35

A story like this is about what the MC experiences, and should be told in the MC's voice, but it's also important to consider your readers' experiences as they read, right? This seems like a case where you need to balance the reader's expected knowledge of the subject matter with the MC's. If I told someone a story about what I did at work (and didn't want ...


15

The "subtitle problem" is an extremely common one in stories with multilingual characters, and there are a few different approaches. Here are three suggestions for how you can do it. In most cases, you would do something like, "What's the deal?" I asked, sliding easily into my native tongue. "Did the package come or not?" This ...


13

I don't think you should describe the accent, what you should describe is the effect that accent has on a listener. Obviously if the listener has the same accent, then the effect is zero. (An exception; if the listener is not expecting to hear their own accent. h/t to @Spagirl comment.) But if listener has a different accent, what about the other accent ...


9

If you're writing for an American audience, with an American publisher, then use an American dialect for your narration. But... your character is living in England. Whether she's British or an immigrant or a visitor, she's going to be exposed to the local dialect. She will use local terms when appropriate. If she's in Year 8 in school, she'll say that. ...


8

Focus Summary: choose wisely the necessary "difficult" words that you need to set the tone, the style and the setting, and avoid all the others. The absolute basic is that any story can be told with a bare minimum of words. Many suggested reading books for language beginners are abridged versions of literary masterpieces, based on reduced dictionaries of a ...


8

Simply telling, e.g. he said with a heavy Gujarati accent would be my solution, but you say that isn't enough for you. Which is fair. What is the most characteristic aspect of the accent you wish to describe? What would stand out most, and make it most recognisable? Is it the way a certain vowel is pronounced? Or some consonant? Is it that particular ...


8

Many writers have grappled with this particular problem. Some make use of it. Colloquial speech and pronunciation in dialog is a tricky thing--too much of alternative pronunciation and it gets hard to read. Readers don't like having to have to translate. The modern way is to pick a few of these and stick with them. But in older books, like Mark Twain in ...


8

Both works, but the first one is more consise so it is better. The general rule of thumb when using pronouns multiple times in a phrase is that the pronoun should refer to the same noun. That being said, there is an even better sentence: "This part of the book highlights her kindness and self-confidence." I hope this helps, please comment if you need ...


8

I think you're making things hard on yourself. Is the book intended for people who speak English? Then the dialog should be in English. Readers routinely understand and accept that this is supposed to be a translation of whatever language the character would really speak. Every now and then, I read a story where the author puts in a lot of text in a foreign ...


6

Don't, under (almost) any circumstances write a Roman-script foreign language "the way it is pronounced". It is not helpful to anyone. If I (as your reader) don't speak Spanish, the text is gibberish to me whether it is rendered in proper Spanish, or in "the way it is pronounced". ("Romanisation" isn't the proper term here, as Spanish already uses Roman ...


5

I separate my narrator from my main character's voice. I do not write in first person, I write in 3rd person limited, with a deep POV. (Deep 3PL). Meaning, for those unfamiliar, my narrator knows the thoughts, sensations, emotions and memories of my one main, POV character, (that's "deep") but "Limited" means the narrator has knowledge of ONLY this one ...


5

Having heard what you should do, allow me to mention something that you should not do: If the character is speaking in his or her native language, and you are translating it into English for the reader's sake, then do not try to write English with the accent of the original language. Instead, write English that has the same sound/gravitas to English-speaking ...


5

This has been touched on in other answers and comments, but I'd like to bring it out explicitly: You don't have to do anything. In fact, I'd argue you shouldn't do anything. It's a general understanding when reading English books that in any given scene, "English" is the stand-in for "language the POV character speaks and understands". ...


4

I'd suggest constantly attaching reminders and clues of what things are in a way that adds to/integrates with the rest of the story. Rather than "waving the muleta at the oncoming bull", it might be something more like "The red silk of the muleta flashed over the bulls head as it made another pass, displacing the bull's charge just enough to avoid gouging....


4

I pieced the below data together from a number different websites. Basically putting the text versions of the three titles shown, individually into a site that can quickly filter out the unique words. I then used the data to feed into a homemade random word generator to be used it typing practice. It is more challenging to get newer titles, but this gives ...


4

Rather than give a fish… Tie it into the culture, make it do double duty Everything in your story should do more than one job. The name you pick doesn’t have to be obvious to a contemporary human in our world. If you tie it into their culture, practices, and beliefs, it becomes more meaningful that you’re putting this plane “on screen” and having a scene ...


3

I understand both of your approaches. Write your story in a way that the readers travel along with the main character. If he/she doesn't understand the language in the beginning, let the reader experience the same. As the plot moves, introduce the foreign words. The readers will automatically get the gist of the meaning for the foreign words. My suggestion ...


3

I've read books that had short pieces of dialog where the narrator only understood a few words, and the writer expressed it with ellipses. Like: I could only make out a few words that she said. "You must ... door ... soon ... telephone ... purple." (I just made up that example. The real examples I've seen were less incoherent, but I don't remember the ...


3

Add Distance You will often be told "show, don't tell." This is not always good advice. If a scene is going to be boring and tedious, summarize; just tell the reader the important things and move on with the story. She told me something about doors, the fate of the universe, ultimate peril, and maybe the color purple? I wasn't sure what they had to do ...


2

I looked for an App that would provide the nikud (vowels) to words I was using to create a glossary. However, once I had the words in that form, I could no longer sort them (as we can tell from these questions). However, the same App, https://nakdan.dicta.org.il/ also allows the user to select the "modern Hebrew" version, and if you click on לחץ כאן (...


2

This is the same problem that experts always have when trying to explain their field to the general public. My advice is: don't be such a purist. I develop software for a living. Computer systems are complicated and we have lots of technical terms. But I avoid using technical terms when talking to people who are not computer savvy. I don't say, "we scan ...


2

As far as I know, there is no official rules on how to do this. Authors have resorted to various means to convey this, and we actually do it in common texting more than anywhere else. A good example of that is the difference between "Hey" and "Heyyyyy" where the later is generally understood to be held out and almost more cheerful the more it is lengthened. ...


2

This reminds me of Life of Pi. The protagonist is a young man from India named Piscine (French for "swimming pool". I forget why he's called this, but I'm sure he does explain it). As a kid, he was bullied at school because his name sounds like "pissing", so he shortened his name to "Pi" and made it stick by reciting hundreds of digits of pi on a blackboard....


2

I personally wouldn't find it unrealistic that people in any country today mocked somebody for the way their name sounds in English. I'd say keep it. I'm aware that not all countries have a capacity of speaking English as if it were their second official language, but in Denmark, it's pretty much the case. I'd believe something like this to happen in ...


2

Show it. Using a different spelling is akin to telling: you could similarly just make a recording and ship it with your story. It does not make much sense, right? You could instead show it. Write down the dialogue in proper English, but show what the words sound like, show the face that the character makes in producing the different sounds, and show the ...


2

This partly depends on other decisions you're making (or have already made) during the translation process. If the setting of the novel is not meant to be especially Nordic (e.g. if the original is set in Scandinavia but you're going to set the translated version in America, or if it's set in a fantasy world which isn't associated with any particular real-...


2

Rather than pick a random word, ask yourself questions about your people in the story. What is their religious background and has the object in the sky been integrated into their beliefs? what would be a natural description in their limited language? How would the people in charge see this phenomena - something that helps solidify their power, or a threat?...


2

Somewhat embarrassing to end up answering my own question with a frame challenge, but here we go: There was one scene in particular giving me trouble, where I wanted to show both the protagonist's slowly increasing language skills and the circle of friends she'd built up around her before shifting the conversation to something plot-relevant. But the more I ...


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