Regular Spelling
Thoughts on language and more

Bilingual Illiterate

Writing Skewed occasionally presents an unusual problem.

Skewed takes place in Japan, and its characters are (with a couple exceptions) Japanese. However, I'm obviously not writing the story in Japanese, I'm writing it in English, otherwise few people would be able to read it. If I was writing it in Japanese, then non-japanese people should be able to read it for only the following three reasons:

1. they have taken Japanese language classes or have lived in Japan
2. they are linguists
3. they've got a Babelfish in their ear

If you know claim to know Japanese and none of those three apply, then stop right now, you need help.

Anyway, I don't normally need to worry about that. I just write it, and everything's treated like a massive auto-translate function is applied. The characters are still speaking Japanese to each other, and there's not a problem.

The problem comes in when I have to refer to things in another language. Particularly, in this case, English.

The update I wrote for Sunday demonstrated the first problem, which I solved by having a bilingual character just say what was being said in an English-language video. However, it became more difficult with last nights update, when I was actually discussing linguistic roots of words. Ending up with English, Japanese, Greek and Latin in one paragraph, and also French would have been there as well if I could find the breakdown for the French names of the Eevee evolutions.

I decided the best way to break the auto-translate was to italicize the words so they would be in the actual language, thus allowing me to refer to the Japanese name Blackie as such, instead of havving an odd sentence of "the English name for Umbreon is Umbreon," which is rather obvious.

So as to not resort to the dubbing industry's usual tactic of using southern accents, I'm not going to even try writing accent differences for Skewed.

Date posted: 31 July, 2007
Tags: english japanese linguistic skewed translation writing
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