…he said (ten lines later).

Quotation mark. Someone’s talking. Who is it? Wobbling on for a while. Okay, but who is it? More but from whom? Finally: closing quotation mark at the end of the paragraph and we learn who said it.

It goes like this:

  • “I must confess that I haven’t worked out what underpins this strange habit of your countrymen. It’s not something I’ve come across elsewhere with any great regularity. It can be quite frustrating for the reader, actually, you know. But such is life,” said Jeremy to Wietske.

“My recommendation,” added Mike unnecessarily, “is to get the speaker clear as soon as you reasonably can. But without a blunt introductory colon, by the way: that’s another Dutch habit that will be blogged upon in due course.”

Prevalence: moderate. Quite surprisingly high – and, for me at any rate, annoyingly so.
Frequency: moderate. Not all that many documents include representations of speech, but it’s a fairly common issue when they do.
Native: no. Although, as it’s a style point rather than a translation issue, it’s obviously a possibility.

Published by Mike Wilkinson

Twenty years of translating and editing Dutch into English, as well as writing and publishing in English.

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