A question on terms and languages

This isn’t exactly an excerpt, but it’s something I’m struggling with in drafting my current novel.

Here’s the problem: much of the action takes place in a non-human world and in a variety of non-human languages. In describing the world, especially the social structures, my current draft jumps back and forth between “alien” terms, and terms that are English (or English-ish) approximations of the meaning of the “alien” terms.

Here are a few of the terms that I have in my notes, their literal translations, and the “English-ish” terms I’ve been using:

“Alien” term

English “Translation”

English-ish “Alternate”

anat (pl. anatee) immaterial creature, spirit, angel, soul spirit, presence
dynat power or energy, esp. power of an immaterial creature energy, dynamism
eudalex (pl. eudalecai) council, congress, parliament convenium / conveneum
eugex (pl. eugecai) ordinary person, worldly person commoner
gantra (pl. gantrai) magician, conjurer, witch witch (pejorative) / magi
gantralla magic, summoning, witchcraft witchcraft (pejorative) / art
kefan (pl. kefanee) priest, shaman, holy person hierophant
malanadha (pl. malahadhai) avatar, hero, divine person or demigod fulfillment / union
mehan (pl. mehanee) leader, ruler, commander principal
nok (pl. nokoi) scholar, academic, intellectual reasoner / rational
pradix (pl. pradicai) wise person, teacher loremaster / speaker
thruja (pl. thrujoi) slave, indentured servant slave, bound

My inclination is to use one set of terms consistently throughout the text; but I’m not sure which one. The “alien” language gives a sense of, well, alien-ness; but it could be confusing and/or off-putting. The “English-ish” could be clearer, but it also could come off as pretentious or it might just give rise to confusion with human things that those terms refer to.

Do you have any opinions or thoughts? Any feedback you have would be much appreciated!


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