dhobikikutti: earthen diya (Default)
Dhobi Ki Kutti ([personal profile] dhobikikutti) wrote in [community profile] forkedtongues2010-07-25 03:45 pm

Post on writing fanfiction in English for a source not in English

[personal profile] raven had this to say:
A little while back [personal profile] gavagai asked me for a bit of fic: Komal/Preeti, from Chak De! India, or something about Garak and Mila from Deep Space Nine. Chak De! India - I've written about it at greater length here, but in short: it's a marvellous film about the Indian women's hockey team, and their rise to meteoric stardom. I have much love for it.

Anyway, I found both ideas equally possible, so while I've never written for the fandom, I opened up a blank document to have a bash at it.

...and then stopped and thought, huh. The problem - CDI is in Hindi. And for me, fanfiction is about voices - it's about hearing those characters' voices in your head. Sometimes it's about other things, sometimes it's about a plot or a mood or a particular thematic study, but when I sit down to write a fic for someone else at the tip of a hat, it's about seeing if I can evoke the source material for that person.

And, well. How to write it? I couldn't write a story about them with them speaking in English. They don't - they're Indian women, they're Hindi speakers. I couldn't write about them in Hindi I think. Perhaps I could, with a great deal of time and patience. (I wonder - is a feel for language language-locked, like software to an operating system? One day I plan to learn enough of my native tongue to find out.)

But even if I could have written about them in Hindi, that would be no use to [personal profile] gavagai. And while I could possibly have written them in English with only the dialogue in Hindi, footnoted, that strikes me as messy.

I do wonder, also, if the matter is complicated by the fact that I am, myself, a Hindi speaker. If I didn't speak a word of the language, would that help? Could I, say, write Amelie fic in English? (Let us please put aside my incredibly limited French.) Might it also help if the subtitles for CDI were not so incredibly, laughably, hilariously awful, and were written in such a way to convey a "feel" for each speaker? I don't know.

I really don't know, and I'm not writing this to lead up to any particular conclusion. I'm just wondering if you all have any thoughts on the matter. I mean, people writing fic in English for anime and manga fandoms have surely hit this problem before, and I'm sure people wrote fic for Chak De! India itself a couple of yuletides ago. I'm just wondering.


How have you all dealt with translative fanfic?

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