Writing ASL

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  • Writing ASL

    Hi all,
    I hope everyone here is well and keeping their sanity during this weird time in our world.
    My question today is... when writing dialog for a character that uses American Sign Language how would that look?

    I have started a new script during this downtime that has a character, who can hear, but uses ASL some of the time.
    Would I need to put "using American Sign Language" in parentheses under their name when writing their dialog?
    Would I need to do that for each time?
    Is there a better way?

    This character talks part of the time and uses ASL part of the time throughout the story.
    I haven't yet looked up any screenplays that have ASL in it, like Children of a Lesser God-but I plan to soon.

    Apologies if this topic has be discussed before.

  • #2
    This is pretty much what I would have suggested before even seeing it, but I'll do a link to save typing and give credit to John. I don't think italics is truly necessary but a nice enough touch and reminder each time:

    https://johnaugust.com/2009/how-to-i...-sign-language
    Will
    Done Deal Pro
    www.donedealpro.com

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Done Deal Pro View Post
      This is pretty much what I would have suggested before even seeing it, but I'll do a link to save typing and give credit to John. I don't think italics is truly necessary but a nice enough touch and reminder each time:

      https://johnaugust.com/2009/how-to-i...-sign-language
      Thank you for the response and link. It is very helpful.

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      • #4
        I also liked John August's answer to the question of how to handle sign language.

        The italics do add a nice touch to the silent dialogue conveyed through sign language.

        I noticed, however, that John only used the parenthetical (signing) initially, then omitted it for subsequent dialogue in italics.

        Personally, I would use the parenthetical every time. This will not add much to the physical length of the script unless you have a huge number of instances of signing. But if you do not want to do it that way, you can include an initial note to explain that a particular character's dialogue, when it is in italics, represents signing.

        "The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." - ComicBent.

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