Monday, July 25, 2011

How do you say that name?

Here’s something nifty I just figured out how to do! People are always asking me how to pronounce the names of characters in my books. (What do you mean? Rousillon? What’s hard about that? ;-) )

Well guess what? I’ve found out that Google Translate is good for more than just translating a word from another language into French, and vice versa. You can actually type a proper NAME in and get both the English and French pronunciations. I tried it with a few of my characters and it’s pretty cool!

Well, I would say that, being the author, now wouldn’t I? But if you’ve ever wondered how to pronounce any of my characters’ names, here’s your chance to find out. Click on this link to Google Translate. (Hmm. Be careful. If you type in the words “”, something else comes up that my virus software blocks. Apparently you have to type the words backwards, to get to the right site. So be careful!)

Okay, once you’re on Google Translate, set the “From” box to “French.” After all, my characters are French, so that’s the language they would be speaking. (Happily, I translated their story into modern English to pass it on to you. ;-) ) You can set the “To” box to English if you want, but I must worn you that some of the names will come out terribly mispronounced in English. (Like Clothilde. Even in English, the “th” would make a “t” sound, but the English translator doesn’t appear to know that.)

Next, copy and paste any of the character names below into the French box. When you do, a “Listen” box will appear below. (If it doesn’t, go ahead and set the “To” column to English to make the “Listen” boxes come up.) Now click on the “Listen” box below the French column to hear the French pronunciation for each name.

Cool, huh?

For Siriol (Siri) de Calendri and Lucianna Fabio, you can set the French or English column to Italian, if you’d like to hear their names pronounced in their native tongue.

You can also split up the names and insert just the first or last name into the boxes, if you’d like to hear them separately. (Sometimes the translator speaks so fast, the names all run together, so it helps to split them up.)

Given some of the errors in the English translations, I can’t vouch for how universally accurate the French pronunciations will be, but they’ll give you a good idea.

In the end, of course, feel free to pronounce the names any way that make the characters come alive to you. I admit that even I sometimes have my own pronunciations in my head for some of my characters. Just call it author’s license. J

But for a bit of fun, here are some of the characters from Loyalty’s Web and Illuminations of the Heart (in no particular order). Copy, paste, and click away.

Heléne de Laurant
Hugh de Bury
Clothilde de Merval
Triston de Brielle
Etienne de Brielle (another bad English pronunciation)
Therri de Laurant
Aumary de Laurant
Gwenllian de Laurant (you can set this one to translate her first name into a Welsh pronunciation, too, but it’s a man’s voice and sounds odd)
Garoux de Rousillon
Siriol (Siri) de Calendri
Lucianna Fabio
Raynor de Molinet
Fauke de Vaumâle
Acelet de Cary
(Sir) Balduin
Simon Geraud
Ceridwen (French to Welsh)
Eluned (French to Welsh)

Did I leave anyone out? Probably. But by now, you know how it works, so go ahead and fill in the blanks on your own.

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