Multiple languages in a novel? - Page 2

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  1. #11
    Member Guard Dog's Avatar
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    Google Translate, Lucky. I've used it to have a few androids speak an alien language.

    In this case, I chose Maori, because it was unusual enough, and these androids were in a jungle environment so it seemed to suit.

    Tikina te whakaaro? Kae ranei kua whiriwhiria e koe tetahi atu mea? <--- Maori.

    PortuguÍs n„o ť mais difŪcil. <--- Portuguese



    G.D.
    Let me be painfully clear: I do not know what the hell I'm doing with this writing thing.
    And if I suddenly start acting like I do, would somebody please punch me in the head?
    Thanks.
    G.D.

    "The world is not what we wish it to be; it is what it is."

  2. #12
    I once started reading a book about a story based in Italy. Some very short parts of dialogue were in Italian. It was sufficient to stop me reading it at the end of chapter one.
    However, we Brits are notorious for being lazy about learning other languages, because English is so widely spoken. I suppose it might work if the other language is English, though could put off some readers if they haven't been taught the language (I understand English is taught from an early age in many European schools).


  3. #13
    Yep, I use google to translate, because I also do not speak Korean. Had a buncha Korean in the last Calizona.

    But to what Phil said; yes, it is very easy to turn off a reader by using foreign languages. Tis why I go through such contortions to get you into the speaker's head or give context to what they are saying. I do not use foreign languages lightly because they can often be a turn-off to some people. I did it in Calizona because it would have been terribly inaccurate to ignore the ethnic makeup of the town I created. It's a border state, and there is a lotta Spanish spoken down here.

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Rotten View Post
    Yep, I use google to translate, because I also do not speak Korean. Had a buncha Korean in the last Calizona.


    But to what Phil said; yes, it is very easy to turn off a reader by using foreign languages. Tis why I go through such contortions to get you into the speaker's head or give context to what they are saying. I do not use foreign languages lightly because they can often be a turn-off to some people. I did it in Calizona because it would have been terribly inaccurate to ignore the ethnic makeup of the town I created. It's a border state, and there is a lotta Spanish spoken down here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Guard Dog View Post
    Google Translate, Lucky. I've used it to have a few androids speak an alien language.


    In this case, I chose Maori, because it was unusual enough, and these androids were in a jungle environment so it seemed to suit.


    Tikina te whakaaro? Kae ranei kua whiriwhiria e koe tetahi atu mea? <--- Maori.


    PortuguÍs n„o ť mais difŪcil. <--- Portuguese






    G.D.

    Wait, you rely on google translate? For something as complex and potentially crucial as a professional novel's foreign language dialogue? Like, you don't have anybody who speaks the language check it to make sure or anything? Just copy and past it in, click, then paste it into the text?

    Brave I guess.
    "All good books have one thing in common - they are truer than if they had really happened."

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  5. #15
    Member Guard Dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    Brave I guess.
    No, not so much really. Not the way I've used it.

    But, if I ever find a large group of Maori warriors outside my door, wanting to break my neck for butchering their language, I guess you can say 'I told you so'.




    G.D.
    Let me be painfully clear: I do not know what the hell I'm doing with this writing thing.
    And if I suddenly start acting like I do, would somebody please punch me in the head?
    Thanks.
    G.D.

    "The world is not what we wish it to be; it is what it is."

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Guard Dog View Post
    No, not so much really. Not the way I've used it.

    But, if I ever find a large group of Maori warriors outside my door, wanting to break my neck for butchering their language, I guess you can say 'I told you so'.




    G.D.
    Yeah. I guess using an unusual language as a stand in for space alien speak would negate most issues of poor translation.

    I will say though, the idea of any western author choosing a living language, especially one still spoken by tens of thousands of indiginous New Zealanders whose population and culture was almost wiped out by their colonial western overlords, as a stand-in for the language of aliens (or other non-human beings) carries with it all kinds of potential problems that a publisher (and certainly many readers) would probably not like. One personís space alien speak is another personís dearly held, endangered culture, etc.

    Inaccurate translation could make that worse. So would having said aliens originate from a geographic environment similar to where the indiginous people in question come from. Fortunately on the last point Iím pretty sure NZ doesnít really have any jungle: Itís a temperate, oceanic climate like Seattle.

  7. #17
    Member Guard Dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    Yeah. I guess using an unusual language as a stand in for space alien speak would negate most issues of poor translation.

    I will say though, the idea of any western author choosing a living language, especially one still spoken by tens of thousands of indiginous New Zealanders whose population and culture was almost wiped out by their colonial western overlords, as a stand-in for the language of aliens (or other non-human beings) carries with it all kinds of potential problems that a publisher (and certainly many readers) would probably not like. One person’s space alien speak is another person’s dearly held, endangered culture, etc.

    Inaccurate translation could make that worse. So would having said aliens originate from a geographic environment similar to where the indiginous people in question come from. Fortunately on the last point I’m pretty sure NZ doesn’t really have any jungle: It’s a temperate, oceanic climate like Seattle.
    You just thrive on making a big deal out of a whole lot of nothing, don't ya?

    None of what you've just written makes the slightest difference for any number of reasons.

    So... Good thing I don't need your permission or approval then, isn't it?

    P.S. I doubt very seriously that the Maori would mind having their language be among the origins or basis for what the first humans here on earth spoke.



    G.D.
    Last edited by Guard Dog; December 6th, 2018 at 10:26 PM.
    Let me be painfully clear: I do not know what the hell I'm doing with this writing thing.
    And if I suddenly start acting like I do, would somebody please punch me in the head?
    Thanks.
    G.D.

    "The world is not what we wish it to be; it is what it is."

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Guard Dog View Post
    You just thrive on making a big deal out of a whole lot of nothing, don't ya?

    None of what you've just written makes the slightest difference for any number of reasons.

    So... Good thing I don't need your permission or approval then, isn't it?




    G.D.
    Nobody is making a big deal. You made a suggestion of foreign language application - one that sounds actually quite reasonable on the surface, I am simply pointing out why I think it could be problematic further down the line. I am doing that because I would like anybody who potentially reads it to think of potential minefields before doing something that may be controversial. That kind of thing is what a writing forum is about.

    FWIW there are actually some good reasons why one might do it anyway - particularly if one wanted to make the story an allegory of colonialism or something - however I maintain that using unmodified translations indiginous languages/culture, particularly when itís sfuff like Maori, simply to represent ďthat which is not humanĒ in a fun way may not look good if it is ever realized. Thatís probably why itís not usually done. Iím sorry if that hurts your feelings. Itís not like you have to listen or anything.

  9. #19
    Member Guard Dog's Avatar
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    Actually, Lucky, I find the fact you go through such mental gymnastics at times rather amusing.

    I took a simple problem and applied a simple solution.

    I needed a generally-unrecognizable language... but not something that was unpronounceable. ( Apparently people want something they can at least try to get their mouths and minds around. )

    None of the 'usual' languages would do... French, Spanish, German, Italian, etc.

    And I didn't want to spend weeks, months or years making one up for just a few lines of dialog. So...

    Maori was the best choice, especially given what it's function/purpose was to be.

    And the environment also doesn't matter, since the area in question is a sort of huge botanical garden. The characters in question just happen to be in the jungle portion of it.

    By the way, I find it funny how you keep assigning emotions or states of mind to me... Scared, brave, feelings hurt, etc.

    The fact is, you always miss the real one, whenever I'm dealing with you: Amused. You're always good for a laugh.


    Thanks.



    G.D.
    Let me be painfully clear: I do not know what the hell I'm doing with this writing thing.
    And if I suddenly start acting like I do, would somebody please punch me in the head?
    Thanks.
    G.D.

    "The world is not what we wish it to be; it is what it is."

  10. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    Wait, you rely on google translate? For something as complex and potentially crucial as a professional novel's foreign language dialogue? Like, you don't have anybody who speaks the language check it to make sure or anything? Just copy and past it in, click, then paste it into the text?

    Brave I guess.





    Scars: These threads are essentially conversations. In normal conversations we discuss things. What we DON'T do is pick apart every phrase & nuance of the other posts. If you have a better way to do a thing then please offer it. But the constant nitpicking is unwelcome.

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