I would like to use a few words from different languages but I am not sure on how to handle the fact that the words are read one way in English and sound totally different in their original language?

  • 1
    Is this a work of fiction? Do you think pronunciation is important to the story?
    – Alexander
    Oct 27, 2017 at 18:51
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    Why is the sound of the words of importance to you? Will you be using them in a context where their pronunciation is going to have a role in the plot (e.g. used in a pun, rhyme, or a scene where a characters(mis)pronounces some of them). If you plan none of this, the way the readers pronounce them will not matter - even if they do not know the source language and mess up the sounds.
    – user23425
    Oct 27, 2017 at 18:53
  • Yes it is fiction. I guess it could be that I put to much thought into it but I liked the idea of linking our reality into my fiction world. The connection between the two is a major part of the story and I felt like using the proper pronunciation was another way to solidify the connection.
    – Secrets
    Oct 27, 2017 at 18:57
  • If your other language is non-Latin, you are in luck (sort of), because you just use English transliteration. But if this is a language with Latin script, you need to do a lot of extra work (in a fiction book, in non-fiction it's Ok to use IPA) to convey the pronunciation. "Paris" is spoken very differently in English and French, but there is nothing usually done about it.
    – Alexander
    Oct 27, 2017 at 19:04
  • Okay thank you! It probably just ment more to me then it ever would a reader.
    – Secrets
    Oct 27, 2017 at 19:07

1 Answer 1


I wrote a memoir of my years in the Holy Land and had to use Hebrew often (and occasionally Arabic). I simply used a transliteration in English and put translit. in brackets. Where I used the Hebrew script I put an annotation at the end of the chapter.

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