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14

You have two options depending on context: 1) If it's a quick exchange and can be figured out in context, put the foreign language in italics. "As-tu le livre?" "Yes, I have the book here." or inline: "You filthy p'taQ!" B'Elanna snarled. 2) If it's a quick exchange without context, put the translation afterwards and italicize that. "Pour ma peine, ...


12

We have four variants of foreign language dialog in fiction and the corresponding solutions how we can handle this: foreign language foreign language is limited to makes up a major short phrases or part of all dialog occurs only rarely ...


12

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, ...


10

FWIW, I faced exactly this problem in a novel I wrote a few years ago that included a large amount of both spoken and signed dialogue. Having such a large amount of italicized text was distracting for the reasons discussed in other answers, so my approach was a punctuation convention: "Spoken dialogue goes in normal quotes like this," he said. «But ...


9

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 ...


8

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

The way I see it, if the foreign language usage is important to the story, then use it in italics. If not, just avoid putting it explicitly in the text. For example, assume you write a fantasy novel in which Elves always add the word Ur-Sook when addressing little children. Compare: "Not now, Ur-Sook!" the Elf waved the child away. "Not now!" the Elf ...


6

Ditto Neil's reply. A lot to be learned from a master of migrancy literature, Salman Rushdie. While The Satanic Verses is written in English, the narration itself, not just the dialogue, utilizes Hindi, Arabic, and Urdu. Jokes within the text rely on the reader's understanding of multiple languages, but the plot doesn't; Saladin Chamcha is called "Spoono" in ...


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

In general, it's my opinion that a story should pick a language and stick to it. Even though many people speak multiple languages, having a book in more than one language means you're limiting yourself to a subset of possible readers. Ask yourself: What purpose does it serve to the story and characters to quote them speaking in more than one language? If a ...


4

Try to avoid using another foreign language as a stand-in for the language you're wanting to portray (like, say, using Swedish as a stand-in for Romani, as was done in Thinner). I'd treat that as the most absolute requirement. Try to avoid long passages in another language. If you're finding yourself using much longer sections than "a sentence", it will ...


4

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 ...


3

I cannot speak for Portugal, but in Germany, "American" (that is, US American) movies, music and books are considered to be great by default. In media, "American" is a label that signals great entertainment to German consumers, and the most popular films, tv series, books and musical recordings are "Made in America". On top of that, English is considered a ...


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

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 ...


3

It is possible to use multiple languages even if you actually don't by flagging them in dialogue tags. This is good when who speaks what language(s) is important in the narrative. You can put the inter-language confusion in the dialogue and the speakers' actions. You can also use this to play with mis-translation, either deliberate or incidental. If you ...


3

I think it's less about which language is the main or secondary (or tertiary or...fourthary?) and more about differentiating between them (as I stated in my answer to the other question). But broader than that, I think it would depend on the scene. Do the characters understand each other? Are they communicating entirely in the secondary language? If it's ...


2

It depends on the style guide you subscribe to. AP Style does not use italics. The Chicago Manual recommends use of italics for isolated words that are likely to be unfamiliar to the reader. If a word will become familiar over the course of the writing, it needs only be italicized the first time. Entire sentences are not italicized. MLA Style recommends ...


2

I think you're on the right track. The point of italics is to alert the reader that the words are not in the same language as the rest of the text. I like the logic that the English-spoken "si" wouldn't be italicized. I wouldn't italicize titles or single words, as those are easy enough to understand, even when the first word is Spanish and the rest is ...


2

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


2

Outside of scholarly of scholarly work the norm would be to transliterate. Now I am all for violating norms, but it is riskier, more work and you have to know what you are doing. if you can pull it off It would be praiseworthy, but it is not appropriate to all situations, particularly in that violating norms draws attention so one question is do you want to ...


2

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 ...


2

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 ...


1

If the target audience understand the meaning of the tittle, then its fine. I'm an English only speaker, but if a book was titled 'El Diablo' that would be fine because I am familiar with those two specific spanish words. Also I would probably assume that the book was set in a Spanish speaking country or has something to do with spanish speaking people. ...


1

Research, research, research. I can't state it enough. Research is the key and the backbone to writing a successful knowledge. If it's a language you can handle phrases of on your own after simply looking up the grammatical rules, go for it! If not, I suggest you find an expert. If it is a simple language (aka a well-known language) such as french, ...


1

Why do you need a differentiation in the first place? If the actors can communicate (one is deaf-mute, but can read lips, the other one can read signs) then I see no need for a special formatting style (or even other quotation marks which would be also an option). So go with Cliff's suggestion here. If they do not understand each other then you probably ...


1

In this case, I think the best approach would be to quote the spoken dialogue as regular dialogue and use the attributives to differentiate between signed and spoken content. I think it's fine to drop the attributives if it is clear who is the source and s/he has been established as a "signer" or "speaker." Italics should be reserved for foreign words ...


1

Treating sign as spoken language makes sense and is generally the right way to go. But remember, you're not actually quoting what someone signs. You're quoting the English translation of what someone signs. So you should treat ASL signers exactly like you would treat any other foreign language. ASL is a language in its own right, not derived from English, ...


1

FWIW, senhor isn't spanish (I think it's portuguese, in fact). As a native spanish speaker, seeing "senhor" when people are supposedly speaking spanish would make me cringe. I won't comment on the use of italics, but please, please, use "señor". Regarding the accents, as you probably know, there are a few words that have different meanings with and without ...



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