off", you can spend an editting session just
applying the correct formatting.
I did tell my course director that it was difficult for me, not being
able to see the formatting, and I think she told all of the tutors to
not mark me down if I didn't do the referencing section quite right :)