foreign language within english script

Discussion in 'Screenwriting' started by SailorSaint, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. SailorSaint

    SailorSaint Bronze Member

    hello, i was wondering what the proper format for is for using a language other then english within and english script, like if you use a few words and phrases in another language do you italicize them? i've looked through a few different scripts online and found it done a few different ways. thanks
  2. craktactor

    craktactor Moderator

  3. Samstheman

    Samstheman Bronze Member

    (French accent)
    Is this what you meant?
    (thick Afrikaner accent)
    It must be in plain English.
    (subtitled English)
    Buono dio. Come si dici, eh...
    (Good day. How do you say, eh...)

    It only has to state the accent the first time they speak.
    Hope this helps.
    Oh, and welcome to the Goldmine.

    A good example, however I would write it thus:

    "HENRI, a portly, moustachioed animated gentleman, French-accented with a penchant for berets and striped t-shirts enters..."

    "MUGAMI, 35, a thick-set, strong-jawed determined Afrikaaner and in the midst of his latter years..."

    Once you've introduced the character in full in the introduction no need to include their origin in the dialogue.

    If say ITALIAN MAN is bilingual and occasionaly switches from Italian to English throughout the script I would do thus:


    ITALIAN MAN enters and instantly recognises the tall pompous gentleman seated at the far end, facing the door and watchful of his fellow diners - an obvious amateur whose cover is already breaking. An overweight WOMAN in a bright red tight-fitting satin dress is seated directly in front of him.

    [in English]
    Good day to you Charles

    Charles's eyes dart nerviously about the room before finally settling on ITALIAN MAN. He offers up a nervous timid wave and immediately looks away. Upon hearing the greeting, the WOMAN gazes up and flashes an over enthusiastic wave over at the ITALIAN MAN. He regards her curiously - he doesnt' know her - but...

    [in Italian]
    Good morning.
  4. EvilRbt

    EvilRbt Bronze Member

    Always, put the dialogue in English and indicate the language in parentheses.

    The same applies to accents. For instance, if you're character is German simply indicate he has German-accented English. Don't start writing "Find zee detonators!" or "Shoot zee glass!"
  5. Golden post! I remember that Tarantino simply wrote lines in english, with the language specified just as you said.. so I suppose that's one way to do it.

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