When it comes down to story writing, it's always nice to have variety in characters. Such as a character who speaks Spanish more than English or is bilingual with both languages. But say if the character or their parents hardly speak any English.

Here's an example: Would it be appropriate to write it as:

"He said tomato is a fruit. Not a vegetable, mom." The character translates to his mother in Spanish for her to understand a lot clearer.


"Dijo que el tomate es una fruta. No es un vegetal, mamá." The character explains to his mother in Spanish.

I feel like the first one would work better since it's not guaranteed every reader would know how to pronounce the dialogue in a different language from their native tongue. But at the same time, I feel like writing it in a different language adds a clearer perspective rather than simply saying: "the character expalained in [insert language]".

I have a character who speaks predominately Arabic and I've incorporated the dialogue of what the character is saying to his parents in Arabic while in parenthesis the translation. I suppose the reader could ignore the dialogue and skip to the translation.

But thoughts? Which would you recommend? Writing the dialogue in the native language or saying that the character spoke in the native language?


I think it depends on your target audience. If (most) of your readers understand at least a little Arabic, I think it's a nice trick to show conversations in Arabic where appropriate. However if most of your readers don't speak any Arabic it is just some useless random gibberish.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.