March 16th, 2018

mourning

Passing question

If there's a story in English where a character is speaking Spanish... when they translate the story to Spanish for Spanish speakers, how do they indicate to the readers that most of the interactions between characters are in English, but translated for the reader? More importantly, how do they indicate that a conversation that would normally be in English is in Spanish? Do they just switch languages? I ask because I have characters in my Ravenstone story that speak some Spanish, and while they're not Latinx and Spanish isn't their first language, it's kinda important to their character that they're multi-lingual. (The same sequence has Navajo and English in it as well.)

This was cross-posted from https://fayanora.dreamwidth.org/1382978.html
You can comment either here or there.
mourning

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mourning

Language challenge

It is challenging having characters that speak languages I don't. Several of the Ravenstones speak Spanish and Navajo in addition to English and American Sign Language. I don't know more than a few words of ASL either, but it's a lot easier to ignore that in writing, since you either have to translate what's said into English or describe every darned sign anyway, and it's just easier to translate it.

The Navajo is especially vexing, I can't use much of it before I basically have to go "they were talking rapidly in Navajo," because I don't know the language, and online resources (any resources, really) for the Diné bizaad (Navajo language) are not nearly as good for the ones for Spanish. In fact, the best one is still not great. What I really need is either the opportunity to learn Diné via immersion or else get the help of someone who's a fluent speaker.

Until either of those unlikely events, I have to keep it down to simple words and pre-assembled phrases I can find online because I don't understand how the language is put together, and skimming the Wikipedia page about Navajo syntax is enough to make me realize that this language is very, VERY different from English. Though I did today manage to work out enough about the syntax of Navajo to figure out which form of ádí I needed Vedya to use. (It's shádí, which makes sense, since shimá, a word that gets used at least once in every chapter, means "my mother." So shádí means "my older sister." The online Navajo dictionary which is my best resource doesn't specify these different forms of the words, or at least not always.)

Also, Diné has a lot of sounds that are foreign to English speakers. Even my unusual talent for being able to repeat foreign sounds (even if my memory for vocabulary etc is horrendous) leaves me struggling on the few occasions I've tried to mimic its sounds.

But you know, Diné is a beautiful enough language to me that if I was going to learn any language other than English, I think I'd want it to be Diné. Even if it's not very likely for me.

As challenging as it is having characters who speak languages I don't, I find it rewarding. It's hard to explain why.

This was cross-posted from https://fayanora.dreamwidth.org/1383294.html
You can comment either here or there.