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Writing foreign language dialogue (1 Viewer)



Do you write foreign language dialogue in the original language or in english, with the language stated in brackets?


Senior Member
you write it in english and note what you want in parens... like this:

(in Japanese; English subtitles)
What do you want?


(in Japanese)
What do you want?

the first is if it's important for the audience to know what he's saying... the second, if it doesn't matter... if a character has multiple scenes, and he only speaks a foreign language, you add the info in the action element, when he's introduced, then don't have to add it to his dialog, as both the actor and director will know what to do... so, that would be done like this:


Jake sits at one end of a long conference table. MR. TOMASHITA (45) comes in, stands stiffly erect at the other end. He wears traditional kimono and has long, graying hair done up samurai-fashion. He speaks only in Japanese, throughout the film.

...then, when he does speak, if you want english subtitles you only put that in the parenthetical... or, if he has a translator, you can do without the subtitling... or, if you don't want the audience to know what he's saying, you don't do anything...

...hope that helps... hugs, maia