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non-English dialogue

Switch Blayde
Updated:

I rarely use foreign language in dialogue. But I just did and want to know if it makes sense. This is what I wrote:
_____________________________________________

Steele glowered at him. "This can go easy for you or hard. Makes no difference to me. Either way you're going to talk. Who's behind your gang? Who's the boss?"

"Po'shyol 'na hui."

"No, fuck you," Steele said. The Russian's eyes widened and the other two heads popped up. "Don't be so surprised. People have said that to me in many languages."

The man rattled off several sentences in Russian.

"In English," Steele said.
_________________________________________________

Is it clear he said "Fuck you" in Russian?
Is it clear Steele doesn't speak Russian?

Replies:   Ross at Play  Capt. Zapp  REP
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

From someone who's used foreign languages in their works many times (alien, as well as various human languages), two things to consider.

Don't count on Google Translate. It's simple enough to request an authentic translation from a native speaker. I use Fivrr. Just search for 'Russian translation", send them the text (for $5) and they send you a decent translation, along with any nuances in it's use (like when one usage may be used over another).

The other point is accent marks. Nothing looks as authentic as a foreign language printed in the correct language (i.e. complete with the appropriate ligature marks). I know that Russian has quite a few, so I'm cautious about your chosen translation.

But those two points aside, year, your intent is clear. Also, if he's telling him to 'fuck off', then add an exclamation mark!

While you're add it (assuming you go ahead and pay a professional translator), I'd include the other sentences, just so it 'feels real', even if you never translate them, as then it conveys how mystified the detective feels when faces with a language he doesn't understand. Nothing conveys that better than SEEING the foreign language and having no clue what it means, and making it clear the character AND the reader are in the same boat.

Update: I had to double check. The Google foreign language translation doesn't include any ligature marks, but I'd STILL show it in Russian, rather than in English (just make sure you convert it into the proper html independent characters).

The Russian phrase is (if the forum will display it properly): "Трахните тебя". If you need that translated into html, it comes out as:

Трахните тебя

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

"No, fuck you," Steele said.

Is it clear he said "Fuck you" in Russian?
Is it clear Steele doesn't speak Russian?

Yes and Yes.
I might consider "No. Fuck you," but the meaning is already clear to me.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Don't count on Google Translate.


Didn't. Found a site with Russian swear words.

There were several sites, but all the others used the Russian alphabet. It looks more realistic, but I didn't want to bother with the special characters.

Thanks. Ross, thank you too.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

There were several sites, but all the others used the Russian alphabet. It looks more realistic, but I didn't want to bother with the special characters.

I already did it for you, check the recent update of my original post. Just cut and paste the html commands into your text and it'll display properly in any SOL story.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

I also had the thought the words in Russian should be be italics (for words in a foreign language) ... but then I read CW's post, and I would bother with the special characters.
EDIT TO ADD: I was still drafting this when CW posted he'd already done the bothering for you. :-)

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I also had the thought the words in Russian should be be italics (for words in a foreign language) ... but then I read CW's post, and I would bother with the special characters.

Ross is correct: use the italics, but it's always more effective if you use the foreign script when using foreign languages, otherwise it feels artificial in a story.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

Ross is correct: use the italics

So you recommend italics AND special characters?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

I already did it for you, check the recent update of my original post. Just cut and paste the html commands into your text and it'll display properly in any SOL story.


Except this is from a novel I will publish. I use Calibre to convert the Word doc file to epub which I upload to Amazon. I don't want to deal with HTML for special characters.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

I also had the thought the words in Russian should be be italics


My understanding about italicizing foreign words is to do it in the narrative to let the reader know you didn't make a typo. And if you use the same word again, once the reader is oriented to it, you don't italicize it.

I thought dialogue is different.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

The special characters make the italics unnecessary, but I still italicize foreign exchanges the same way I italicize plays and book names within stories It's simply the 'accepted' formatting.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Except this is from a novel I will publish. I use Calibre to convert the Word doc file to epub which I upload to Amazon. I don't want to deal with HTML for special characters.

If you do it within WORD, it should convert it all for you. That's what I do with all my books I post to Amazon, and I've never had a problem.

Still, just to be sure, open the finished file in Calibre, select "Edit" for the book and search for the foreign phrase to ensure they got the foreign characters correctly (you may have to move down the list of included files, searching in each until you find it). It it doesn't display correctly, then simply paste in the code I sent you for whatever they display and it will display correctly.

Either that, or just send the finished file to me and I'll check it for you, and make any necessary adjustments to it for you, myself. As I said, I'm currently the reigning king of formatting overuse! 'D

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

My understanding about italicizing foreign words is to do it in the narrative to let the reader know you didn't make a typo. And if you use the same word again, once the reader is oriented to it, you don't italicize it.

I thought dialogue is different.

I'll have to double check, but the concept is similar, you're notifying the reader, visually, that you're showing a foreign language, rather than merely typing gibberish.

It's been a while since I've done it, so I'll need to double check how I did it in my previous stories, as I often mix foreign phrases, and not the Americanized versions of them, into the otherwise English dialogue.

In either case, if you show the actual foreign script, they'll recognize that it's in a foreign language, so the italics is really overkill.

On a side note, including the actual foreign text will allow text-to-speech readers to read it in the native language, rather than as screwing up reciting the story (since it won't know how to pronounce the Americanized spelling). But I'll double check that with my blind friend to be sure.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

My understanding about italicizing foreign words is to do it in the narrative to let the reader know you didn't make a typo. And if you use the same word again, once the reader is oriented to it, you don't italicize it.
I thought dialogue is different.

I looked up my references to see what I could find.
* *
I found CMOS 7.49

Italics are used for isolated words and phrases in a foreign language if they are likely to be unfamiliar to readers ... If a foreign word becomes familiar through repeated use throughout a work, it need be italicized only on its first occurrence. If it appears only rarely, however, italics may be retained ... An entire sentence or a passage of two or more sentences in a foreign language is usually set in roman and enclosed in quotation marks (see 13.71).

Then at CMOS 13.71

Quotations in a foreign language that are incorporated into an English text are normally treated like quotations in English, set in roman type and ...

My interpretation is that 13.71 is not relevant to dialogue [by using 'quotations' they restrict it to copies of words written elsewhere], but that 7.49 applies to both narrative and dialogue.
* *
I could not find anything relevant in Harts.
* *
I could quote what CMOS 11.121 says about dialogue in Russian, if you ask, but trust me, you do not want to go there. :-)
I take CW's point about "overkill". Readers will be in no doubt it is a foreign language (not gibberish) with either roman font and Cryllic script, or italics and Latin script.

Capt. Zapp

@Switch Blayde

Is it clear he said "Fuck you" in Russian?
Is it clear Steele doesn't speak Russian?


It is quite clear what he said, but he may be in a position that requires that other people don't know he can speak their language (although it would be equally beneficial if they didn't know he can understand them as well. Of course if the individual won't be around to let anyone else know...)

This reminds me of an incident related to me several years ago. A woman was assigned as shift supervisor at a hotel with a number of 'non-English' speakers. Several of the workers asked if she spoke their native language using the questions most recognize (Parlez-vous français, Sprichst du Deutsch, hablas español). She informed them that she didn't speak anything except English. Later she overheard a group of employees badmouthing some guests that were checking in and reprimanded them. When they said "I thought you said you don't speak xxxx" She replied "I only speak English, but I understand several (I don't recall the exact number - more than 4). Just because someone doesn't speak your language doesn't mean they don't know what you are saying."

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I take CW's point about "overkill". Readers will be in no doubt it is a foreign language (not gibberish) with either roman font and Cryllic script, or italics and Latin script.

As always, quoting CMOS means nothing, since they detail how to handle reference works, not fiction. As for using Roman or Cryllic scripts, I've found that most languages I use (mostly roman letter form with accent marks) work best in Arial, with the various accent marks created via html commands, making it compatible across a variety of different devices.

What gets tricky is when works are written right-to-left, because then you have to keep stopping as you prepare to copy and paste, and remember to copy it in reverse order. 'D

But I agree, the italics aren't required. The CMOS guidelines are only for when you intersperse foreign phrases in English, which most often means unfamiliar English words which originate in another country. If someone speaks entire sentences or paragraphs in a foreign tongue, they have no relevant advice.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@Capt. Zapp

She replied "I only speak English, but I understand several (I don't recall the exact number - more than 4). Just because someone doesn't speak your language doesn't mean they don't know what you are saying."

Having lived in downtown Chicago and Manhattan for many years, I can relate many similar stories, as you frequently run across many people who speak a variety of languages. (I've used a few in my stories.) It's not uncommon for some petite little Chinese girl to curse a bunch of Hispanics because they were saying negative things about her in Spanish (or Korean, or Dutch, or Russian). Out in the country, it occurs much less often.

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

As always, quoting CMOS means nothing, since ...

As always, I assumed those here are capable of deciding for themselves the relevance of materials I quote from well-known references.
In this case, I thought there was one common sense piece of advice which would interest Switch.

If a foreign word becomes familiar through repeated use throughout a work, it need be italicized only on its first occurrence. If it appears only rarely, however, italics may be retained.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

As always, I assumed those here are capable of deciding for themselves the relevance of materials I quote from well-known references.
In this case, I thought there was one common sense piece of advice which would interest Switch.

That's why I changed my position. If the only time you italicize foreign text is when a single word or phrase is used, it's useless, as most novels tend to have one character speaking either sentences or entire paragraphs in a foreign language, rather than the author quoting another source from another language.

Again, that's always been my main objection with CMOS, it rarely addresses the needs of fiction authors, and when it does, it only does so half heartedly. Usually, you're better deciding for yourself how fiction authors handle these things, rather than misapplying 'rules' that were never intended for you in the first place (think of Ernest's rants about the dropped quotes).

Ross at Play

@Capt. Zapp

Just because someone doesn't speak your language doesn't mean they don't know what you are saying.

My experience is the exact opposite.
After 6 years in Indonesia, I still have a very limited vocabulary. I can usually make myself understood - but it's hopeless when locals speak to me as I only recognise occasional words.
The best way to communicate for two people who only know a little of each others' language is for both to do their best to talk in the others' language.

Replies:   Joe Long
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

Again, that's always been my main objection with CMOS, it rarely addresses the needs of fiction authors

I thought it would be useful information for Switch to know CMOS had NO useful information regarding his question.

What you are doing here is exactly the same as what you (reasonably) complain about DS (among others) doing to you - the effect is you're shutting down an exchange because there's no perfect answer.

Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

in a foreign language that are incorporated into an English text are normally treated like quotations in English, set in roman type


That's why I thought it okay not to use the Russian alphabet. If it were Chinese, I wouldn't use their alphabet (or Hebrew or Arabic).

As to dialogue, I still contend it's not like using "isolated words and phrases" in the narrative. It's written, in Roman letters, how it sounds.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

If the only time you italicize foreign text is when a single word or phrase is used, it's useless,


No, CMoS's point is if it's not a common foreign word, like "adios," then you italicize it the first time. It lets the reader know you didn't type a word wrong.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

I thought it would be useful information for Switch to know CMOS had NO useful information regarding his question.


It is. Thanks.

Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

It lets the reader know you didn't type a word wrong.


Unless it is close in spelling to an actual English word, there is no basis for any reasonable and/or rational reader to think the author typed a word wrong.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Dominions Son

Unless it is close in spelling to an actual English word, there is no basis for any reasonable and/or rational reader to think the author typed a word wrong.

Why would an author force readers to think, and conclude, they have not made a mistake when there exists a simple way to warn readers in advance what is going on?
That is the deciding factor for most punctuation marks, etc. that I use: make reading easier whenever possible!

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Ross at Play

What you are doing here is exactly the same as what you (reasonably) complain about DS (among others) doing to you - the effect is you're shutting down an exchange because there's no perfect answer.


Note: Switch already answered this, so my rant doesn't really have much bearing. Still, it incorporates my frustration with CMOS. But, since your intent was to demonstrate that it's advice was not helpful, I recall my rant. :(

Rant follows:

You're correct, and for that I apologize, but your first 'go to' source always seems to be CMOS, despite no one on the Forum agreeing with it in most instances. I can understand why you'd start there, but you'd do better if you started where most of us end up, at grammar girl, and you'd lose a lot less time.

My point isn't that CMOS doesn't have very useful points, it's always been that CMOS isn't concerned with works of fiction, so there's NO way to evaluate their advice. Without a way of differentiating one guideline from another, it all ends up a gobbledygook, going in one ear and out the other leaving us none the wiser. The information is intelligent, but without a way to evaluate it (ex: such as "this is ONLY for fiction", or "this ONLY APPLIES to historical research"), it's meaningless.

It's not the research you complain about, it's its applicability. As such, our discussions would move faster if you referenced more relevant sources (i.e. those who specifically address the differences between fiction and non-fiction (as well as British and American) uses.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


CMOS, despite no one on the Forum agreeing with it in most instances.


No one? How 'bout me? It's my style guide unless I disagree with it. So it's the basis for my style guide which is what I believe publishers do. I bet they have their own based on CMoS just like I bet the NY Times has their own based on the AP Style guide.

I can understand why you'd start there, but you'd do better if you started where most of us end up, at grammar girl, and you'd lose a lot less time.


Grammar Girl is for grammar issues. When it comes to style, she references style guides, such as CMoS. Since I don't own a copy of it, that's where I get most of my information about their style recommendations. Italicizing foreign words isn't a grammar issue. It's style.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

That's why I thought it okay not to use the Russian alphabet. If it were Chinese, I wouldn't use their alphabet (or Hebrew or Arabic).

It's fine to use a different font (though that's just as hard to do on SOL as including accent marks), my point was only that using the foreign script is more powerful. Think of it this way, rather than forcing your characters to SAY (telling them) that they're speaking Russian, you can SHOW the readers by displaying the Russian Script. In that case, they don't NEED to understand the words to get the point, but best of all, you don't need to TELL them someone is speaking a foreign language.

Side Note: For publication purposes, you should also be aware that, for foreign phrases in general, it's best to include the html < abbr="xxx"> command, so readers have a simple way of figuring out what was said without having to search for a dictionary (when readers pause their mouse over the phrase, the translations pops up, and goes away when they move their cursor somewhere else). But, that's a little harder to implement than most of us are ready for.

Replies:   BlacKnight
helmut_meukel

@Switch Blayde

It's written, in Roman letters, how it sounds.


I beg to differ. It uses the appropriate Roman letters to sound similar to the russian pronunciation when read by an English speaker.
The very same text read by a native German speaker will sound considerably different and again different when read by a native French speaker (or Italian, Spanish, Greek, ...).

HM.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@helmut_meukel

The very same text read by a native German speaker will sound considerably different


That's very interesting.

Replies:   helmut_meukel
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

You're correct, and for that I apologize

Thank you, and I want to move on now. :-)

if you referenced more relevant sources (i.e. those who specifically address the differences between fiction and non-fiction (as well as British and American) uses.

What do you suggest?
As far as I know the references I often quote are those most commonly used by mainstream publishers of fiction, CMOS for American English and Harts for British English. If there a reference specifically directed at the needs of fiction writers, I would use it.
I'm happy to discuss the occasions when these are not appropriate for fiction, but I'm heartily sick of people complaining about the source for a quote without offering any alternatives.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
helmut_meukel
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

Roman letter combinations are quite different pronounciated in different european languages.

Here some examples:

english 'sh' (as in fish) has the same pronunciation as german 'sch', so the english noun 'fish' sounds like the corresponding german noun 'Fisch'.

BTW, if an english speaker would pronounce the german 'Fisch' according to english pronunciation rules, a native Danish speaker would probably think the english speaker was speaking Danish, because the danish word for fish is 'fisk'.

One of the first things to learn is the different english pronunciation of 'sch' (as in school) [sounds like 'sk'] while an English speaker has to pronounce the german 'Schule' as if written with 'sh'.

Another example is english 'Europe', french 'Europe', german 'Europa'. Look up the quite different pronunciation for the two vowels 'eu' in the three languages!

HM.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

What do you suggest?
As far as I know the references I often quote are those most commonly used by mainstream publishers of fiction, CMOS for American English and Harts for British English. If there a reference specifically directed at the needs of fiction writers, I would use it.
I'm happy to discuss the occasions when these are not appropriate for fiction, but I'm heartily sick of people complaining about the source for a quote without offering any alternatives.

I'm not sure about the others (aside from DS not enjoying any discussion of 'accepted standards' at all), I do know that Ernest, Switch and I have all decided to create our own Style Guides, since none of those currently available seems to fit the modern wave of Independent Publishers. (The only reason most authors accept the standard Style Guides is because their publishers dictate which variant they're required to use.) As a result, we're continually struggling with which standards to accept in each case. So your repeating what CMOS says doesn't really help. We're all looking for the 'consensus opinion', rather than the 'authoritative source' opinion.

As a result, when we ask questions, we're not asking 'what the experts say', we're merely asking 'what does everyone else use, and why'.

Ross, you're still at the 'which resource is the best' stage of the process, while the rest of us are in the 'which solution to this problem is the best for my uses'.

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

Ross, you're still at the 'which resource is the best' stage of the process, while the rest of us are in the 'which solution to this problem is the best for my uses'.

No. I do not advocate others should do what CMOS say.
I offer one possible solution others do use, let people know its source, and let then decide.
Is it forbidden to suggest something because a better answer may exist?

REP
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

I just found your post and skimmed through the responses. I would say No and No.

When I read the passage, I got the impression Steele denied what the Russian said and then told him to go to hell. To me, the Russian may have said something besides 'fuck you' where "No, fuck you" would be a suitable answer.

Steele responding with No seems to indicate that he knows some Russian or Russian phrases.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

aside from DS not enjoying any discussion of 'accepted standards' at all


I don't mind as long as you can answer the questions "Accepted by whom?" and "Why?".

If you can't answer those questions or refuse to address them as serious questions, then I reserve the right to think and say you are talking out of your ass.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

So your repeating what CMOS says doesn't really help.


It helps me.

The main thing that I don't follow from the CMoS is the ellipsis. I use the ellipsis font (Word converts 3 dots to it). CMoS says to make it

xxx . . . xxx

To do that I'd have to put in non-breaking spaces and 3 dots and spaces on either side of the ellipsis. That's how it's done in published books. I simply don't want to bother so I use the font ellipsis.

But if I know of a CMoS style, I follow it.

Replies:   REP
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@REP


I would say No and No.


Nuts. :(

Maybe when I go through my editing phase I'll remove it. It really doesn't add much.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

@REP
I would say No and No.
When I read the passage, I got the impression Steele denied what the Russian said and then told him to go to hell.

@SB
Nuts. :(

I went back to your original post after reading REP's comment, and I agree that interpretation is possible after the words "No, fuck you."
I suggest your clarifying statement could be more explicit, perhaps, "What? Dya think I don't know how to say that in a dozen languages?"

Replies:   Switch Blayde
robberhands

I'm amazed, an entire thread dedicated to the difficult task of saying 'Fuck you too' in Russian.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Ross at Play


I went back to your original post after reading REP's comment, and I agree that interpretation is possible


Wrong interpretation is the risk the author takes by not telling everything.

In fact, I once read an article on "show don't tell" where the author quoted (and he was a famous author) said he writes more than one novel because different people interpret it differently.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

Wrong interpretation is the risk the author takes by not telling everything.

Wrong interpretation is a risk for any author writing anything!

There's an expression 'the curse of knowledge'. Once an author writes words understanding them to mean one thing it became virtually impossible for them to see another possible interpretation.
Perhaps, even the way you phrased your question in the OP corrupted the thinking of those who attempted to answer it - by stating your interpretation you cursed them with foreknowledge, like lawyers asking "leading questions".
I don't know of any "solution" for this problem. The best I can think of is for authors to leave a good gap without reading their draft before starting their review process, and asking beta-readers who've never read it before to review an almost final version.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Ross at Play

Wrong interpretation is the risk for any author writing anything


He was 6'5"

can't be misinterpreted.

He was a tall man

left to the reader to define tall

As he followed everyone to the picnic table, he ducked under the oak tree

Was he tall or were the tree branches low? No one else had to duck so he was tall. Or was everyone else short? If he was tall, just taller than the others or a giant?

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

My reaction is that you've pulled a mere rhetorical flourish out of a post, analysed it to death, and proven it's not always valid.
I don't care.
My actual meaning was described with some care in the remainder of my post.

EDIT TO ADD: You are nowhere the worst at doing that kind of thing. I'm having a bit of a cranky day.

Geek of Ages

@Switch Blayde

Strictly speaking, given that there have been multiple definitions of a foot, simply specifying a height in feet and inches is open to misinterpretation (if unlikely these days). After all, this is why Napoleon was considered short: French feet were bigger than English feet, so when his height was reported in the English press in French feet, it was interpreted as being in British feet, and therefore shorter than his actual stature.

And then, if someone doesn't actually remember the conversion from feet to meters, they could very well misunderstand a height in feet and inches simply from unfamiliarity. In much the same way that if someone tells me that something weighs three kilos, I have no real idea how heavy or light that is, so when reading a story, I would likely misinterpret such a statement.

And let's not get into how people's height changes over the course of the day, or what the margin of error on that measuring stick is, or...

Dominions Son

@Geek of Ages

And let's not get into how people's height changes over the course of the day, or what the margin of error on that measuring stick is, or...


The total error from all those factors won't be more than +/- 2 inches, so yes it's fairly safe to ignore all of that.

helmut_meukel

@Geek of Ages

In much the same way that if someone tells me that something weighs three kilos, I have no real idea how heavy or light that is, so when reading a story, I would likely misinterpret such a statement.

Rule of thumb:
kg x 2 + 10 % = lbs
So using this simple rule you get 6.6 pound.
(The exact value is ‪6.613868‬ pound)

For yard to metre it's 12 yards = 11 metres.

HM.

richardshagrin

@helmut_meukel

yard to metre

A meter is about 39 inches. 25.4 millimeters is close to an inch. Us Americans get to spell it meter, not metre. E before R except after C. Or is that I before E?

helmut_meukel
Updated:

@richardshagrin


Us Americans get to spell it meter, not metre.


I know and I can't understand why the Brits stick to the french spelling.

OTOH, in school I learned "Oxford English" and spelling it 'meter' was counted as spelling error!

I started with English in school in '57 in northern Bavaria in the american occupied zone. Nonetheless using americanisms in English was not tolerated.

HM.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Switch Blayde

@richardshagrin

E before R except


...except for "theatre"

Well, for those of us who grew up in NYC where every Broadway theater was spelled "theatre."

Ernest Bywater

@helmut_meukel


I know and I can't understand why the Brits stick to the french spelling.


it makes it simple - metre is a distance while meter is a device

REP

@Switch Blayde

I simply don't want to bother so I use the font ellipsis.


I used to use the font ellipsis but I had problems in the converted text. Lazeez told me the SOL converter does not handle Word's ellipse character. Strange things happen to the surrounding text.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
REP

@richardshagrin

Or is that I before E?


For a line jumper, it is always I before E.

Switch Blayde

@REP

I used to use the font ellipsis but I had problems in the converted text. Lazeez told me the SOL converter does not handle Word's ellipse character. Strange things happen to the surrounding text.


I've used the ellipsis font with SOL with no problem.

Capt. Zapp

@Geek of Ages

Strictly speaking, given that there have been multiple definitions of a foot, simply specifying a height in feet and inches is open to misinterpretation (if unlikely these days).


Danish measurements are still different. For example, a Danish fod (foot) is .356 inches longer than the 'standard' foot. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danish_units_of_measurement

This was brought to my attention by a woodworking program on PBS (The Woodwright's Shop - S37 Ep1 at about time index 16:30 http://video.idahoptv.org/video/3004073047/ )

Joe Long

@Ross at Play

After 6 years in Indonesia, I still have a very limited vocabulary. I can usually make myself understood - but it's hopeless when locals speak to me as I only recognise occasional words.


I can read and speak Spanish decently well, but that's because it's more on my timing. It's harder for me to understand speech because it flies by. If I catch some words I try to get the context.

For example, I went into a pupuseria and ordered takeout in Spanish. The young lady then asked me a followup question, and the only words I caught were 'arroz' and 'maza' What could she be asking that included the words 'rice' and 'corn'? What kind of tortilla did I want! "Maza!" I replied.

Replies:   sejintenej
Joe Long

@Switch Blayde

That's why I thought it okay not to use the Russian alphabet. If it were Chinese, I wouldn't use their alphabet (or Hebrew or Arabic).


Personally, I would use a phonetic spelling in our alphabet so that the reader can tell what the word sounds like, as if they were watching on film. Throwing in a bunch of Chinese characters would jar the reader out of the flow.

madnige

@Joe Long

use a phonetic spelling in our alphabet so that the reader can tell what the word sounds like


Yes please

Throwing in a bunch of Chinese characters would jar the reader out of the flow.


Does for me, anyway.

Switch Blayde

@Joe Long

Personally, I would use a phonetic spelling in our alphabet so that the reader can tell what the word sounds like, as if they were watching on film. Throwing in a bunch of Chinese characters would jar the reader out of the flow.


My thoughts exactly, especially since it's dialogue. But to change the alphabet on the reader would be weird.

sejintenej

@Joe Long

I can read and speak Spanish decently well, but that's because it's more on my timing. It's harder for me to understand speech because it flies by. If I catch some words I try to get the context

Context: exactly!
I reckon that we only actually process 20% of the words we hear because our brains have worked out what to expect. This comes from all the little cues - where you are, the other person's eyes, demeanour, what you have already said and probably 100 other factors.
When our brain hears something different then they stop, go back and listen to everything.

It is the lack of those clues which makes talking on the phone in another language so hard; I find it exhausting and accents and localised vocab don't help.

Replies:   REP
sejintenej

@Joe Long

Personally, I would use a phonetic spelling in our alphabet so that the reader can tell what the word sounds like, as if they were watching on film.

When starting a new language I always carried a notebook - any new word went in spelled phonetically and then I would add the apparent English translation and context.
Studying for exams I would copy down the vocab - a certain number of words per day because the act of writing helped the learning process.

Crumbly Writer

Getting back of Switch's original question, I wouldn't worry about it. While REP presented one possible interpretation, it's not the only interpretation, and your character's response is what readers will key into, not what they 'suppose' the guy might have said. The fact the suspect starts speaking Russian shows HE was convinced the detective spoke Russian, so why would readers question that assumption?

Replies:   Switch Blayde  REP
Geek of Ages

@helmut_meukel

Rule of thumb:
kg x 2 + 10 % = lbs


Which kind of pound are you referring to? There are two that I know of (avoirdupois and Troy, which is why a pound of bricks is heavier than a pound of gold). I'm sure there are others, especially historically.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Geek of Ages


Which kind of pound are you referring to? There are two that I know of


UK currency for a third? :)


avoirdupois and Troy, which is why a pound of bricks is heavier than a pound of gold


Interesting factoid: Troy weight is only (and always) used for precious metals in today's world. The Troy ounce is slightly heavier than the standard(avoirdupois) ounce, but a Troy pound is only 12 ounces rather than 16 which is why the standard pound is heavier than the Troy pound.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

The fact the suspect starts speaking Russian shows HE was convinced the detective spoke Russian, so why would readers question that assumption?


Actually, that's not why. Just like someone mutters something under their breath so the person they're cursing doesn't really hear it, that's why he said it in Russian. When they realized Steele understood it, their heads popped up (in surprise).

helmut_meukel

@Geek of Ages

Which kind of pound are you referring to? There are two that I know of (avoirdupois and Troy, which is why a pound of bricks is heavier than a pound of gold).


Hmmm,
I thought using the lbs. made it clear.
According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pound_(mass)#Troy_pound

The troy pound is no longer in general use or a legal unit for trade (it was abolished in the United Kingdom on 6 January 1879 by the Weights and Measures Act of 1878), but the troy ounce,  1⁄12 of a troy pound, is still used for measurements of gems such as opals, and precious metals such as silver, platinum and particularly gold.


HM.

REP

@sejintenej

I reckon that we only actually process 20% of the words we hear because our brains have worked out what to expect.


The very reason that authors need editors. The author know what to expect for they wrote the passages and read right over their errors. Editor do the same thing but to a lesser extent.

Replies:   richardshagrin
REP

@Crumbly Writer

so why would readers question that assumption?


Because we know that sometimes, people say impolite things to us because they know we don't speak the language.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

Because we know that sometimes, people say impolite things to us because they know we don't speak the language.

That was part of an earlier discussion, which only exemplifies the power of Switch's character confronting someone who tries that very thing. He might need to tighten the language, so it's obvious he knows precisely what was said, but I wouldn't belabor the point. It's a common enough exchange, especially in the movies and TV shows, that readers should be familiar with the theme.

Again, readers are more likely to question the setting if it's not presented in the native script (i.e. Russian), as they'd immediately question it if they thought it might be a typo. Seeing it's in Russian, they're more likely to assume the characters recognizes it than not.

In short, I don't think it's something that would throw many readers out of the story, though as always, that varies depending on each author.

Replies:   REP
REP

@Crumbly Writer

The fact the suspect starts speaking Russian shows HE was convinced the detective spoke Russian, so why would readers question that assumption?


My post was simply a reply to your post's question. You indicated that the Russian speaking Russian showed that he believed Steele understood the Russian language. That is an interpretation/assumption on your part. Then you asked why a reader might question your assumption. So I answered your question.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@REP

You indicated that the Russian speaking Russian showed that he believed Steele understood the Russian language.


Just the contrary. He said it in Russian because he didn't know Steele would understand him. I showed that by having all 3 Russians' heads pop up when Steele understood it.

And Steele was coy about whether he spoke Russian or not when he said something like, "In English" after the Russian rattled something off in Russian. He didn't say "I didn't understand you, speak English." He simply said to speak in English.

I was showing a lot without explicitly telling the reader everything.

Replies:   REP  Joe Long
sejintenej

@REP

Because we know that sometimes, people say impolite things to us because they know we don't speak the language.

That is why it is such fun not letting people know you understand their language. I've only been called out on that once when we were both using to us a foreign tongue - she was a beautiful young blonde from Latvia or that area. We had a good laugh about it

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

That is why it is such fun not letting people know you understand their language. I've only been called out on that once when we were both using to us a foreign tongue - she was a beautiful young blonde from Latvia or that area. We had a good laugh about it

I once met a beautiful young thing in Madrid when I was there for a month for business (it was supposed to be an 'extended weekend'). We hit it off, and she was so busy telling me her whole life story, I simply smiled and nodded, never telling her I didn't speak the language. It took about a half an hour before my friends lowered the boom on her.

People make all kinds of assumptions about language.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

People make all kinds of assumptions about language.


When my sister was a teenager, she got a call. The two girls chatted for 10–15 minutes (don't remember) before one mentioned a name the other didn't know. It was a wrong number. Teenage girls! Sheesh.

REP

@Switch Blayde

SB,

The statement was made by CW, I just quoted what he said.

The statement was CW's interpretation/assumption of what you wrote meant. He asked why a reader would not accept his assumption. I provided an answer to CW's question.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@REP

The statement was CW's interpretation/assumption of what you wrote meant. He asked why a reader would not accept his assumption. I provided an answer to CW's question.

No, Switch got what I meant. No problem there.

richardshagrin

@REP

The very reason that authors need editors. The author know what to expect for they wrote the passages and read right over their errors. Editor do the same thing but to a lesser extent.

There are also proof-readers who aren't editors. They don't care if there would be better ways to express what the author meant, they worry if the words are spelled correctly and aren't homonyms and even if the word is spelled correctly is it the right word. I recently saw a sentence where the name Earl was left as Ear. Proof-reading is a lot more fun than editing, a lot easier, too.

Replies:   REP  Crumbly Writer
REP

@richardshagrin

Proof-reading is a lot more fun than editing, a lot easier, too.


I always have a problem with separating what an editor does versus what a proofreader does.

I get conflicting descriptions of each function.

When I search to find out what an editor does, I get multiple job positions and functions. From what I can tell a Manuscript Editor is probably the closest to what I think of when I say Editor.

Your description seems to have the Proofreader doing what I think of as editing.

So what are Editor functions versus Proofreader functions?

Joe Long

@Switch Blayde

I was showing a lot without explicitly telling the reader everything.


Subtext!

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Joe Long

@REP

Your description seems to have the Proofreader doing what I think of as editing.

So what are Editor functions versus Proofreader functions?


I've done some proofreading for friends. Typos and bad grammar or phrasings, or using Canadianism for American settings stand out to me. I mark them as I see them and continue.

Editors would be judging the quality of the writing. Does it use too much telling? Is the reader confused? Do the words adequately convey what's happening? Is it 'on the nose' or does it make good use of subtext?

The story editors would be looking at the story structure. I did a critique where the author wrote a series of events, but I wanted to know, "Where's the conflict? What the protagonist's goal?"

Replies:   REP
Switch Blayde

@REP

So what are Editor functions versus Proofreader functions?


I don't remember editor titles, such as, copy editor, line editor, structural/developmental editor, etc., but they do different jobs. A proofreader is the person who looks at the final printing of a novel and is the last set of eyes, both for the spelling and formatting.

Editors do things like:

1. checks for spelling errors and such (I think this is the line or copy editor).

2. checks for sentence structure and word choice (if #1 is the copy editor, this is the line editor).

3. checks for plot holes, inconsistencies, unrealistic characters, etc. This is the developmental editor and is typically done before the novel is written. Done off the synopsis.

And then there are the Editor titles in the industry, such as, Editor in Chief, Acquisition Editor, etc.

Replies:   REP
Switch Blayde

@Joe Long

Subtext!


Pretty good article, although I don't like the term "subtext." I liked this from the article:

reaction it creates in readers: their sudden ability to become an intelligent participant in interpreting the story.


Someone on wattpad asked if Rowling is a good author because she uses a lot of adverbs. One person said she knew her audience — middle grade.

The younger the reader, the more telling because their reading comprehension is lower. She was writing for that age group.

REP
Updated:

@Joe Long

I checked the Internet to find out what an Editor does. After checking several similar articles, I concluded what an editor does is dependent on their job title. The following is a list of the different types of editors mentioned in the article and they generally perform different functions.

http://theeditorsblog.net/2011/02/01/duties-of-an-editor-how-editors-help-writers/

- Editor in chief or editor at-large

- Managing editor

- Acquisitions editor

- Developmental editor

- Copy/manuscript editor

- Proofreader

- Freelance editor

- Developmental editor

- Substantive editor

- Non-fiction editor

- Fiction editor

REP

@Switch Blayde

Thanks. I got most of that in trying to respond to Joe Long's post.

It just seems like everyone has their personal definition of 'Editor'. Some people, like Richard, assign what I think of as editing tasks to Proofreaders. There seems to be no consistency in what we mean when we say Editor. :(

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

There are also proof-readers who aren't editors. They don't care if there would be better ways to express what the author meant, they worry if the words are spelled correctly and aren't homonyms and even if the word is spelled correctly is it the right word.

Technically, proofreaders ARE editors, but you pay a hell of a lot less for it, since it takes less time and less rigid attention to detail. Content editing is the most expensive, since it requires dissecting the entire book as you read it.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

So what are Editor functions versus Proofreader functions?

There are multiple editor roles, but a typical editor will do the following in addition to proofreading: research and authenticate story details (including any quoted sources), format story elements properly, reduce clutter, simplify sentences (or at least mark where they're difficult to follow so they can be rewritten), point out plot holes (though not as intently as a content editor does).

However, it should be noted that most 'editors' suggest you hire someone else to proofread it once they're done, since just as authors have a hard time writing and editing, editors have a difficult time doing the multiple editing tasks at the same time without missing things.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

It just seems like everyone has their personal definition of 'Editor'. Some people, like Richard, assign what I think of as editing tasks to Proofreaders. There seems to be no consistency in what we mean when we say Editor.

Even with my amateur editors on SOL, every editor naturally fits certain rules. Some do basic proofing, some do 'specialized' proofing (i.e. mainly just punctuation, or only spelling, or only homophones), others do a variety, while the rare few will dig up a variety of outstanding plot holes, causing you to delay the release of the entire book as you try to figure out how to correct them.

By the way, REP, many of your editor roles are redundant, as several are administrative. Thus a Managing editor is a 'normal' editor who's in charge of the other editors (orchestrates who does what). It's sorta like when they promote an engineer so they are no longer allowed to do engineering.

Replies:   REP
REP

@Crumbly Writer

many of your editor roles


I just made the list from the titles in the article. I glanced at their defined task but didn't look closely.

sejintenej

Having established what each person should do, what is the order?
For me it would be logical for the proofreader to get the document first to get spelling and the most obvious grammar errors sorted. he/she might point out apparent errors for the editor to consider. Then the editor has a relatively clean oeuvre on which to work.

Joe Long

@sejintenej

Having established what each person should do, what is the order?


From the least to most detailed.

Start with the story editor to review the plot, theme and characters.

Next the writing editor, who'll review that sentences are constructed properly, not too much telling instead of showing, use of adverbs, etc (independent of the story).

Lastly make sure everything's punctuated and spelled correctly (technical)

Switch Blayde

@sejintenej

it would be logical for the proofreader to get the document first


I think last.

The terms are used interchangeably nowadays, but I believe the proofreader in the past was the one who looked at it right before it went to print. The typesetter might have made a mistake. Maybe a color on a picture didn't come out right. He checked out the single printed copy before they printed thousands. He wasn't an editor. He compared what they wanted to what was actually printed.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Ross at Play

@sejintenej

Having established what each person should do, what is the order?

I agree with the order Joe suggested.
There's not much point in someone making a detailed review at the sentence/paragraph level when problems with the plot or characters may require a major rewrite.
The final proofreader should never have seen any drafts before.

BlacKnight
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Side Note: For publication purposes, you should also be aware that, for foreign phrases in general, it's best to include the html < abbr="xxx"> command, so readers have a simple way of figuring out what was said without having to search for a dictionary (when readers pause their mouse over the phrase, the translations pops up, and goes away when they move their cursor somewhere else). But, that's a little harder to implement than most of us are ready for.


You shouldn't use the abbr tag for this. That's not what it's for. It's for marking up abbreviations, and screen readers and so on may not handle it ideally when used for other purposes. The technically correct way to do it would be:

< span lang="ru" title="Fuck you!" >Трахните тебя!< /span >

And then set in the stylesheets:

span[lang] { font-style: italic; }

This will provide the popup translation on hover in standard browsers without confusing the issue by using inappropriate tags (span is generic, with no inherent logical meaning), tags the language of the text explicitly, in a way that's unobtrusive but can be accessed through left-click properties and understood by automatic readers such as search engines, and automatically italicizes foreign-language text without requiring the (discouraged) use of physical markup tags like i or the incorrect use of logical markup tags like em.

(... okay, apparently using the HTML entities for lt/gt doesn't work on this forum...)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Geek of Ages

@Switch Blayde

I believe the proofreader in the past was the one who looked at it right before it went to print.


That is to say, they read the proof?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

Having established what each person should do, what is the order?
For me it would be logical for the proofreader to get the document first to get spelling and the most obvious grammar errors sorted. he/she might point out apparent errors for the editor to consider. Then the editor has a relatively clean oeuvre on which to work.

Nope, the proofreader is supposed to get it last, so they can review for any outstanding issues before a book is finally printed/posted. The first is supposed to be the content editor, who often works from the plot outline, who points out any potential plot holes, though due to the cost, they've mainly avoided in most circumstances.

On SOL, since professional editors are rare, most amateur editors contain a little of each, in different combinations, so you end up with a hodgepodge of skills, and you give everyone the same material. Even if they should be in a different order, many edit at their own pace, so you take their input when you can get it. But generally it goes:

1) Content Editor - preview of plot summary
2) Content Editor - detailed analysis of completed story
3) Editor Editor - cleanup of completed story
4) Poofreader - final cleanup of book before final posting

Replies:   Joe Long
Joe Long

@Crumbly Writer

1) Content Editor - preview of plot summary
2) Content Editor - detailed analysis of completed story
3) Editor Editor - cleanup of completed story
4) Poofreader - final cleanup of book before final posting


I'm best at 2 and 4.

While I'm reading I seem to be good at spotting the proofreading errors, and if I know the author will past them into a wordpad file. After I'm done reading I frequently post commentary about the characters and plot revelations on the forums.

Crumbly Writer

@BlacKnight

Point taken, I'll take it under advisement for the next time I use a foreign language. However, in most cases, I'd only use it for very short translations, rather than full sentence or paragraph foreign dialogue. Just sayin'.

Crumbly Writer

@Geek of Ages

That is to say, they read the proof?

Technically, they 'proofed' the proof.

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