raven: image of white Macbook computer with raven perching on it (misc - raven writes)
[personal profile] raven
I can't write, I'm too hot and have a banging headache, so let me write about writing.

First of all, I just finished Red Seas Under Red Skies, and I loved it. It's Scott Lynch's second novel, the sequel to The Lies of Locke Lamora, which I liked and didn't love. With Red Skies, though, [personal profile] andrew notes that it's as though he wrote 350 pages and then someone said, dude, where are the women? So he thought about that, and after not passing the Bechdel test at all the novel then passes it continuously for another hundred pages. It's very cheering. And there is so much else to like about it - wacky adventures, pirates, ridiculously complex plots, really fucking awesome dialogue. And then, there is a scene in this book, right. A scene where a woman tells a man that she wants to have sex with him. The man thinks she is gorgeous and amazing and wants to have sex with her. Man notes that said woman has had a particularly fucking awful day, and might not... well, she is she sure. Woman tells him that yes, and that he's lucky she won't break him into two.

Man and woman go to have happy, enthusiastic sex. The rest of the ship are happy for them but wish they weren't so bloody loud.

In other words, I really love Ezri and Jean and I really like how Lynch handles them - like women are human beings, who like sex and are really witty and awesome about it. I wish I weren't so amazed to see this in a fantasy novel, but there it is. And Zamira! Don't get me started on the tough-as-nails pirate captain who's smart and human and a hero with two tiny children (the little set-piece where Locke accidentally teaches three-year-old Cosetta the word "piss" is delightful). Zamira is a human being. So is Treganne, the ship's doctor, who is grouchy and delightful and apparently went to the Leonard McCoy School of Bedside Manner. I wish I weren't so happy, I really do, that these characters are women and exist as people, not tropes.

I also think Lynch is a Trekkie (Ezri? Really? And she's short and wisecracking? Was it Dax or Tigan that you meant, honey?) and that he's working very hard to subvert the stereotypes and not quite succeeding, all of the time, but he means well and his novels are such fun that I am willing to give him a huge benefit of the doubt.

Oh, and the ending. Oh. Oh, Locke. I love him. Almost as much as I love Zamira and Ezri. Where is the fic. Seriously. A03 has a little, but where is the fic, someone write me fic, I am DEMANDING. Bah. Yuletide soon.

And now for the other thing, which I have been pondering. (I miss, sometimes, having people around who write. I know a lot of you do, and it is very nice to have you on the internet - but it has been a long time since I had meatspace people close by who write, and write in the same sort of way I do, idly, without a great deal of ambition-to-go-pro but a regard for the craft, nonetheless.)

Anyway. A little while back [personal profile] gavagai asked me for a bit of fic: Komal/Preeti, from Chak De! India, or something about Garak and Mila from Deep Space Nine. Chak De! India - I've written about it at greater length here, but in short: it's a marvellous film about the Indian women's hockey team, and their rise to meteoric stardom. I have much love for it.

Anyway, I found both ideas equally possible, so while I've never written for the fandom, I opened up a blank document to have a bash at it.

...and then stopped and thought, huh. The problem - CDI is in Hindi. And for me, fanfiction is about voices - it's about hearing those characters' voices in your head. Sometimes it's about other things, sometimes it's about a plot or a mood or a particular thematic study, but when I sit down to write a fic for someone else at the tip of a hat, it's about seeing if I can evoke the source material for that person.

And, well. How to write it? I couldn't write a story about them with them speaking in English. They don't - they're Indian women, they're Hindi speakers. I couldn't write about them in Hindi I think. Perhaps I could, with a great deal of time and patience. (I wonder - is a feel for language language-locked, like software to an operating system? One day I plan to learn enough of my native tongue to find out.)

But even if I could have written about them in Hindi, that would be no use to [personal profile] gavagai. And while I could possibly have written them in English with only the dialogue in Hindi, footnoted, that strikes me as messy.

I do wonder, also, if the matter is complicated by the fact that I am, myself, a Hindi speaker. If I didn't speak a word of the language, would that help? Could I, say, write Amelie fic in English? (Let us please put aside my incredibly limited French.) Might it also help if the subtitles for CDI were not so incredibly, laughably, hilariously awful, and were written in such a way to convey a "feel" for each speaker? I don't know.

I really don't know, and I'm not writing this to lead up to any particular conclusion. I'm just wondering if you all have any thoughts on the matter. I mean, people writing fic in English for anime and manga fandoms have surely hit this problem before, and I'm sure people wrote fic for Chak De! India itself a couple of yuletides ago. I'm just wondering.

on 2010-07-22 01:15 am (UTC)
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] owlectomy
I have problems writing anime/manga fic and even translating manga, I think because of just that problem; I speak Japanese, not with a high degree of fluency, but with enough that I have some kind of a feel for what sounds "right" and what sounds "wrong" in a given character's mouth, and when I put English there it doesn't sound right. It particularly doesn't help that fandom and/or professional translators will create extremely one-note 'voices' for a character: "I speak formally, so in English I sound like someone's stereotype of a Victorian butler." "I'm from Osaka, so in English I sound like someone's stereotype of someone from the southern U.S."

I think in theory it should usually be possible to create an English character voice that feels authentic, but it's very hard to do.

on 2010-07-22 01:46 am (UTC)
musesfool: danny and rusty  (and the living is easy)
Posted by [personal profile] musesfool
Ooh, I love the ending of Red Seas Under Red Skies. So much fantastic emoporn. I did get a lovely Locke/Jean story for [livejournal.com profile] yuletide last year, if you haven't read it already. There were a few others at Yuletide last year and the year before, as well.

on 2010-07-22 04:22 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] dormouse-in-tea.livejournal.com
Explanatory forenote: I am monolingual. And frequently I get my own native language wrong, because I think I know the meanings of many words I sometimes actually don't. I am positive that this informs my viewpoint.

I read a lot of fic in anime/manga fandoms -- mostly Japanese, because Korean stuff really started being available after I graduated, and lost the meatspace crowd of people who fueled a lot of my enthusiasm.

It never bothers me that the narrative and the dialogue are in English. I couldn't read it if it weren't, so I move on. But I am always aware that they would not actually be speaking English, and they would not be going to an American high school, and they would not be hanging out doing the same things in the same way I would. There's a little of this in British fandoms, but it's much more present in my mind in Japanese fandoms. So what I look for is whether the author has made even a passing attempt to pretend they're writing about people from another country and culture.

If the characters in the fic act and speak in a way which reflects the relevant culture, then I am happy. If I can tell I'm reading about Bob and Jane down the street attending Anyschool High, and they just eat a lot of rice, then I get annoyed, even if it's beautifully written.

Personally, I don't read fic that has dialogue (or even too many random words) in a foreign language because it's incredibly frustrating to me. Even if it's glossed, I still have to stop and go look and then go back and compare it to the narrative and then a line later do it again. That's not reading. I don't know what it is, but it's not reading.

And like I said, this is totally informed by my pathetic monolingual status. But if you wrote a CDI fic the ladies would be Hindi (is that the correct way to say it? Please correct me if I am wrong!) and they would be living in India and they would be Indian women sports players and it would be true and fabulous and I would love it. If I could read it. *wry*

...also, how amazing would it be if someone who spoke the language provided a more accurate transcription? >_>

on 2010-07-22 04:48 am (UTC)
roga: coffee mug with chocolate cubes (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] roga
I managed to trace back the posts in which I've made comments about this in the past, only to discover they were locked so I cannot link! I'll just c/p comments I made there, since I am super tired:

From one conversation:

There aren't actually fandoms for any Hebrew source I've ever seen; however, I have, once or twice, encountered sources that I possibly would have expanded on, had I known there'd be anyone reading. But since I only have a handful of Hebrew speakers on my flist, and LJ is my primary space for fannish interaction, I pretty much gave it up to begin with. If I ever did have a strong enough impulse to write something based on a Hebrew source, I'd probably try to write it in English - again, so I could share it with my friends on LJ. (I have written Bible fic in English. But the Bible is a pretty universal source anyway, and besides - writing Bible fic in modern Hebrew is just as different from the original as translating it to another language.)

Now, when it comes to English sources, that's where I hit a problem that... I haven't decided how to solve yet. I really want to write a Ziva David fic, whether it takes place in Israel or not. NCIS is an English source and English fandom, and I'm afraid if I combine too many Hebrew words or references it'll just be pretentious and annoying to anyone who doesn't understand them. (And I don't just write for myself; I like having readers. When I make a joke, I want someone to laugh at it.) So while Ziva probably thinks in Hebrew, if I ever write her, I think I'll write her using the same formal English she uses on the show, and hardly mix any Hebrew in at all. Or maybe it'd be too frustrating and I'll just give up. And then, if I write her in Israel, which I really want too - do I write actual dialogue in transliterated Hebrew in italics or in Hebrew letters, written from right to left and screwing up the formatting?


It just seems like there's no satisfactory solution in a case like this, and that's kind of discouraging.


..And then, from I think a year later, after I'd actually written English fic based on Hebrew sources:

I've written a few fics over the past year that were originally Hebrew -- one for a film, one for a book, and one an Israeli AU. For both the film and the book I wrote in English, but imagined the dialogues in Hebrew and then reverse translated them as best as I could; I got good reviews from Israelis, so I'm counting those as successes. For the Israeli AU I think I imagined the English and Hebrew lines pretty much simultaneously. That one was written as a fic for an Israeli friend, though, so I kept a lot of italicized Hebrew terms in (with a glossary for anyone interested), as opposed to the book and the movie fics, where I used Hebrew words very, very sparingly.

...I also talk a little bit about the writing process of one of those here, and one of the other posts linked to this.

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on 2010-07-22 05:21 am (UTC)
msilverstar: (miranda)
Posted by [personal profile] msilverstar
You are inspiring me to read that sequel, I got bored and put it down but if there are women in it, I will give it a try!

I hope you do try writing in Hindi sometime, and tell us all about it.

on 2010-07-22 09:11 am (UTC)
gavagai: A woman in front of a wall painted with "Jedes Herz ist eine revolutionäre Zelle" [Every heart is a revolutionary cell] (jedes herz ist eine revolutionaere zelle)
Posted by [personal profile] gavagai
Will consider this at more length later (not that I have much to say, being mostly monolingual) but on a purely technical note:

while I could possibly have written them in English with only the dialogue in Hindi, footnoted, that strikes me as messy.
There's also the option of alt-text? This fic does that with transliterations rather than translations - but it would still be a slightly disrupted reading experience for non-Hindi speakers, which might be what you want in some cases but no others.

All the mentions of Ezri in this post are RLY CONFUSING.

on 2010-07-22 05:26 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] subservient-son.livejournal.com
I think any writing in which characters speak in a language they wouldn't actually be speaking in is quite odd if you stop to think about it. What I find most strange is reading something set in another (non-English speaking) country, but is written in English (not translated into, but originally written in), with characters' dialogue in English, even though the author speaks the language that they would actually be talking in.

So yes, I think the fact that you speak Hindi does have a bearing on it.

on 2010-07-22 12:34 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] loneraven.livejournal.com
That's often just colonialism at work, surely? Writers can be "real" writers if they write in English, so they do! I'm thinking of A Suitable Boy again - it seems to be a good example for this sort of thing.

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on 2010-07-22 09:52 am (UTC)
Posted by [personal profile] stained_glass
It is tricky. When I was writing LotR fic, I would indicate whether characters were speaking Quenya or Sindarin by use of epithets or different spelt names; if a character outside was listening to a conversation who did not understand Quenya, for example, I would either translate the dialogue, or include none - if they did not recognise it as a language, I might include a vague transliteration, or, depending on characterisation, say it "sounded like Finnish" or "gibberish."

But that does not really help you with so much with the Finnish - I think PO'B does an excellent job of indicating dialogue in a different language without breaking the story for English speakers. French and Catalan he generally leaves untranslated, because it is Stephen and a bit character, but his demonstration of Irish is brilliant - it is all vocabulary, idiom, and most importantly, syntax. His big clue that the following dialogue is in Irish is his use of "God be with you" as a greeting, which is the literal translation of "Dia duit", instead of "good morning". Then there is idiom: "Is that the little captain on the field?"

But his great genius is syntax - he uses Irish syntax, which is familiar to anyone with knowledge of Hiberno-English. For example:

In English:

Bridget: Did you come in the carriage?
Stephen: Yes.

In Irish:

Bridget: Are you after coming in the carriage?
Stephen: I am; sure, is it not warm with my warmth?

Stephen, as a native Irish speaker, rarely uses 'yes' or 'no', because they do not exist in Irish - so it is all "I am not", "I did", "I am".

Could you use a Hindi syntax in the dialogue, perhaps? Translate the individual words, so that gavagai can understand - would that help? The problem with the original subtitles is definitely a big one...

on 2010-07-22 12:32 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] loneraven.livejournal.com
Ah, marvellous! That is very clever, but it takes such skill to do. Have you ever read/seen Translations, by Brian Friel? He does the same thing to really devastating effect, it's one of my favourite plays.

Does it help, though, that you know enough Irish to find the syntax familiar? I mean, maybe Preeti could say, instead of "Komal was angry", "Komal's anger rose in her" - but I don't know if the non-Hindi-speaking reader would think, aha, syntax, or just, Preeti talks funny why.

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on 2010-07-22 10:23 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] snowballjane.livejournal.com
I wrote Warai no daigaku fic (http://snowballjane.livejournal.com/481578.html#cutid1) a while ago. My dodge for the entire language issue was to use a framing device in which the story consisted of documents translated by an Australian intelligence officer.

I don't actually recall thinking it out in the detail you've done here, but I was conscious that I'd only understood the characters' voices through subtitles and their limitations.

[BTW, if you haven't seen Warai no daigaku, you really, really must.]

on 2010-07-22 12:35 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] loneraven.livejournal.com
Thank you, that is interesting, and thank you for the rec, too! I think I'm reaching the conclusion that there is no right or easy way to do this, and if you have to use such things as framing devices, then, well, that's much better than giving the matter no thought.

on 2010-07-22 08:32 pm (UTC)
happydork: A graph-theoretic tree in the shape of a dog, with the caption "Tree (with bark)" (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] happydork
I'm reading this post and comments with interest. This is something I think about a lot in terms of code switching -- one thing I've tried with limited success is when writing from my own POV about my own family, I put the English in direct speech, and the French and German in reported speech (because I tend to understand the gist but not much more than that), but this isn't great for when they switch language during a sentence, and also doesn't, y'know, answer your actual question at all.

on 2010-07-25 09:28 am (UTC)
sangerin: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] sangerin
Here via Metafandom delicious: The reason I have never written fic for 8 Femmes - which in some ways I desperately want to write fic for - is because in my head it has to be in French. And I can't speak or write French. Same reason I never wrote (or requested in Yuletide) fic for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Kommissar Rex. Although I do speak German, I don't write it well enough to write fiction, let alone non-stilted dialog that could possibly write the Alex/Christian story that I wish existed. I have recently written a short fic in The Eagle, which is predominantly in Danish, but it was a crossover with the British show Spooks, and most of it was in a situtation where the characters would be speaking to each other in English (which the characters on Eagle do: it's an awesome show because - among other reasons - characters speak the language you would expect them to speak according to whom they're speaking with.) Re-reading it, though, I realise that I have Ditte speaking to her daughter in English at the end, which she wouldn't do. And it seems wrong. Anyway, this is why I will sadly never write nor read the Marie/Hallgrim stories I'd love to read: nor the Ditte/Marie, nor any fabulous fics about the head of the Unit whose name I have momentarily forgotten.

on 2010-07-26 02:49 am (UTC)
jaaaarne: Photo of a seagull in flight, with slight motion blur. (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] jaaaarne
Do you generally not find anything wrong with the tendency? I mean, you mention very nice non-English sources with small or non-existent fandoms. And you wish to create for them, you have stories to tell, yet you don't because of... what? The fact that Brandtner speaks German and you don't?

I'd say that's a way to deal with English language sources beeing dominant in fandom. Cut the non-English sources out of it at all and that's it!

Instead of spreading the love we're building ourselves some stupid confines. Instead of making the non-English sources more visible we're fidgeting about stories based on them not being "authentic" when told in English. Next I'll be hearing that every [fan] author only must write in their own language in the fandoms that were originally created in said native language about things that they have first-hand experience in.

Way to go, fandom, way to go. :/

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on 2010-07-25 11:05 am (UTC)
kaz: "Kaz" written in cursive with a white quill that is dissolving into (badly drawn in Photoshop) butterflies. (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] kaz
via metafandom delicious -

I actually had a similar experience to this one? I was considering writing an original fic set in Germany. And then I discovered that if I wrote this, the narrative would be in English but the dialogue in German - I couldn't get the narrative to work in German (my German writing and reading ability is miles below my English one due to lack of practice although German is my native language), but the dialogue flatly refused to be English. And I kept coming up with these German puns and slang and.

In the end I didn't write it, but if I had I would have ended up going for footnoting with attempted translations. Or - I saw this on AO3 - having translations available if you hovered over the text. (The fic I saw it on actually only had transliterations rather than translations - Hindi/English Mary Poppins fic - but there's no reason it shouldn't work with translations). Although I don't know how e.g. screenreader-accessible that would be.

ETA: Should check comments before, I see someone's already linked that.

Also, I've noticed that the only fandoms where I am willing to accept German fic are the ones I originally read in German, which are mainly books from my childhood (often German translations from other languages). Reading fic for those in English strikes me as weird and odd.

It occurs to me that fangirl Japanese could be born from this impulse - trying to make the English dialogue *sound* Japanese the way it does in the subtitled anime.
Edited (for great grammatical correctness!) on 2010-07-25 11:13 am (UTC)

on 2010-07-25 07:53 pm (UTC)
schneefink: River walking among trees, from "Safe" (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] schneefink
Also, I've noticed that the only fandoms where I am willing to accept German fic are the ones I originally read in German, which are mainly books from my childhood (often German translations from other languages). Reading fic for those in English strikes me as weird and odd.

Yes, this. I could never imagine reading "Neverending Story" fanfic in English, for example (and I have a hard time imagining Neverending Story fanfic at all, but that´s another matter.) If the originals are in English, though, I will sometimes try to read the original because I don´t like to rely on translations. The language I read/watched the source text/film in determines the language I want to read fic in.

Writing, however, is way more difficult. Whatever language I choose (nearly always the original source, but also with original stories), I keep thinking of expressions in another language that would fit much better for certain scenes or sentences. It can get really frustrating.

Via metafandom

on 2010-07-25 07:11 pm (UTC)
marshtide: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] marshtide
On the first topic: I have long wished for the grand bisexual adventures of Zamira and Ezri. There could be such great femslash here. I'm convinced. I did pretty seriously consider writing it myself, actually, but damned if writing has happened at all for the last year and a half.

Also, I'm pretty sure Lynch is a Trekkie; sure I've seen references on his journal.

Interesting thoughts on the second point, though I don't feel like I've got anything useful to add... I'm thinking about language quite a lot at the moment because I've recently moved from the UK to Sweden & have been pretty intensively studying Swedish for the last few months, but I haven't translated that thinking into fandom terms, because fandom (in the fic-writing sense) hasn't been something I've been really involved in for the last year or so. I wonder! Stuff to consider, anyway. So thanks for that.

on 2010-07-25 08:52 pm (UTC)
dhobikikutti: earthen diya (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] dhobikikutti
Here via metafandom. I linked and quoted this over at [community profile] forkedtongues, hope that's ok!

I see you have already been linked to one of my attempts to juggle my multilingualism, but I've taken other shots at writing for Hindi fandoms. I really liked how [personal profile] esperante handled the dialogue in her Dil Chahta Hai fic, and thought [personal profile] toujours_nigel did a good job in her Sea of Poppies fic. Speaking of which, I thought Amitav Ghosh did a masterful job of negotiating languages in that book.

on 2010-07-25 11:44 pm (UTC)
capncosmo: Bridge is sad (Woe)
Posted by [personal profile] capncosmo
[Here from [community profile] metafandom]

Oh, this problem! You are not alone in it :D

I do run into it in fic, but I grapple with it more directly in translations (which has informed my perspective on fic writing, I think), because one of my fandoms is an RPF fandom, meaning a lot of the source material comes in the form of "natural, informal, slang-riddled, slurred 20-something Japanese man." After trying many different ratios of natural:literal, I think, like you seem to indicate above, that the person's voice is the most important thing to translate, rather than the exact words.

In translation, this means listening to the dialogue, digesting it, and then thinking of how my brother would convey the information, and then going back and listening to the original dialogue to make sure I haven't gone wildly astray, because I've usually forgotten the original Japanese in the search for the meaning. Which is... kind of difficult for anyone but advanced speakers of the language. But in fic, because there is no source, I usually run from meaning -> English conveying voice -> how would that reasonably be said (am I bending the laws of Japanese too much?), and I think that's something people with even a basic knowledge of the language can do.

I wish I were familiar with Hindi, but since I'm not, for a Japanese example: I once read a fic where the person was trying to make a point about a long word (in English) being the most difficult word a child knew. But Japanese doesn't have difficult words, just difficult ways to write them, and there would be no reason for this child to have learned how to write it seeing as he'd learned it in a conversation with his mother. So that threw me out of the story, because it doesn't track logically for the language he speaks. (Bonus: this particular word isn't even difficult to write, which I learned in a 3 second consultation with my dictionary :Db)

And those are my poorly communicated thoughts on the subject.

on 2010-07-26 02:17 am (UTC)
thefrogg: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] thefrogg
This is a really interesting topic. Unfortunately I can't really give you an informed opinion on it, other than this:

I've recently been sucked into the figure skating RPS fandom, and in working on my first fic, have come across the difficulties in trying to make ESL speech patterns believable (i.e. Russian vs. French vs. Swiss vs...etc.).

I can't really say I have much of an opinion on the authenticity of literature written in a particular language versus one written in the language of the original work (I read a lot of Gundam Wing fic, so, eh.). For me it's more a matter of how accessible it is to the intended audience, so if you have dialogue in the original work's language (Hindi, here), it'd have to be fairly short and understandable in the context, or possibly (this works in the figure skating RPS, no idea in what you're working in) if any/all of the people involved in the discussion are bilingual, then you could have mental translating going on. I think any way you handle it runs the risk of disrupting the flow of the story, mucking up pacing, becoming hard to read, etc. A lot of times I resort to using punctuation ("[speech is in Russian]") or just have so-and-so said in [language].

There is going to be a kind of disconnect between the original and the fanfic no matter how you handle it though. If the intended audience can't read Hindi, then the point of writing it in the original language is kind of moot.

Don't think I helped much. Language is sort of a bugaboo for me.:(

on 2010-07-26 03:27 am (UTC)
jaaaarne: Photo of a seagull in flight, with slight motion blur. (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] jaaaarne
I think what you're looking for is not how to make Russian/French/Swiss speech patterns believable, but rather how to make Plushenko/Joubert/Lambiel speech patterns believable. It's more about individual speech patterns, not general patterns in a given language or a country. Say, I can't imagine Plushenko speaking in complex sentences at all, so it would sound unnatural if you had him constructing paragraph long sentences. But sure that doesn't mean that the Russian language doesn't allow for construction of such and that there could be no Russian speakers that would be doing just that.

Besides, you always have press conferences to watch, listen and make notes. :) They are always held in English, unless it's a strictly national event.

What I strongly wish is for authors to cut out on writing dialogue in foreign languages. Really. I don't care how "authentic" it might seem to the author. 80% of time I run across c&p dialogue in my language it's plain wrong, not to mention confusing. It's not like you expect too see big chunks of text in other languages throughout the fic. Most time it feels like suddenly tripping on something and falling, even if the chunk in question is in the language you can understand. So yeah, I'm absolutely with you on this one. It does disrupt the flow of the story and annoys if you cannot understand it.

on 2010-07-26 08:09 am (UTC)
katta: Photo of Diane from Jake 2.0 with Jake's face showing on the computer monitor behind her, and the text Talk geeky to me. (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] katta
This is an interesting question. Personally, most of the fic I've written for non-English fandoms has been for Swedish fandoms, and then I've written the story twice: first in Swedish, then translated to English. There's also the case of an English-language fandom story that I've written in Swedish (for an assignment) - I never got around to translating that one...

In other fics, I've let characters speak Swedish, Spanish or other languages untranslated in an English fic. For me, it's largely about POV. If the POV character is English-speaking, I will leave other languages untranslated, to reflect the cultural chasm. If the POV character speaks another language, I'll simply "translate" the whole thing to English (whether the English version is the first version or not).

Getting the voices right in a language different from the ones the characters speak is hard, especially if the speech pattern is very specific. But I don't think there's anything inherently iffy about it - as long as you get the cultural details right, like people have said. It's like translating a book, only the original hasn't been written. :-)

on 2010-07-26 09:13 am (UTC)
ext_251819: Abby Sciuto from NCIS (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] rebecca2525.livejournal.com
Here via metafandom.

There's a nice post from someone who wrote a fic for a German fandom for last yuletide here (http://jae.dreamwidth.org/1072476.html).

The language thing--I can understand it. Most of my fandoms are originally English, but as I'm German, I'm often exposed to German dubs/translations. So depending on how/where/when I watched a show/read a book etc, and how much I've participated in online fandom (which is, of course, mostly English), some characters speak German in my head, some English, sometimes it varies. And with dubbing, it's not only about the language and speach patterns, but also about voices, accents etc... In the end, I think it's a personal decision in what language you prefer to write or read in each case, and yes, sometimes neither choice can feel completely right. :-/

Personally, I don't have this jarring "It's not right" feeling if I don't know the language it's supposed to be in, or don't know it very well. If I had watched an English show with German dubs only, I don't think I'd mind German fic (but of course you'd mostly find English fic, so this is a bit hypothetical).

(Also, hings get really funny if translations include translating names. For some reason I've picked the Harry Potter novels as a way to improve my Dutch, with the effect that I'm still confused by both English or German charater names and other terms from the HP universe...)

via metafandom as is common

on 2010-07-26 08:24 pm (UTC)
idiothole: press gang icon by me. (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] idiothole
I'm a Finn who speaks fluent English besides my mother tongue, and even though I understand a fair bit of Hindi, I've got similar issues when it comes to Bollywood fanfiction. Sometimes I can imagine the dialogue in English and it all feels quite believable, even if a little off, but then, I could never write full dialogues in Hindi so English is all I've got.

I can write fic about Japanese characters or Korean characters because I know neither language enough to get their true voices in my head. But Finnish characters, no. Again, the closeness with the language makes sure that isn't possible -- I hear the voice too strongly and know the meaning behind every word and the tone of the conversation. So I definitely get what you mean.

But really I just came here hoping you would've written Komal/Preeti anyway because they are my biggest femslash OTP ever. I .. wish I could do them justice, in English, in any language myself. Seriously. Komal/Preeti.

(I hope people read this post and watch the film as result! :D)

on 2010-08-12 01:47 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ladymercury-10.livejournal.com
Hello! I stumbled upon your journal from a Star Trek comm--I noticed your Amy avatar and thought, Oh, another Doctor Who fan!

That's a really fascinating question. I would say if you're writing in English, then just write as normal--but I have Hindi-speaking cousins, and being aware of how Hindi speakers speak English, I can see having trouble just writing Hindi speakers as English native speakers. I guess the difference would be if you want to write something that reads as if translated, or if you want to just write in English and pretend English is Hindi and Hindi is English, the way they do when they write movies set in foreign countries with English subbing for the "common tongue" as it were.

I'm not sure if that makes sense. By the by, I'm quite jealous that you can speak Hindi well enough to have such problems--my dad never taught me, and I always feel like my cousins have one-up on me, somehow.

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