An awesome and helpful post on writing dialogue for bilingual or multilingual characters!
I’m fluently multilingual (English, Spanish, and Catalan). Even though I read almost exclusively in English, I’m a big fan of seeing other languages incorporated into a story through dialog and cultural immersion.
However, it’s frustrating to see foreign languages get butchered by native-English writers. So…I guess I’ll offer a few tips? Just a few, very broad brush strokes, at least. Definitely not trying to be pretentious. But I this is one of the few areas where I feel I have some small say in the matter.
I’ll be using Spanish to give made-up examples, since it’s one of my languages of fluency as well as a frequent victim of misuse.
Try not to…
#1. Rely on stereotypical catch-phrases
“Well, amigos. It’s time for my siesta. Buenas noches!”
I don’t mean to be harsh, but this is lazy writing. Your seventh-grade Spanish class notes aren’t enough.
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