For the past year I have been writing bilingual stories – es decir cuentos en español y en inglés … and I have come to a fork in the road – literalmente, un tenedor en la carretera o, mejor dicho, una disyuntiva: bilingual or embedded?
So, while bilingual enables me to write either in English or Spanish to my heart’s content – con el corazón alegre o, mejor dicho, tanto como quiera, when writing embedded stories I have to think about syntax, precise word choice and if the reader, non Spanish speaker, will understand the word(s).
So, I can write,using the embedded format:
Her favorite sweater was made of wool and kept her warm through the cold nights.
Her favorite sweater was made of lana and kept her warm during the cold nights.
So, as a non Spanish speaker can you figure it out? Could lana mean silk? leaves? or logically, wool?
On the other hand, most readers don’t want to work as they read. They will be expecting the full translation, at the bottom of the page: Su chompa favorita era de lana y la mantenía abrigada durante las noches frías.
Next time you are browsing through children’s books, go to the bilingual section and look, you will find both.
By the way, the use of chompa vs suéter is another story…