Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Writing Wednesdays: Incorporating a Foreign Language

The good news is I'm finally getting into my "Russia Book," as I've been calling it. The bad news is I have to choose between spending my few free writing hours blogging or writing fiction. Today, I'm choosing fiction.

BUT I had a link I wanted to share, because I found this article regarding incorporating a foreign language into a novel really helpful. See, the Russia Book is multi-cultural. My MC is a half-Japanese-American, half-Russian teenager who was raised by her Russian grandparents and her Japanese-American father. And because the novel is set in Russia, and because my MC practices kenjutsu (Japanese sword fighting, to generalize), I'm incorporating some Russian and some Japanese words.

Unfortunately, it's sometimes easier said than done. On the one hand, you don't want to put in a bunch of text without translating it, because that's just damned annoying. On the other hand, repeating everything in English is a pain in the butt. Fortunately, there are ways around these two crap options. But it takes skill to do it gracefully (just like everything else in this crazy writing world). If anyone has any thoughts on the subject, please share in the comments. In the meantime, happy writing!


Rachel Schieffelbein said...

Wow, that's great. I don't think I could skillfully include a foreign language. Hats off to you!

Sarah said...

Hi! I found your blog several months ago when my spouse passed the OA and I was curious about the FS lifestyle. He is currently in A-100 and our flag day is on Friday! Anyway, as it turns out, you and I have very similar taste in books. I don't know if you have read it yet but I recently read 'Shadow and Bone' by Leigh Bardugo and really enjoyed it. I felt like the author did an excellent job of incorporating Russian words and culture in a way that was easy to understand.

Mara Rae said...

Thanks Rachel! We'll see if I manage to pull it off. :)

Sarah! Yes! I just wrote about it a week or two ago actually. I looooooved Shadow and Bone. One of my fave books in the past year. She did an amazing job. I'm incredibly jealous.
Good luck on Friday! I hope you get somewhere awesome :) Let me know when you find out!