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Old 10-13-2017, 02:05 AM   #1
shmeckle
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Question Dialog in different languages

I'm writing a story I'd like to submit here that has characters speaking in different languages. Sometimes one of the characters speaks in a foreign language so the main character doesn't understand.

Since I'm a comic-book geek, I followed the comics convention of using angle quotes to show dialog that is translated - « and » -- in html they are &lanquo; and &ranquo; .

Is that acceptable at Literotica, or should I be doing it another way?
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Old 10-13-2017, 02:15 AM   #2
sr71plt
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It might be acceptable, but I doubt many readers would understand why you were doing it. I presume you are rendering the foreign words in the foreign language rather than rendering them the way you propose in English meaning the reader to understand they are in the foreign language. Foreign phrases should be in italics, and if they are dialogue, they should just be in double quotes like the rest of the dialogue is.
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Old 10-14-2017, 02:04 AM   #3
shmeckle
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Here's an example from my draft:

| Clio looked around in a panic at the 3 men and said, “Here? Can’t we do in in private?”
|
| The female officer said, “There is no other place. I need them to observe as witnesses.” She
| turned to the male officers and said, « I told her I need you to act as witnesses. »
|
| One of them smiled and said, « Thank you. »

I suppose I could do that with italics. To avoid confusion I would probably need to stop using them for anything else.

Thanks for the input.
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Old 10-14-2017, 06:14 PM   #4
Bramblethorn
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I think (SR correct me if I'm wrong) that the advice for foreign dialogue in italics is for untranslated passages, like this:

Quote:
He said, "I wasn't watching the other girls. Ich hab, süße Emma, nur an dich gedacht. Now you're here, shall we go?"
But what you're talking about is giving the translation, in a way that flags it as a translation.

For short passages, you could give the original non-English in italics and then insert the translation in square parentheses:

Quote:
He said, "I wasn't watching the other girls. Ich hab, süße Emma, nur an dich gedacht [Sweet Emma, I have thought only of you]. Now you're here, shall we go?
If you have a lot of foreign speech, that gets tedious, and it can be difficult if you're not fluent with the language you're referencing. In that case, one option is just to narrate the language shift:

Quote:
I flashed my badge. "Who is in charge here?"

The kitchen hands chattered to one another in Russian, and I pretended not to understand. "I'll keep him talking," said one, "and Viktor, you get behind him."
Using those « » quotes ("guillemets") to flag translation may cause confusion for multilingual readers, since many languages use guillemets as the standard punctuation for dialogue instead of English quotes " ". As you say, using some form of angle brackets to mark translation does seem to be common in comics, but other readers may not be familiar with that style.
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Old 10-14-2017, 06:26 PM   #5
sr71plt
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It was confusing to me what was being asked and I thought I took care of that. Whatever, anything but double quotes for dialogue would be confusing to readers and square brackets aren't used in fiction text.
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Old 10-15-2017, 02:42 PM   #6
HisArpy
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The way you do it is more a matter of style and how your character is created but Guillemets are usually used to indicate telepathic speech in English Sci-Fi literature.

I think the easiest method where a character speaks in multiple languages interchangeably is to just go with it because real people don't speak and then some off screen narrator does the translation. They just speak.

In my stories when this happens, I just have the character say the non-English words again in English. I do this a few times then drop the translation because the reader should have learned what the word meant already. New words get the same treatment as they are used.

"El Senor, he say caballo, horse, smarter than we think."

After reading that translation 3 or 4 times in different contexts, I can then say:

"Caballo, he run fast."

and you understand the non-English word perfectly without the additional translation.

For long sentences in a foreign language, have another character ask "Huh?" and get the translation. Or have the character being spoken to translate.

"Liebchen . . .," he began. "Wie redest du denn mit mir wir umarmten und küssten uns?"
"I'm NOT your dear anything!" She replied hotly. "And I don't exactly appreciate you telling everyone you groped and kissed me yesterday either!"

Make your character REAL, not just words on the screen.
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