The new non-horror novel is moving right along. As I expected it’s super challenging and is really making me think about the use of almost every single word I use. The pacing is tricky in that there are a few “sub-chapters” and while I know how the story needs to flow, I’m still not quite sure how it needs to be structured.
More than that, this book takes place where 90% of the population speaks Spanish. And I do not speak Spanish. So I’ve been using Google Translator for initial help and eventually hope to hand the first draft to someone who is fluent in the language.
But that’s not the tricky part. The tricky part comes in the fact that the protagonist of the story is American. Three central characters that he comes into contact with speak absolutely no English. Now, I have somewhat fixed this by the inclusion of a translator (whom is also my source of comic relief) and have also found some pretty unique and creative ways to make his lengthier translations more enjoyable to read.
The problem I am having is how to write conversations between two Spanish-speaking characters without the translator. Of course, being that I write in the English language means that since the rest of the book is English (with the exception of a few phrases and very brief sentences), I assumed it would be okay to simply write their conversations in English.
But how do you do that, if other characters are speaking certain scenes in Spanish? Do you preface it with something like, “Speaking in Spanish, he continued…” or “The conversation continued, both speaking in Spanish…”?
Both approaches seem super cheesy and uncalled for. But despite the research and reading I have done on the topic, there doesn’t seem to be any real solution for it. I am happy with my solution for simple translations via the translator, but this one is tricky as hell. I have even tried stating early in the novel that a certain character does not speak a lick of English, assuming that the reader would understand that when they read him speaking in English, it’s me, as the writer, making the translation to English.
It’s all very confusing.
Has anyone experienced this in their own writing? If so, how did you approach it?