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dianeP
08-22-2013, 04:47 AM
Hi, hello, bonjour et salut...

Against the advice of many, I've undertaken the enormous task of translating my book to French.
Among the numerous problems I'm having, there's the matter of punctuation, namely when it comes to dialogue, which is hugely different from English.
What I see in French books resembles this:
- There's a dash instead of quotation marks, he said.
- Except in some books where the first line of dialogue has quotation mark, she replied.
- When I try to write with these dashes, she went on to say, pressing enter automatically gives me another dash on the next line which I then have to back up to a regular indented paragraph.

Is there another way around this? Like a CTL ENTER, or something.

Thanks, and I welcome any other tips with regards to writing in French.

Merci et Au revoir!

Grenouille Bleue
08-22-2013, 11:33 AM
Hello,

There are indeed two ways to use punctuation in french. The old and the new one.

The "old", "correct" one is to use a quotation mark at the beginning and the end of a block of dialog, no matter how long.

I.e:

"I love you
- No you don't
- Yes I do
- Ok, I guess you do".

But this is slowly disappearing in favor of the dash stuff.

However, this is not per say a "dash", and that's the reason why you're having problems: it's called in french a "tiret cadratin".

- Here's a dash
— Here's a tiret cadratin.

In Word, you can make it appear with "ctrl + alt + - ".
Yeah, I know, that's not intuitive but that's the best I can give you, apart from saving it somewhere and copy/Pasting it.

Anyway, using cadratin is the correct way to write in french, and it also won't mess your Word. Hope that helps :D

dianeP
08-22-2013, 07:31 PM
Salut

Thanks for your answer. It brings me halfway where I want to go. I can now have that long dash... cadratin like you say, but this is what it now looks like (imagine the long dash)
My usual action, and every day tra-la-la of my characters,
start with an indented paragraph with subsequent lines
reverting back to the margin... like this. But...
- My dialogue is indented like all my paragraphs. That's okay.
However, all subsequent lines, by the same speaker, are also
indented.
- And, when the dialogue ends and I start a new paragraph...
-
I get the same indentation which I have to back up to erase, but even
then, all subsequent paragraphs remain within the indentation. I
don't know if this makes sense.


As it turns out I can't make my post appear as it does in my manuscript. Hopefully you'll understand what I mean anyway.
I appreciate your help.

SaraP
08-22-2013, 07:34 PM
The things you learn... :)

Medievalist
08-22-2013, 08:24 PM
The French tiret cadratin is the English n-dash.

Also note that it is possible in MS Word to use the French grammar checker and spelling dictionary, which should make your punctuation easier, and yes, you can do this on a document-by-document basis.

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word-help/change-the-language-format-of-text-HP005258559.aspx

Grenouille Bleue
08-22-2013, 08:30 PM
As it turns out I can't make my post appear as it does in my manuscript. Hopefully you'll understand what I mean anyway.
I appreciate your help.

Are you using Word ?
If so, you can go to File (upper left corner) then Options then Verification then Automatic Correct, and check off the box that makes the automatic indenture.

dianeP
08-22-2013, 09:07 PM
Great. That's what I was missing. I think I should be good now.

Thanks again!

Ken
08-22-2013, 11:52 PM
... dashed dialogue has actually been around for a long time.
Read an English novel pub'd in the forties that had dialogue
set off like that. No quotation marks at all.

Rjo
08-23-2013, 01:40 AM
My wife (who's French) translated my book, in hopes of finding a French publisher one of these days, and I know direct dialog was a lot different from English. It looks like Grenouille Bleue has you covered though. One other thing you might want to keep in mind is to put a space at the end of a sentence before a question and exclamation mark. Same thing for a colon. Par exemple :
Merde alors !
Pourquoi tu dis ça ?

Good luck with it.

dianeP
08-23-2013, 07:00 AM
My wife (who's French) translated my book, in hopes of finding a French publisher one of these days, and I know direct dialog was a lot different from English. It looks like Grenouille Bleue has you covered though. One other thing you might want to keep in mind is to put a space at the end of a sentence before a question and exclamation mark. Same thing for a colon. Par exemple :
Merde alors !
Pourquoi tu dis ça ?

Good luck with it.

Really? I didn't know that part. Then again there are a lot of parts I didn't know.
Like you said, dialogue is a whole lot different in French compared to English.