Gibberish/unreadable text?

For my story, the player has the option not to understand the language a character is speaking. I thought it would be fun to replace his lines with gibberish. Any ideas on how to accomplish this? Some type of Unicode gibberish generator? Also tips on how to code this, since it’s optional.

Thanks for any advice! <3

The easiest way I can think of is to use multireplace with unicode symbols

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Please don’t do this. Especially if the character is speaking an actual human language. Languages we don’t understand aren’t gibberish, they’re sophisticated communication and deserve to be treated with respect.


Hi! Actually, the character is speaking “English” (actually a non-existing fantasy human language). The player character is something of a “fish out of water” so I wanted the option to not understand. If it were an actual language then of course my problem would be solved. I don’t understand what the problem is as long as it’s not an existing language though? I know languages are much more complex than just encoding an existing one (I speak 4…), but I am not Tolkien and don’t trust my ability to create an entire linguistically accurate one, so it’ll have to do…

Or do you mean it’s disrespectful to borrow unicode from existing languages and mix them? Of course I’m not planning on just borrowing say, the Cyrillic alphabet, and writing stuff in it as if it was English and calling it a day, but borrow too much from it and it might start to seem like that’s what happened. Hmm. You might have a point there. I’ll try to exclude those unicode symbols as much as possible.

I suppose that makes sense, and I don’t mind so much if it’s not a real language. Still, depending on how many lines of dialogue you’re planning to use, it might be better to come up with something that looks as if it could be a real language at least. You don’t have to be Tolkien to do that.

As far as how to actually implement it? It could be done with *if statements, but I agree with @Loudbeat that multireplace would be best. If you want to see how another author has handled a similar situation, check out the code for Teahouse of the Gods, in which portions of the dialogue may appear in either English or Chinese.


Yep, otherwise it’ll look ridiculous. I guess I could always just write in Dutch or something (and if the reader also speaks it, then too bad for them, they’ll just understand what’s going on). Here’s what I’ve come up with until now (WIP). It’s mostly IPA (International Phonectics Alphabet, so not a language) mixed with one or two greek letters.

ρƀı ʞɘɱɱ ɓɾɵωɳ ɱɵρρɘɗ ɵʋɘɼ ɛʌɓɛɾ ɵʋɘɼ ɻɵʝ

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That makes sense, thanks! I’ll have to work with if statements also since for some stuff (I am actually expecting most stuff…) this won’t be enough.

@AletheiaKnights thanks for your suggestion and insight. :slight_smile: I’ll check out Teahouse of the Gods.


You’re very welcome. I think using IPA is a good idea.

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Slightly off topic. But the reason I wanted to implement this was because I thought it would be interesting to explore what it’s like to be in that situation of not understanding what everyone is saying. I’ve been in situations like that. It’s interesting how much communication is done not through our actual words but through non-verbal cues/tone of voice/etc. And it’s also fascinating how quickly you start to pick up words. Communication happens very differently in such cases which is why I think I’ll mostly have to use if statements in the end.

I have another WIP (a longer one, this particular question is for a short story) where many characters speak Spanish, and I was thinking how to deal with that. Honestly I was really stoked that I understood everything Ortega would mumble about in Fallen Hero, even if my character didn’t. I was thinking of having some type of “I, the reader, speak Spanish.” option but I’m still mulling that over.


I had a similar scenario where the main character hears a somewhat distant conversation and, depending on some stats, you can hear the full conversation, some of it, or almost nothing. I stripped pieces of the conversation or words away and filled up the space with underscores to let the player know there was unintelligible noise there. That lets the reader have some information but it leaves place to the interpretation they would manage to make, if any.

Having a conversation with someone speaking a foreigner language is different though. Maybe it is possible to just say you don’t understand anything of it but make more emphasis on the corporal and facial expressions to give the reader a little more information about that (according to the amount of expression said character has)


You can’t understand what he’s saying. It’s gibberish.

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If you wanted to do a bit more work but get something translatable, there are generators for that.
Like Vulgarlang, which I’m most familiar with. This tumblr post has a resource list for anyone interested.

And if you just need some tools to generate words this site has some more links.

There’s also a conlang discord but that might be a bit too much if all you want is a few sentences.

I don’t know how helpful this is for what you want.
I am just rather fond of languages and conlanging, even if I’m not actively creating as often as I’d like.

Hope there’s something useful for someone here, anyway.

Edit: if you know that already, you can of course freely ignore this post. :sweat_smile:

Edit2: if I don’t answer or react, it’s because I’m asleep. It’s getting kind of late here but this is such a fun topic for me that I couldn’t resist. I wish you good luck with your project :heavy_heart_exclamation:


Hi! Thanks so much for those resources, I’ll check them out tonight. You might tempt me to try and pull a Tolkien after all :stuck_out_tongue: I’ll try and post my updated mini conlang here when I’m done with it.

Until now I’ve just written a simple encoding script so I can type any phrase with the latin alphabet and get something that visually looks like a language, it also has different symbols for capital letters. For example “Thank you so much Sanadi for your advice.” would be: “Ƣƀɚʌω ɼɘɵ ɱɘ ʂɵƙƀ Ơɚʌɚơɽ ʞɘʉ ɼɘɵʉ ɚơơɽƙı” It looks language-ish but can be improved (for example that “ʌω” looks awkward). I’ll have to play around with which symbols to use so it looks more cohesive. It’s probably worth it to put some more effort since this is spoken by a main character that is there for the entire (short) story. Even though players might not even choose this option and might choose for their character to be fluent instead.

I agree it’s fascinating. At some point I thought about studying linguistics and tried to learn Esperanto lol. I can talk about linguistic differences and what they mean culturally for hours.

edit: I scrolled back and my encoded stuff looks so much worse than the little snippet I posted before. :,) wish me luck

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hah. :stuck_out_tongue: yeah, that works. The thing is that a) there are quite a lot of lines and b) even when you don’t understand a language, you can still gain information from hearing it. For example after a while you might notice a word gets repeated a lot in a certain context. How long was the person talking? (Was it just a phrase or did he explain something in length?). Usually you can tell if something is a question also, even without understanding the language. So for example seeing: “Ɣɘʋ ɚʉı ɼɘɵ?” tells you the person is asking a short question. You could also write “He says something you don’t understand, it’s fast and sounds like a question.”, but I thought it would be more immersive to do it this way. But I guess the most important reason is c) I think this way is more fun :wink:

I’m glad you found it helpful. :blush: I’ll keep an eye out for your work.
It looks like you put a lot of thought into the possibilities already.
I’m excited and hope it goes well for you.

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