I’ve just finished proofreading and copy-editing another script written in English by a non-native speaker, this time a theatrical piece by a Swiss playwright. The original text was in French, and there is always a difficulty in
translating idiomatic dialogue from one language to another. If you translated ‘It’s raining cats and dogs’ word for word into French, for example, it would be absolutely meaningless to a Francophone. (The equivalent French idiom is ‘It’s raining spear-points’.) So there were some knotty issues with understanding what the author wanted to say originally, viewing the English translation, and then fine-tuning those phrases into acceptable vernacular English,
but a peek at the original French text helped work things out.
I should also say that, despite the author being a native Francophone, the proofread of the English script
uncovered fewer mistakes of spelling, grammar and punctuation than I see in the average script written by a native English speaker. Go, as the Americans are wont to say, figure.
This job is the latest in a line of proofreading / copy-editing jobs I’ve been doing for European scriptwriters, with
recent examples stretching from France and Scandinavia to Hungary. Which is, of course, most excellent.