So, I’ve seen this problem when people want to write characters from a culture other than their own:
- They know that those characters speak a different…
I’m struggling with this in writing Winning Streak, because as a native English speaker trying to make my main character a native Spanish speaker, I’m sort of treading a fine line between othering and being true to the dialect. So what I’ve done is some research with Latino/a writers who write for mostly English-speaking audiences but maintain some of their Spanish, especially Junot Diaz (imo, the expert on this), and come to the conclusion that having my heroine teach her best friend and her boss some Spanish for daily conversation was the best/truest way to convey what she was saying without giving it a “look, this is Spanish! isn’t it exotic and pretty?” feel.
Two more problems about writing dialects phonetically:
1) It only works for people with your same dialect - others will read it differently because they read what you’re writing with different phonetics.
2) Non-native speakers may not be able to understand it. My sisters and I (Spaniards) could kindasorta read Harry Potter in English by the time the 5th came out, but we could never understand Hagrid. Not even reading it aloud, because a) we read it differently (see point 1) and b) we didn’t understand the “accent.”
TL;DR please make your writing accessible and non-racist please.