How to write a scenario case Study 6

Comment rédiger un scénario Etude de cas 6

Case study 6

How to write a scenario


How to write a storyline when the characters speak in a foreign language.

This week, one of you asked me a seemingly simple question about the scenario that he wrote at this time. His story is about illegal. Here it is :

– Like the foreigners speak Russian and they are facing the French, But the russians speak Russian (logical)! In this case, for each dialogue of a Russian, do I have to write the French translation below ?

– Or put in the description that the protagonist does not speak only Russian?

– Or to put it into French dialogues, and then the Russian translation below it, or elsewhere ?

Why I say simple in appearance ?

Because my answer was the following :

It is better to put the words ( in Russian or the language of your choice) next to the first name or the name of your character, and the dialogue below in French.

Boris (in Russian)

te voila finally !

To tell you the true this answer is not false but without knowing why, I asked myself, if at the time or I was looking for this kind of answer, that to me would have been sufficient.

It may seem bizarre to you but the purpose of this site and meet many of you. By this I mean that I try to answer you as I would have liked someone to do for me, 15 years ago.

Let’s go back to my answer : Make them speak one or more characters in a foreign language may have several purposes, but be aware that the presentation is always the same.

Example :


Sequence 1 : Ext – Street/JFK Airport – Day

Two young girls (Louane and Jane) come out through the automatic doors. They take two huge suitcases with wheels.

A man comes to meet them.

Man (in English)

And hi girls ! Need a driver ?

Louane (in English)

No thank you, but we expect someone


You’ll see that it will not let go of us…we can feel the tourists, full nose


So that is the presentation to use. Not need to know Russian, English or chinese to write the dialogues. It was therefore necessary to clarify the language next to the name of your character so that the reader (producer) will know that at the time of filming this character, speak this or that language.

In this example, we impress on the reader that Louane includes the English language. Of course, during the projection of the dialogues in English will be subtitled.


ATTENTION : If your scenario is designed for the american market or the chinese, you need to write in the language of the country or to translate your scenario.

This response is incomplete because this presentation can vary according to what you want to tell. In fact, sometimes for the needs of your story, of your framing, or elements that you want to give to the spectators, you can change the presentation view at the top.

Take the example of Louane and Jeanne.

Sequence 1 : Ext – Street/JFK Airport – Day


Hey Girls what’s up ? need a driver ?


Uh… hi….(to Jane) I understand nothing…


You’ll see that it will not let go of us…we can feel the tourists, full nose


In this example, the dialog is in English. Although during the projection it will be sub-titled, the fact of writing in English to inform the reader that Louane and Jane does not speak this language. Because of this, there is no need to put next to the name of the character who does not speak French, the language in which he expresses himself, because the dialogue in itself is not the most important. What a bonus, that is, information that specifies that Louane and Jane does not speak English. This can be for the rest of the story a hurdle to overcome. On the other hand the sub-title, at the screening, give information to viewers that the protagonist will not have (even if what the man said does not matter in the example).

Sometimes, it is possible to put the spectator and the reader to the same level as the hero. It is true that this process is a bit frustrating for the viewer (at least this is what I feel when I look at a film that uses this process).

Let’s imagine that Louane and Jeanne arrive at the Moscow airport (domodedovo).

Sequence 1 : Ext – Street/Airport Domodedovo/Moscow – Day

Two young girls (Louane and Jane) come out through the automatic doors. They take two huge suitcases with wheels.

Two men look at young girls who stop beside the two.

Jeanne, look into the eyes of the first man, he smiles and turns to his friend.

Man 1

Ona Frantsuzsky (Russian, not translated)

Man 2 (in Russian, not translated)

Ochen khoroshiy droog

The two men laugh. Jeanne supports the next.


They may not speak French here ?! Or English ! Or a normal language !


If it falls, it will speak the time….you do not film…and stops to watch, you’ll get us killed !

Here, we purposely write in the language of the country (Russian) without giving information to the reader of what the two men say they are. During the projection no subtitle will be displayed. Once again, here what is said is not the most important. This technical story helps put a little tension , but mostly used for identification and /or empathy with the characters. It also has the purpose of make it uncomfortable to the viewer.

Of course these techniques can be transformed to the infinite according to the situations in which you need for your story.

Attention however to the fact that your character needs information to move forward. If you do move in a country where he can control neither the language nor the codes, he will have to get help or learn how to master…

It is also what serves as the mentor to the hero’s journey for example.

I always try to be as clear as possible in my explanations but if you have any questions on how to write a scenario , please do not hesitate to leave me a little message. You can return to the site map by clicking on the link to read the previous articles on the presentation of a scenario.

If you liked this article, the best way to tell me that it is to click the “Like” button at the top of the article.


Tom W.

Category: Uncategorized

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