TranslationPunctuation Translation Punctuation YKTTW Discussion

Translation Punctuation
Use of nonstandard punctuation and/or formatting to indicate Translation Convention.
(permanent link) added: 2013-06-27 10:25:12 sponsor: StarSword (last reply: 2013-07-15 10:51:09)

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Took it to Lost and Found and checked Painting the Medium. This is mentioned under Translation Convention but doesn't appear to have its own trope yet.

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Above: Asurian. Below: English. Notice a difference?

In textual or partly textual works where characters speak other languages, the author may render them in the work's language so that the reader can understand them. However, when multiple languages are spoken thus, how do you tell which is which?

Some authors address this by using punctuation other than quote marks to indicate that characters are speaking a different language that is being dubbed as English. The various type of brackets are a frequent choice here (angle brackets < > are particularly common). Other options include using unusual formatting or all lowercase letters.

A word of caution to editors of this page: Be careful with your own formatting as some forms may be interpreted by TV Tropes as wiki markup rather than text. To be on the safe side, you may want to wrap quotations in the [= =] markup to prevent this.

A form of Painting the Medium.



[[folder:Comic Books]]
  • The Funny Animals in the Curtis/Husted Katmandu world use no marks when speaking in their native tongue. Square brackets indicate Plains, a lingua franca common to many Indian tribes. Angle brackets denote Trade, which is usually reserved for conversing with non-Indian settlers.
  • Angle brackets were used in some of the later ElfQuest comics to indicate the use of a language other than elvish. Earlier comics used different shaped word balloons instead.
  • Averted for one word in an issue of The Incredible Hulk which is focusing on the villains of the story, who are all Soviet agents. The standard < > is in use except for one Establishing Shot of the capital city, which is captioned "Moscova" along with a Note From Ed saying (paraphrased) "I know we're doing the Translation Convention thing, but it's their capital."

[[folder:Literature]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]] [[/folder]]

[[Folder: Visual Novels]]
  • Umineko: When They Cry: Depending on the language. The characters' native language is Japanese, and when a character is speaking in English or another language the dialogue will be written inside square brackets or angle brackets. This is used more in the author-endorsed fan patch by Witch Hunt than the original Japanese to avoid confusion about the dialogue.

[[folder:Webcomics]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
  • Languages that use clicks (most famously seen in the Bushmen of The Gods Must Be Crazy fame) usually represent them with a "!".

Indexes: Language Tropes, Painting the Medium, Sublime Rhyme, Text Tropes

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