15

Mix and match between all the following methods. Research. If you're going to be using a language extensively, then you'll want to have at least an elementary grasp of the words you'll be using. So learn a smattering of the language; understand the words you've written at least at a surface level; also read as much as you can about idioms, social norms, etc....


10

Rules? No, not beyond any that your publisher or editor might have. But one factor to consider is that, assuming you're not publishing in a specialized or foreign market, your readers probably won't know how to pronounce the words in a different alphabet -- you can't sound things out if you don't know the pronunciation rules. This means that the words you ...


9

Hmm... Let's see how I can't be of help, shall we? Try this: Read famous works that are translations from source materials in the language you want to add to your manuscript. See if there's a phrase that caught your eye and see what it looks like in the original work. Look up common expressions and idioms in 'the foreign language' from websites that teach ...


8

Spoken Words Given that you are writing in English, and the majority of the time your Orcs are speaking to each other in Orcish (but translated to English for the reader), then the best plan I believe is to treat both spoken Orcish and English the same, like normal dialog, and only convey, if needed, that one or the other is being spoken as relevant to the ...


6

The answer would seem to be to remember the point of view of the narrator. If you are writing from the protagonists point of view, then write it from the language that the protagonist speaks. if (s)he goes into a shop and doesn't understand anything that is said, then say that they had to point at what they wanted etc If later on the protagonist learns the ...


6

Most books set in a foreign country nevertheless give all dialog in the language of the intended audience. That is, if you are writing for, say, an English-speaking audience, you give all dialog in English, even if the story is set in France or on the planet Vulcan. For the obvious reason: if the reader doesn't understand the dialog, the book won't make any ...


6

I would refine the advice thus: Translate the viewpoint character's experience into the language of the reader. That is, if the viewpoint character hears gibberish, you translate the experience of hearing gibberish into the reader's language.


6

There are two easy ways to handle this, depending on whether you want the readers to understand what is being said, or not. In truth, whether you want the readers to understand or not is the only important factor. Which characters understand is irrelevant to how you write the dialogue. If the reader isn't supposed to understand what is being said, you'd go: ...


6

Some authors use italics to indicate telepathy. Depending on formatting alone could get lost in publication if they don’t understand why you have justified your text. Consistency is key. If some Orcs are bilingual but no humans are, any Orc speaking to a human would be speaking English. Establish it early on. Perhaps Orcish has sounds that are very ...


5

Yes, it's perhaps borderline possible to publish, but keep in mind that your market will become tangible if it includes people who are intrigued by foreign cultures and interaction between them, but not specifically multilingual, or perhaps multilingual but not necessarily in your specific languages. People are rarely as multilingual as their region. ...


5

If it's your first draft, just write it as it comes. You can't edit a blank page. After your first draft, go back through and clean up the polyglossolalia. If you're writing in third person, pick one language and make it all that. (Obviously if your characters speak multiple languages, you can decide what to keep and what to translate.) If you're writing ...


5

Depends on a few factors: 1) Is the narrative's point of view from the person who doesn't understand, the person who does, or omniscient? CJ Cherryh writes books where the humans are the outsiders in non-human societies. Until the human catches up with the non-human language, the human sounds like Cookie Monster. "Me want food! Me went store, but no has ...


5

I am currently reading a book where the majority of characters speak one language (Japanese), but two characters additionally speak a different language (Latin). If a character is speaking in Japanese, it is written in normal English: You are beautiful but when one of the characters wants to talk in Latin (so that no-one else can understand), the author ...


4

Provide dialog in the language of your narration and use distorted spelling to indicate the accent of your character (and other poor speakers). You could also use distorted spelling to indicate the way your character mishears the foreign language. — Huts a dime. — Come again? — I asked, trying to make sense of the fluent speech. — What’s the time? — he ...


4

I have often wondered the same thing. Recently I read a few books online that incorporate different languages into their stories, usually with dialogue. There are two simple techniques that I learned to solve this issue of having the reader confused with what the character is saying: After the main dialogue in another language, write the translation in ...


4

I prefer the following: "Je ne comprends pas," she said. I don't understand. It's not the only way to do it, as Lauren mentioned, but I find it the most elegant, and least disruptive to the flow of the text.


4

So, does the attempt to not italicize for native speakers make sense? Would having it not italicized for native points of view but italicized for non-native be reasonable? I think this is a good rule of thumb. The point of italics is to show the reader that $WORD is unusual for the POV character. So if your POV character, Dave, speaks LangA and LangB, and ...


4

Being Bilingual has very little effect on a person's daily life, for one main reason; the two languages they speak are combined to be similar to speaking just one language. Its similar to the idea of formality vs. informality, you speak to your boss differently than you would speak to a close friend. A bilingual English and Chinese speaker will speak English ...


4

In addition to this answer here: What's the best way to show a foreign language in a manuscript? If you have a lot of swapping back and forth between two specific languages, and the characters are always speaking the same given language in any scene (both French, both German, etc.), then you can just tell us that in the tags: "Guten tag," he said. "...


3

Foreign languages can add a lot of flavor to a story if used in moderation. Don't put entire dialogues in foreign languages and consider the purpose and function of having those languages there. Foreign languages are very present in the fiction I write. Some of my fiction is about American ex-pats abroad, another work of fiction is set in New York, ...


3

Use angle quotes: "Speaking in English" «Speaking in Portuguese» This also has the advantage of being actual (former) usage according to Wikipedia.


3

I doubt that there's a definitive answer to this. Different writers have different styles and different things that work for them. Personally, my approach is that for the first draft, I just throw words on paper. Whatever comes to my mind I type into the computer. Once I have a whole bunch of words down, then I go back and clean it up. I rewrite sentences ...


3

One way of approaching this may be to commit to the linguistic styles of your characters and let the story develop a "slang" that you introduce to your readers through annotation provided by the narrator. Exact, literal translation is not as important as conveying meaning. Consider providing frequent, explicit crutches early in the text before settling on ...


3

Both your second and fourth examples look natural to me. Including the upside-down question mark might be slightly preferable, but sometimes adding a little-used character can add to the expense and trouble of printing a book. That said, styles for punctuation vary across countries, across different publishers, and even between different editors. If you are ...


3

Being bilingual (or tri- or -insert-a-number) does affect a person's daily life, even if it is not noticeable to an outside observer, much like any other ability, whether it is inherited or developed. A person with absolute pitch listens to music differently than a person with a regular ear. An avid enthusiast of physical exercise and a couch potato will ...


3

Being bilingual means that you have a 'feel' towards two languages that only natives have. You can be absolutely fluent in a language but, because you aren't bilingual, there are certain subtleties of the language that you'll never grasp, even if you may have perfect grammar and a larger vocabulary than most natives. Being bilingual often means that you'll ...


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