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Forum > Webcomic & Art discussion > I dun goofed (now how do I fix it?)
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"I dun goofed (now how do I fix it?)", 10th May 2012, 7:21 PM #1
Dodom♀

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Ok, part of my comic relies on certain characters not being able to communicate effectively enough to realise that the others know things they'd have interest in knowing.
The city people and a small minority of island tribes speak one language, and the rest of the island tribes speak a family of dialects close enough to sound alike. (there are other countries in that world but the story doesn't reach very far geographically)
What I did so far was to have the main characters' language rendered in English only, and when there's enough non-english speech to be frustrating to read, write a translation below; I expected this not to happen too often and so be tolerable.
Well it turns out that it was a stupid idea.
I meant not to give the reader too much information that the characters don't have so they can find out together, but it doesn't work. There are scenes that the main characters don't see, but are still part of the chain of events that will lead to the ending and have to be shown not to end up looking like a lame plot hole. And if they're shown, why the characters in them act the way they do also needs to make sense, and hearing what they say is pretty much the most efficient way to show what's in their head.

The comic is still short enough that creeping up the archive and changing the faulty episodes is reasonable, but I'm not sure how I should change it.
I have been given suggestions on how to represent foreign text, but I've read many comics in my day and I never met a form that I liked. I still have to pick one:

A- I know for certain that I won't write gibberish in the balloons and a translation in a box at the bottom of the panel. That's just atrocious. If it was TV, then a subtitle would be acceptable, but this isn't TV. My translation under the comic is sort of a variant on this but I only put up with it because it was supposed to be rare.

B- With how many authors use different fonts just for different types of voice, characters or tones, I think the different font option is burned by now.

C- I think the use of brackets works, <This is reminding that there's something up with that text enough to remember oh yeah he speaks a funny dialect> but it's also unsightly, breaks the rythm and if a character is murdering a second language "Je aime you beaucoup -> <I love> you <a lot>" it's outright bizarre.

D- Text a different colour. I think it would look off on a black and white comic, but for now that's the solution I dislike least. I'd pick it dark and not too saturated, not to clash with the rest.

E- Is there another way?

So, there's none of those that I really like. I hate D least, but "the option I hate least" is a rather weak preference. I'd like opinions on this; I may or may not go with the majority, but knowing what said majority prefers certainly can't hurt.
Please, I'd like enough responses to get a feel of what people think about it in general, so if you don't feel like typing a whole answer, just posting the letter matching your favourite solution would be enough to help. (but you CAN tell more if that's what you want!)

Thank you!
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"launguages ..", 10th May 2012, 7:28 PM #2
Centcomm♀

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i have several in my comics , my "editor" and co-hort came up with some good ideas , i have mechanical voices, diffrent languages and so on . like one of them is a form of latin - so i simply type it up feed it to a translator then add the text below with a ** or some such for another witch is "speed-speak" a highly compressed andriod launguage she added a faint "11001010101011" texture behind the text and chose a very techy font , diffrent fonts work too , keep them readable but diffrent .. check mine out if you want ideas ..
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10th May 2012, 7:31 PM #3
mushroomisland♀

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1. different shapes of dialogue boxes. That's another way. (rounded square, and then ovals) but this only works if there' 2 or 3 languages, max. Or else it will look like random shapes all over the comic.


2. shade the dialogue boxes with light shade of grey.(also only works for having few languages)It won't be an obnoxious colorful color in a black/white comic.
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10th May 2012, 8:32 PM #4
RyoshiMicchi♂

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You could use different shades of gray instead of colours, that is as long as it is still readable and there aren't too many languages.

EDIT or adding a faint texture to the speech ballon.
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11th May 2012, 11:40 AM #5
Dodom♀

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Thanks everyone!

The background thing is a nice idea, but I don't think it would fit well with line art. Grey text would indeed fit better, but after checking out Centcomm's comic, I think I actually need it to be more striking; I really wouldn't have assumed that there were multiple languages in that comic if I hadn't been told ahead, so now I want a very clear distinction: "This means THIS and this means THAT. They are not alike."

I think I'll write it in dark green. I just happen to see it in that colour in my head. If readers complain about putting colour with black and white, it'll just take a few seconds to apply a greyscale filter to turn green into grey.
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11th May 2012, 11:50 AM #6
Centcomm♀

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well theres currently only two languages - Roma .. and "standard" ( english ) in the comic , the andriod speech is just a odd tone to the voice .. subtle , thats why it was suppose to be subtle :)

hope that helped some ..
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11th May 2012, 2:01 PM #7
KingRandom♂

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You could try writing what appears to be gibberish but, when read aloud, sounds like English- the Arumbayas in Tintin speak (in the English editions) what looks like nonsense, but sounds like english in a cockney accent; see this
For example:
Ridgewell: Sum in 'ksp wivit!
English: Something's up with it!
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Forum > Webcomic & Art discussion > I dun goofed (now how do I fix it?)
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