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Is a foreign language title OK?

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PinkAmy

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I've taken some latin decades ago, but if I hadn't, I'd assume your book was sci-fi. I think you have to think of your title, along with the cover of your book, as the first selling points for your book. Who is your audience? Will they know what the title means or will they care? Would having an English title draw more or fewer purchasers?
Since you're book is a memoir, you've got more latitude with the title, in my opinion. I like the title, but I don't consider Latin a foreign language since it's no longer spoken. I see Latin as part of the roots of the English language.
 

Ruth2

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I like "Alienus Tempus"... I'd be more likely to pick it up than "Strange Times" although that's catchy too.
 

Selcaby

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It depends on what your memoir is about. Is there a good reason for it to have a Latin title? If not, I'd go for English.

I also think you should check it very carefully. I don't have enough Latin to tell you what "Strange Times" is in Latin, but I do have enough to know that it isn't "Alienus Tempus". Tempus means "time", but it's singular. The plural is tempora. Alienus wasn't in the first dictionary I checked, but a different one says it means "belonging to another". And I don't know how you'd make it agree with tempora. The dictionary suggested nova for "strange", but it also means "new" so it's probably not the meaning you want.
 

nibris

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Alienus Tempus sounds really good, I'd say you should keep that, but include subtle indications that the book is still an English language text by writing a something extra aside from the title like, "a memoir by", something of that sort.
 

trumpetology

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I agree that Selcaby that as long as the phrase is used in Latin within the book and for good reason then keep it in Latin. If there is no Latin connection, go with english.
 

SummerSurf57

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If there's a good reason, yes. Just ensure it is easy to remember. if someone wants to remember it, they're not going to remember some long foreign name.
 

RunWrite

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I guess I dissent here. If Latin appears as some kind of theme in your book, or this particular phrase, OK but otherwise I think it sounds pretentious. I can't think of an example where this has worked. I'm sure they are out there, but I can't think of one. Then again, I seem to be the only one feels this way, so maybe its me.
 

Maryn

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I'm with RunWrite. Even though I remember enough Latin to recognize it and perhaps translate it, I find a foreign-language title so off-putting I would not check that book out any further.

In the end, if you seek commercial publication your agent and editor will discuss title with you and tell you whether this works.

Maryn, fugit
 

RunWrite

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Bingo. OK, thats one. But I don't think there's anything about the title Bel Canto that would pull you in. Knowing about the author, the awards it has won, and something about the story would do it, but would you be drawn to it at all by the title alone?
 

aruna

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Bingo. OK, thats one. But I don't think there's anything about the title Bel Canto that would pull you in. Knowing about the author, the awards it has won, and something about the story would do it, but would you be drawn to it at all by the title alone?

No; and I haven't read it either!
 

ncochrane3

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Keep it! I find myself more intruiged with the title that isn't english.
 

Elizabeth George's book Write Away