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Translation Convention / Fanfiction

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The Translation Convention in fanfiction.


  • In Aeon Entelechy Evangelion, the use of untranslated nazzadi language is increased, but thankfully it can be understood from context.
  • In Aeon Natum Engel, it's established that the official written language is the reformed-english, but we otherwise see anything that is written (computers screen's, Rei's notes) as normal english. Also the Migou conversations are translated for our benefit. Almost everything else is untranslated, from German to R'lyan. Most evident in chapter 15b, where Loyalist Nazzadi are speaking in their native language.
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  • In A New World: Story of a lost Shinobi, everyone's speech is in English, at least from our perspective. However when Naruto lands in Earthland, he is The Unintelligible (implied to be speaking Japanese). Levi manages to start working on making a dictionary for him via rune magic (the runes hear what he says and try to find the closest word that fits) and Naruto spams dozens of clones to either study with her or listen to everyone talk and work out the language. At first all he talks in is broken English, but by the time he can speak "Earthland", he's already crammed 3-4 years worth of studying the language thanks to clones and Levi's dictionary.
  • Chapter four of Bait and Switch (STO) has a conversation between two Bajoran characters that is written in English but stated to be in Kendran dialect.
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  • Besides the Will of Evil: The language spoken by the main characters is specifically stated to be its own language, Equestrian, translated into English. This includes character and place names, which are "translated" from their in-universe "real" forms to give the same impression in English as they'd give in Equestrian. Likewise, the languages and names of the red deer, mule deer, whitetails and elk are presented as the Romance languages (respectively Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and French) and those of the caribou and moose as Dutch and German in order to give an idea of their linguistic relation to each other. Laewtil, the language the deer constructed for common use among each other, is represented by Quenya, one of the languages of J. R. R. Tolkien's elves, interspersed with some Sindarin words. The author specifically references Tolkien's use of this same trope in The Lord of the Rings as inspiration.
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  • The Sheikah language in Blind Courage is Arabic, while Hylians use English. Gerudo also speak a different tongue from Hylians, but it's not emphasised.
  • In Chrysalis Visits The Hague, whenever ponies speak Equestrian (which sounds unintelligible to humans), it's reciprocated in normal English, occasionally in italics.
  • Code: Pony Evolution has a strange one. Since the story takes place in France, all the French is translated to English. However, "Fancy" is translated into... French.
  • Justified in A Crown of Stars as everyone is using some sort of alien universal translator.
  • In Death Note II: The Hidden Note: The characters in the first two and a half chapters are assumed to be speaking Japanese.
  • A.A. Pessimal uses this trick in his Discworld fics. Where Rimwards Howondalandian characters appear, if they are in a context where they are speaking Morporkian (English), their spoken words are rendered with a distinct accent - marked by a convention where most instances of the vowel "a" are replaced with "e", a representation of the quirk in South African English that tends to flatten vowels. (The author accepts that to try to do this consistently with every quirk of South African accents would be impractical - this serves to illustrate the convention). Some White Howondalandian characters, not at home with the language, might also speak Morporkian in a way that reflects the way Vondalaans (Afrikaans) constructs sentences, possibly with an ocassional justnow or shame or ja-nie thrown in where appropriate. When speaking Vondalaans, however, their speech is presented as if it were perfectly normal English (Except where a Morporkian or other character is listening who does not understand what they are saying, when it becomes Afrikaans). Phrases like jou bliksem! are perfectly understood, however. Some concepts are universal.
  • Dominus Anulorum, a Latin language fanfilm of The Lord of the Rings uses English to represent elvish, leading Gandalf to open the gates of Moria by saying "Friend" in English.
  • Several subtly different variants on this trope are employed in The Dragon King's Temple. When we're in the perspective of the SG-1 characters, English is rendered as English while Asyuntian is rendered as phonetically transliterated Japanese (not because Asyuntian actually is Japanese, or even related to it in any meaningful way, but simply because the author spoke Japanese well enough to play games with it and had neither the time nor the talent to create an entirely new language a la Tolkien). When we're in the perspective of the Asyuntian characters, however, Asyuntian is rendered as English while English is phonetically transliterated according to "Asyuntian" rules of pronunciation (since the Asyuntians don't speak English).
  • In Fledglings, despite the use of real-world languages, according to Word of God they're merely being translated as Earth languages partially for ease of comprehension, partially to hint at their connection to the old world.
  • A Force of Four: Badra is an alien woman from Hator, and her three allies Kizo, Mala and U-Ban are Kryptonians. Yet still, all of their conversations are rendered in English.
  • Fractured, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands crossover becomes this once Translator Microbes are developed. Speech from asari, batarian, salarian, et. al. (which were specifically noted to be incomprehensible by the Trans-Galactic Republic) is always rendered in English, but only after the Translator Microbes is it noted that the newcomers also understand what is being said. Linguistic barriers are not mentioned again.
  • A metaphorical use in From Bajor to the Black, where the author uses US Marine Corps lingo as a translation convention for the Bajoran Militia, to draw a contrast with the Navy-influenced Federation Starfleet. The author's notes cite the trope by name (the author is a troper).
  • In From Behind Bars, "lion-Latin" is the Classical Tongue of lions. It's actually Swahili. All the Animal Talk is also translated into English.
  • Harmony Theory: There are at least three languages in the fic. All three are represented by English in the fic. A switch in languages is represented by writing the language which is spoken less in that scene italics.
  • Hellsister Trilogy: In the 31st century the galaxy's common language appears to be English, at least from the reader's perspective.
  • I've Got Your Back depicts Octarians as speaking Yoruba and Inklings as speaking English.
  • Kara of Rokyn's main setting is Rokyn, a world settled by Kryptonian refugees. And still their speech is always rendered in English.
  • In A Prize For Three Empires, alien speech is always rendered in English, even when aliens from different races are speaking with each other.
  • Used in chapter 3 of Racer and the Geek. As it turns out, Telny and Keffiyeh were holding a conversation in a language other than Equestrian, as revealed by Goggles asking Telny what language he was using. It is later revealed to be Zebrische, which is the zebra language and spoken in Zebricy. This is a massive plot point.
  • Characters in RWBY: Scars speak Common Tongue, which is seemingly English. The native tongue's of the kingdoms are other real world languages, such as Old Atlesian being German.
  • All the characters in Warriors of the World speak using a Common Tongue called New Runic. The entire fanfic is in English.
  • The Servants of Ungoliant: Ungoliant's minions speak three languages: Renorin (the Common Tongue of the inhabitants of Mórenorë), Gongon (the language of the Gongs), and a third language generally known as Melkoric (a language primarily spoken by the creatures of Melkor, hence the name), when communicating with each other. The latter is the one that is translated to English for the audience's sake, since it is the language that is the most univerally used.

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