Any bilingual magicians out there?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Theris, Jun 21, 2017.

  1. Yo everyone!

    So I'm fluent in both English and my native language.

    Most people around me speak English and the videos I watch of magicians performing and/ or teaching are also in English. A direct consequence of this is that the patter I've created and my persona (while performing magic) are all in English.

    The troublesome part is while performing to most people ( ie outside my friends and family circle) I feel it would be better to switch to language B as they may either not understand English or understand it with effort. The latter also tend to find it ostentatious to have some one talk in English to them throughout.

    Either way it's not natural.

    When I talk in my native language however I struggle to do so while performing a trick since I haven't really practiced any patter. More often then not I find myself mentally translating my normal English routine which doesn't end up in a smooth flow.

    Anyone have any advice for me?

    I should add that my English patter is not really a memorised bunch of lines. All I have is an idea of the general tone of the trick and a few impactful sentences and I make up the rest as I go along. However this technique doesn't seem to work with language B...
  2. Practice the patter in your Native Language?
    I've tried to perform for my family in my native language and it is definitely hard. However, developing an equal patter in your native language may help.
    Personally, the only people I perform to who speak my native language are almost 100% my family, so I practice and perform in English. But when I visit my ethnically native country, I sometimes end up performing in my native language.
    Good luck!
    Theris likes this.
  3. I've only recently returned to magic but have to do it in my second language. It's quite fun because it's not perfect and people find it strange to hear an Englishman speaking Italian here so it's got a bit of novelty value which helps break the ice a bit. Plus I make a point of asking for help translating certain card-related terms as a form of distraction.

    You're right though, my patter in English isn't as good. In my head I practise it in Italian but since my audience is mainly Italian it works ok.
    Theris likes this.
  4. You are right about practicing. Somehow I'm uncomfortable in speaking entirely in my native language.
    I guess I'll have to work on making it sound more natural...

    Alternatively NinoIng's idea is a great one too.

    I really hadn't considered using your awkwardness while speaking as a novelty value. Asking for a translation while performing is a great misdirection tip but I'm afraid I'll be scoffed at if I do that.

    Thanks for your ideas. They're certainly something to think about
  5. I agree. What you could do, though, is make [little] joke about it by saying, "This is called _____________ in English!"
    Theris likes this.
  6. Another good idea but unfortunately not possible in my case.
    My audience does know English (from school) but aren't fluent enough to enjoy a performance in complete English since they don't normally use it for every day purposes.

    However they know enough to feel irritated and find me condescending if I try to tell them what sth is in English.

    It's either a huffy I know what that means in English
    Or worse I get hostility and you aren't better than us just because you know another language
  7. I haven't had too much experience with performing in another language, but last summer, when I was on a cruise in the Mediterranean, I had an experience I'll never forget. The cruise was filled with people of basically ethnicity and background - seeing as it was going through Europe. So, the whole group of people around my age was multicultural and multiethnic - conversations kinda just switched from language to language... it was SO COOL!

    I had the chance to perform for a lot of the people on the cruise, but I remember specifically at one point going up to some people who spoke no English, only Spanish. I'm not a fluent Spanish speaker, although I do study a lot at school and know a fair amount. But, when I went up to perform for them words just came out of my mouth, and I have no idea where they came from. I just kept going in Spanish saying things I didn't remember knowing, but were the right words to say. Literally, if you just go all out, language is not a barrier through the medium of magic. There are many notable magicians who don't even speak during their act, so if you don't let it, language won't get in the way.
    Theris and Maaz Hasan like this.
  8. Hey man, if teller can perform his whole college career without talking, I'm sure you'll find a way.
    Theris and ParkinT like this.

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